AppImage is the latest attempt of the Linux community to build something equivalent to “Portable application”. Install AppImage should be done in a few clicks instead of running terminal commands. One program is included in a single image file, which contains all the libraries, configs and the program itself necessary for its operation. The configuration is still saved in the user’s home folder.
Portable applications are popular among Windows users. These programs don’t have to be installed and registered with the operating system, runs effortlessly on any kind of hardware. They can be very handy when you want to test a new software, or creating recovery flash drives.
In this article, we will look at how to run and install AppImage on Linux.
WHAT IS APPIMAGE?
In short, the AppImage program is an image containing everything you need to run the program, packaged in a special way with the executable part bundled. To run programs, you don’t need to install anything, just download the image, make it executable and run.
And due to the fact that all the libraries are inside the image, programs can be run in most Linux distributions.
Also, this method is suitable for testing new applications that require special dependencies, but you don’t want to install all the depencies along with that software.
AppImage is convenient and eliminate the needs to create separate application packages for each distribution. Many developers started using AppImage to distribute their applications recently.
Where to download AppImage builds of programs?
The official AppImage website has a dedicated section for a list of programs distributed in this way. A small collection of AppImage builds can be found on AppImageHub. Here are the programs compiled by their developers and third-party users. There are all kinds of software, including popular browsers, media players and text editors and other utilities.
There is a search function on the site for you to find the program that you want.
To download the program, you need to go to the Files tab , then select the appropriate version and just click on it.
But not only here you can find programs in the AppImage format, a few developers chose to distribute their applications in AppImage only. For example, the famous video editor OpenShot provides only AppImage builds in every release. Krita – an open-source drawing/painting software also pushes recent releases in AppImage form.
How to run and install AppImage?
The very first thing you must do after finish downloading an AppImage is make it executable. You can do this using the graphical user interface, or the terminal emulator. To do this in a terminal, for example for Firefox, run:
chmod u+x ~/home/linuxpip/Firefox-x86_64-20200413141725.AppImage
Similarly, you can do everything through the graphical interface, just open the context menu for the file by right-clicking on it, select Properties , and then on the Permissions tab , check the box next to Allow executing file as program :
And you can start execution:
As you can see, the program is working flawlessly, now you can write it to a USB flash drive and try it in another distribution.
Since AppImage are portable programs, many users are interested in how to integrate them to the system so that they can launch them like any other program. AppImage files can be placed in ~/Applications/ or ~/.local/bin/ or ~/bin/ folders , and then simply create a symbolic link somewhere else convenient for easy launching.
Alternatively, if you want the application registered with GNOME, you can place a shortcut file in ~/.local/share/applications/, this is the folder where the user’s local shortcuts are located. For example, for Firefox in the ~/bin/folder, the file in
~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop should look like this:
[Desktop Entry] Version=1.0 Name=Firefox Comment=Start AppImage Firefox Browser Exec=~/bin/Firefox-x86_64-20200413141725.AppImage Icon=/usr/share/icons/hicolor/128x128/apps/firefox.png Terminal=false Type=Application
You can use the gnome-panel package and the gnome-desktop-item-edit utility to create shortcuts in the GNOME application dashboard.
On Linux, portable software has been a highly controversial topic.
On one hand, portable means convenient, beginners can easily get started with the platform without a steep learning curve of how things work in Linux. AppImage can also eliminate the need to manage software depencies, because now everything is bundled in one package. But on the other hand, hackers can leverage this convenience to package viruses with the ability to move between machines without any difficulties. They can also distribute fake software with malware bundled inside all over the internet.
Whichever the case, it is undeniable that AppImage brings a new experience to the Linux world, and it’s up to the community to decide if it fits them well.
Yes you can. Create a file named xyz.desktop in ~/.local/share/applications/ with the following contents :
Comment=Start AppImage Firefox Browser
Yes, as long as you only download software packages from reputable sources like AppImageHub.
It could be a way to distribute viruses and malwares in the future.
AppImage builds tends to be bigger than the software itself.