In this article, we will discuss how to use Appimages on Linux to wrap applications in a single package. Read below to find out more!
AppImages – Quick Overview
Appimage is software that allows developers to distribute applications in a single package. It is similar to a container created in Docker without relying on any installed engine. To elaborate, it lets Linux developers wrap their applications in a single file and make them portable. Plus, it does not require superuser permissions to run as compared to other applications.
AppImages are super easier to develop and integrate for the end-users. Furthermore, Linux authors can develop applications without having to build them for various Linux distributions.
How AppImages Work on Linux
The AppImages software is not installed like traditional software. Its component files are not unpacked and stored in other directories. Instead, the package manager copies the executable in the /bin directory and stores the manual pages in the /usr/share/man directory.
Also, AppImages use the squashFS file system. Hence, the files needed to run any software are installed inside this file system, instead of the Linux file system. AppImages uses its internal file handler to mount the squashFS file system in /tmp/mount before launching any application. Hence, launching any program from AppImages is slower than launching an application directly.
Features of AppImages
Some notable features of AppImages are:
- Supports various Linux distributions.
- No installation or compilation is required.
- System files are not touched, nor is root access required.
- Applications are in read-only mode.
- Supports portability and can run on any live disk.
- Software is uninstalled just by deleting the AppImage file.
How to Use AppImages on Linux
AppImages are very easy to set up on any Linux distribution. In this guide, we will look at how you can install it from its official website. So, let’s begin!
Download an AppImage File From the Website
To use any AppImage app, we will download the package from the website for the application itself. AppImage is not a particular software. Instead, software companies create a distribution package in the AppImage format. For instance, to install FreeCAD, a 3D CAD software, visit the official page and download the application.
Assign Permissions to Use AppImages on Linux Using Command Line
Once the download has been completed, open the terminal by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T”. Make sure to navigate to the directory where you downloaded the package. In our case, it is the Downloads folder.
Now to check the downloaded file, type:
Once in the designated folder, allow the execute permission to the downloaded package. Specifically, type:
chmod +x FreeCAD-0.20.0-Linux-x86_64.AppImage
Lastly, to launch the application, type the name of the executable file as shown below:
Lastly, hit the “Enter” key.
Assign Permissions to Use AppImages on Linux Using Graphical User Interface
Alternatively, you can also assign permission through GUI. Navigate to the downloaded folder and locate the downloadedAppImage file. After that, press the right-click to get a menu. From the menu, choose Properties. You should get this dialogue box:
Click on Permissions and then click on “Allow executing file as a program” to assign the execute permission.
Install FUSE File
On some versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu, you will have to install a library file called FUSE to execute AppImage. For this, first, update the system as shown below:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
Next, install the FUSE library using the
install command. For example:
sudo apt install libfuse2
This would launch AppImages without any issues.
Use AppImages on Linux from AppImage Launcher
It is contradictory that Linux executes AppImages from the terminal. It would be much easier if the system launches the applications directly from the applications menu. And that is possible using the AppImage Launcher.
The AppImage Launcher monitors the current directory for any existing AppImage files. Once it finds the application, it integrates the application into the Desktop. Hence, you can launch it directly without using the terminal.
For Fedora or Ubuntu systems, go to the AppImage Launcher website and download the .rpm or .deb package. Make sure not to download the lite version. Next, navigate to the downloaded package. Double-click it to launch the installation process.
For the Manjaro system, install the AppImage Launcher using the command given below:
sudo pacman -S appimagelauncher
Execute it by pressing the “Super” key after the installation is complete. This key is located between the “Ctrl” and “Alt” keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard. Type “appim” in the search bar and hit the “Enter” key. The AppImage Launcher icon will appear. Click to launch the application.
Now that it is launched, we will have to tell AppImage Launcher which directory it should monitor. For this step, click the “Folder” icon and browse to the directory where AppImage files are downloaded. Click it to set the directory as a monitored directory.
To add more directories, click the “Plus” icon. Click “Ok” when you are done adding directories. Now, wait a few seconds and press the “Super” key. You will see the icon for the FreeCAD in the Applications bar. You don’t even have to use the chmod command to give permissions or to make it executable.
Download AppImage Launcher Using Command-Line Interface
Alternatively, if you want to install AppImage Launcher through CLI, first update the system. Specifically, type:
sudo apt update
Next, add the PPA repository for the AppImage Launcher as shown below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:appimagelauncher-team/stable
Lastly, install the application. For this step, type:
sudo apt install appimagelauncher
Uninstall AppImage Software
In case you longer need a particular AppImage application, you can uninstall it in simple steps. The installation process is rather simple. Just delete the AppImage file you downloaded, and this will remove the application from the system.
And that’s a wrap! There are various universal Linux applications available, and one of them is AppImage. AppImage is a great platform for developers to build and distribute applications. What do you think of AppImage? Did you find it useful? Share your views in the comments below.
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