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A post about AppImages

I wanted to write about this for a while now. AppImages is an interesting package format, that it has everything in one single file. You don't have to hunt for dependencies in any way, you don't have to install it on your system. You just make it executable and run it.

You can also have different versions of the same software on your machines, without any problem. In this way you can test new releases without having to upgrade your cozy, stable ones. If you want to uninstall, just delete the file. Really easy.

There are still some problems with it. While there's appimagelauncher, which makes sure your AppImage is integrated into your system, if you don't have something similar, then at first you don't have menu items. For me, it's important cause I don't have a menu or desktop icons, I just use rofi to launch these programs.

There's no upgrade system, but it's by design, since you can have different versions of the same software. However this leads to things, that I ran LibreWolf 93 for a long time, before I upgraded to version 103 (those are really stupid numbering, stop it!). A lot of time you can simple forget about updates, since on Linux usually it goes through your package manager, and you don't have an alert that says "hey, there is a new upgrade! do it now!".

Another problem is, there is no central repository for software, that has no official AppImage. This format is catching on, since major softwares like LibreOffice, KeePassXC, and others indeed has official release. But many doesn't. Then you have to go through 3rd party sites, which either work or don't.

How to start with AppImages?

I highly recommend downloading AppImageLauncher. I use the "lite" version, which is enough for me. Download it to your "~/Applications" directory (in your home directory, create if it doesn't exist). Of course you can use it from anywhere, but I recommend something that you can remember easily.

After downloading, right click on the file in your file manager and choose properties, then go to Permissions tab, and select "Make the file executable".

Then just run the file, and it will setup itself to the Applications directory, plus some others, I really don't care about. Yes, I am lazy.

Now you can put any AppImages in those directories, and after the first run they will get a shortcut in the menu.

Where can you get AppImages?

Well, this can be a big problem as I wrote above. There are some that makes official AppImages (check out my AppImages page), but most of them probably will be 3rd party. There is no guarantee that they work, or safe. So use it at your own risk.

There is AppImage Pool, which is a new, kind of like a package manager system. Relies on GTK 3, ugly, and when today I tried, it defaulted to Arabic. All it does is that you can search AppImageHub, which you can do it yourself via the browser. Makes it easier for sure, but not really a lifesaver software.

Your best bet is still to kindly nag the devs, to make an AppImage, or if you want to do, you can do it yourself.

Latest FLOSS invention is arch2appimage, which converts Arch Linux or AUR stuff and convert it to AppImage. As always try it at your own risk! If you want to see it in practice, watch Distrotube's video about it. (I totally support his idea of making a snap2appimage converter xD)

I have not tried myself, maybe I'll do it in the future, if I find something I need and there's no other solution. Beware though, that if you use a nonsystemd distro (which you should, for your sanity), some stuff might not work, if they depend on it.

This is post #33 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge, where we write 100 posts in a year. If you are interested in this event, check out the official website: Happy writing everybody! :)

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