mintinstall: add description of what a Flatpak is

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mintinstall: add description of what a Flatpak is

Post by ssspace »

New users probably never heard of Flatpaks. To make it easier for them, the software store could have a short description, some ideas:

1 - Put an 'Alt text' so when the user hover the cursor over the Flatpak button, it shows the description

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2 - Add the short description to the top of Flatpak page, after the word Flatpak or below it

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Or both places(1 and 2 combined).

The description should be short, just to give the user a glimpse of what a Flatpak is about, a single line of text like:
"Flatpaks are applications with the latest version."

More ideas are welcome, thank you.
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Re: mintinstall: add description of what a Flatpak is

Post by Pjotr »

Good idea. Maybe also a caution: Flatpaks can cause lots of data traffic because of frequent updates, and can take up lots of disk space.
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Re: mintinstall: add description of what a Flatpak is

Post by ssspace »

Should I post this idea on https://community.linuxmint.com/idea/welcome ?
I don't know if the developers follow this area of the forum.
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Re: mintinstall: add description of what a Flatpak is

Post by Joensuu »

Hi! I'm a new user and I'm resurrecting this thread from the dead with no shame :D I ran into something I'd like to bring up as a feedback/suggestion.

Not only is Flatpak vs System package not really explained very prominently, it's also a bit hard to find some things in Software Manager. Here's what my experience was like when installing Audacity:

1. It wasn't very obvious in the UI that two different versions of Audacity can be installed. Because I use Audacity on my Windows desktop, I knew that version 2.4, which Software Manager was displaying, wasn't nearly the newest one. That led me to search around and discover that I could change the source to Flatpak, and only then notice that version 3.4.2 was available through there.
2. The sizes for downloading and installing the Flatpak version were huge (1.1Gb download and 3.4Gb space required) compared to the System Package (11Mb download).

Reflection and suggestion on point 1:

I already had a rudimentary grasp on what Flatpak is, so I understood the version difference, but if I hadn't read about it before and didn't know 2.4 was a very old version, I would have been very confused indeed, or I might have simply installed 2.4 blindly. In this case, 2.4 is several years old, and has a completely different project file management system compared to 3.0 and above, not to mention many other changes. So, I would be using a very old version without knowing the difference.

Therefore I suggest that Software Manager or the Linux mint Welcome tutorial should include some form of introduction to the difference between Flatpak and System Packages, or some changes to the user interface to make it more obvious that these different versions and methods of installation are possible.

Reflection and suggestion on point 2:

I had no idea why one version was 1.1Gb and one was 11Mb, and couldn't notice any obvious explanation for this. This led me to a string of Google searches before I found the answer that Flatpak programs have dependencies that aren't natively included in my Mint install, and that those dependencies wouldn't need to be downloaded and installed again for every Flatpak program I might want to install later. In fact, after installing the Flatpak version, Software Manager now only shows Audacity's size to be 89Mb. The Software Manager page for the Flatpak of Audacity didn't differentiate between these at all before downloading.

Therefore I suggest that the download and install size should be displayed as split between the actual app and the depended runtimes. For example something like: "Size: 89Mb + 1,01Gb required runtimes", with perhaps a little question mark icon to click, which would then explain "Required runtimes are runtimes which this application needs in order to run. They are not downloaded and installed separately for every application which uses the same runtimes." In fact, I think a version of either Lubuntu or earlier Mint that I once used did things like this. It was easier to understand.



Finally:
I understand from some threads that many people don't use Software Manager, but it is the program that Mint's Welcome splash directs to, so it's the one a newbie like myself is most likely to go to.
I also understand that sending feedback and suggestions here is not that efficient and that posting a GitHub issue is preferred (?). I'm not a GitHub user though, and I thought maybe this'll get read by a dev on accident, or if someone thinks this is a good enough feedback they can post it on GitHub.

Aaand to finish off, thanks for anyone involved for developing and offering Mint, and for everyone on the forums for helping each other! <3

Best regards
Aleksi
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