Learn how to Use AppImages on Linux


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AppImages let Linux builders wrap their functions right into a single file that installs on any Linux distribution. That simplifies issues tremendously. Right here’s how you can use them, and combine them into your desktop.

Putting in Software program on Linux

Putting in software program needs to be easy and handy. How easy and the way handy that seems to be is basically right down to the package deal supervisor of your distribution. Package deal managers are software program functions that allow you to obtain different Linux packages, and set up them.

Spinoff Linux distributions have a tendency to make use of the package deal managers of their mum or dad distribution. For instance, the various Debian variants and derivatives use apt, the RedHat and Fedora distributions use dnf, and the Arch household of distributions use pacman. So, fortunately, there should not as many package deal managers are there are distributions.

Even so, from a developer’s standpoint, supporting all of the completely different package deal codecs means wrapping your utility into a DEB file for the Debian household, into an RPM for the RedHat household, and so forth. That’s loads of further overhead.

It additionally signifies that if neither the builders nor anybody else has created an set up package deal to your distribution, you possibly can’t set up that software program. Not less than, not natively.

You would possibly have the ability to shoehorn a package deal from a distinct distribution onto your pc, however that’s not a risk-free methodology neither is it assured to work. If you understand what you’re doing you possibly can obtain the supply code and construct the appliance in your pc, however that’s a far cry from being easy and handy.

Initiatives similar to Snap and Flatpak have been designed to beat the issue of wrapping functions for every distribution. In case you can wrap a package deal right into a single file in order that it comes bundled with the suitable libraries and another dependencies it has, in order that it makes (just about) no calls for on the host working system, it ought to have the ability to run on any distribution.

The AppImage challenge is simply such an initiative. AppImage is the title of the challenge, and AppImages are the title for the wrapped functions.

How AppImages Work

AppImage recordsdata should not put in within the conventional sense. The part recordsdata that make up the appliance package deal are all contained inside a single file. They don’t seem to be unpacked and saved in numerous directories within the file system.

An utility put in by your package deal supervisor could have its executable copied into the suitable “/bin” listing, its man pages can be saved within the “/usr/share/man” listing, and so forth. That unpacking and copying step doesn’t occur with AppImages.

There’s a file system inside an AppImage, normally a squashFS file system. The recordsdata wanted to run the appliance are saved inside this file system, not in the primary file system of your Linux set up. When the AppImage is executed, it launches one among its inner helper packages that mounts the squashFS file system in “/tmp/mount” in order that it’s accessible out of your most important file system. It then launches the appliance itself.

This is the reason launching functions from Snaps, Flatpaks, and AppImages is barely slower than operating a daily utility. For all of this to work, the host file system should have one thing referred to as “filesystem in userspace” put in. That is the one dependency AppImages locations on the host. FUSE is normally pre-installed on trendy Linux distributions.

Utilizing an AppImage file

The very first thing you should do is obtain the AppImage for the appliance you need. These received’t be in your distribution’s repository. Often, you discover them on the web site for the appliance itself.

We’ll obtain and use FreeCAD, an open-source 3D computer-aided design package deal. Browse to the FreeCAD obtain web page and click on the “64-bit AppImage” button.

The FreeCAD download page

When it has been downloaded, find the file in a terminal window. Except you’ve modified the defaults in your net browser it’ll in all probability be in your “Downloads” listing. We have to make the AppImage executable. We’ll use the chmod command so as to add the -x (executable) permission.

chmod +x FreeCAD-0.20.0-Linux-x86_64.AppImage

making the AppImage executable using the chmod command

We’ve downloaded our file and made it executable. To execute it we are able to name it by title.


Launching the AppImage file

That’s all we needed to do on Fedora and Manjaro. On Ubuntu 22.04, we needed to set up a library file. FUSE is already put in on Ubuntu 22.04, however it’s a model more moderen than that utilized by the vast majority of AppImages. Putting in the library file doesn’t have an effect on the put in model of FUSE.

sudo apt set up libfuse2

Installing the libfuse2 library file

That solved the issue immediately, and we may launch AppImages with out situation on Ubuntu Jammy Jellyfish 22.04.

The freeCAD application running from an AppImage

All that’s nice. However what if you wish to have your cake and eat it? Think about if there was a approach to make use of AppImages that didn’t require you to launch them from a terminal window. It will be far more handy to have the ability to launch AppImage functions similar to common, native functions.

There’s an apparent contradiction right here—the entire level of AppImages is that they don’t set up themselves within the conventional sense, together with they don’t combine into your desktop. Nevertheless it’s potential nonetheless with AppImageLauncher.


