Flathub Change the Game: Implements Rigorous Build Validations

Flathub now moderates permission and critical MetaInfo changes, requiring manual review for crucial updates.

In a significant update to improve the quality and security of the Flatpak applications on its platform, Flathub has introduced enhanced automatic build validation processes, increased moderation measures, and the highly anticipated transition to the libappstream library.

These changes are designed to ensure that Flathub applications meet higher reliability and user safety standards.

Thorough Build Validation for Flathub Apps

Flathub’s automatic build validation system has received a comprehensive update, making it more robust by including checks for issues previously only flagged manually. This means that applications that passed continuous integration checks in the past may now encounter failures under the new validation criteria.

Developers whose apps fail the build validation stage, whether through Buildbot (for GitHub-maintained apps) or flat-manager (for direct uploads), are advised to consult the specific messages in the log for guidance. The project’s documentation provides detailed explanations for error messages and instructions.

Increased Moderation for App Changes

In addition to the improved build validation, Flathub has implemented stricter moderation policies for all changes to app permissions and certain critical MetaInfo modifications. Changes such as adding or removing static permissions or altering the app’s user-facing name will now be subject to manual review.

This step ensures that significant changes do not compromise user security or experience. Builds that undergo such changes will be withheld pending a review, during which reviewers may request further clarification or reject the build if it fails to meet the required standards.

Switch to libappstream

Flathub’s switch to libappstream, a modern and well-maintained AppStream library, is a notable advancement in this update. This transition allows developers to leverage the full features of the AppStream 1.0 specification, enhancing the way apps are presented and discovered on Flathub.

With it, developers can now specify supported screen sizes for mobile devices and include video snippets alongside static screenshots, offering a richer user experience. The shift also improves the validation of AppStream metadata, ensuring that app listings are accurate and comprehensive.

Lastly, Flathub acknowledges that introducing these changes without prior notice may have caught some developers off guard and commits to better communication in the future. Going forward, any potential breaking changes will be announced on the Flathub blog, ensuring developers have adequate time to prepare and adapt their applications accordingly.

Bottom Line

Given that Flathub’s updates are about improving things for the user, it’s easy to see why these improvements are being embraced.

It’s not surprising to see the platform raising its app standards either, especially considering that Flathub hit a significant milestone last May by surpassing 1 billion downloads, becoming the leading platform for package-agnostic Linux applications.

For more information, refer to the original article on the Flathub’s blog.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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