AppImageLauncher screens a nominated listing. It scans the listing, on the lookout for AppImage recordsdata. For every one it finds, it extracts the appliance icon (if there may be one) and integrates the AppImage into the desktop, like a daily utility.

That is repeated for every new AppImage that’s added to the listing. When it detects that an AppImage has been deleted, it removes the mixing. So, simply by dropping your downloaded AppImage recordsdata into the monitored listing, they’re built-in into your desktop atmosphere.

In case you’re utilizing Ubuntu or Fedora, go to the AppImageLauncher Obtain web page and click on on the “Property” hyperlink within the “Launch Construct (Newest)” part.

Click on on the “appimagelauncher-XXX.x86_64.rpm” hyperlink for Fedora, or the “appimagelauncher_XXX.bionic_arm64.deb” file for Ubuntu. The “XXX” represents the model variety of the software program.

The AppImageLauncher RPM and DEB download links

Observe that there are hyperlinks for AppImageLauncherLite and for AppImageLauncher. Use the AppImageLauncher hyperlinks.

Navigate to your downloaded file, and double-click it to begin the set up. On GNOME, it will begin the “Software program” utility.

The AppImageLauncher DEB file opened in the Ubuntu Software program

On Manjaro, you possibly can set up AppImageLauncher with this command:

sudo pacman -S appimagelauncher

Installing AppImageLauncher on Manjaro

You possibly can launch AppImageLauncher by urgent the “Tremendous” key. On most keyboards, it’s positioned between the left-hand “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys. Kind “appim” into the search bar.

The AppImageLauncher icon will seem. Click on it to launch the appliance.

The AppImageLauncher main screen

There’s a tiny little bit of configuration to do. We have to inform AppImageLauncher which listing we wish it to watch. Click on the “folder” icon and browse to the listing you normally retailer your AppImages in. We chosen our “Downloads” listing. You possibly can select a subdirectory for those who like, maybe “/Downloads/apps.”

The AppImageLauncher application with /home/dave/Downloads set as the monitored directory

If you would like AppImageLauncher to supply to maneuver AppImages it finds in different directories into your monitored listing, ensure that the “Ask Whether or not to Transfer AppImage Recordsdata Into the Purposes Listing” checkbox is chosen. But when AppImageLauncher is simply monitoring a single listing, how will it discover AppImages wherever else?

The reply to that lies on the “appimagelauncherd” tab. Click on “appimagelauncherd” tab and also you’ll see that it’s potential to have AppImage monitor a couple of listing.

The appimagelauncherd tab of the AppImageLauncher application

Click on the inexperienced “Plus” icon so as to add extra directories. Make certain the “Auto Begin Auto-Integration Daemon” checkbox is chosen. Click on the “OK” button whenever you’ve made your picks.

Anticipate a couple of minutes, then press the “Tremendous” key and kind the primary a part of the title of an AppImage that’s in your monitored listing. In our case, we solely have one.

As quickly as you kind “free” it is best to see an icon for FreeCAD. Clicking it launches the appliance. If the AppImage file doesn’t include an icon, a generic cogged-wheel icon is used, which was the case with FreeCAD.

To check issues additional, we downloaded the AppImage file for the Subsurface utility. We waited about 30 seconds to ensure it had been found and built-in, then pressed the “Tremendous” key, typed “sub” and the appliance icon appeared. This time, the real icon for the appliance had been discovered and used.

Clicking the icon launched the appliance. We didn’t even want to make use of chmod to make the AppImage executable.

The Subsurface application running from an AppImage

One other good contact is that right-clicking the icon allows you to delete the AppImage proper from the context menu.

The Subsurface context menu

There’s additionally an choice to pin the icon to your launcher, making utilizing AppImages as handy as native functions.

AppImages Are on the Rise

On our take a look at machines, functions launched from AppImages loaded barely sooner than Flatpak functions, and rather a lot sooner than Snap functions. With AppImages there’s no underlying framework that must be put in, so—aside from the house required for the functions themselves—the arduous drive footprint of utilizing AppImages is zero.

The non-compulsory AppImageLauncher utility provides some touches of finesse, however you possibly can fortunately use AppImages with out it.

Increasingly functions are providing AppImages. If you end up attempting to put in one thing that doesn’t appear to be in your distribution’s repositories, try the appliance’s web site. They might effectively have an AppImage.

RELATED: apt vs. apt-get: What is the Distinction on Linux?

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