Fedora Flathub Filter Scripts and Data

Fedora Workstation ships with a flathub remote which is filtered. Only explicitly allowed applications and runtimes are available, unless the user has explicitly installed the full Flatpak remote.

This repository holds data files with the status of available downloads from Flathub, and scripts for updating those files.

The main data files are apps.txt with applications and other.txt with other downloads: runtime, runtime extensions, and app extensions. An entry in one of these files looks like:

[com.spotify.Client]
Name: Spotify
Include: yes
Comments: very popular. Downloads via extra-data
Summary: Online music streaming service
Homepage: https://www.spotify.com
Links: https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.spotify.Client https://github.com/flathub/com.spotify.Client
License: LicenseRef-proprietary=https://www.spotify.com/us/legal/end-user-agreement/
Runtime: org.freedesktop.Platform/20.08
Downloads (new last month): 29978 (rank: 1)
Fedora Flatpak: no

Notes:

  • Downloads (new last month) is non-incremental downloads in the last month. We ignore incremental updates, because we don't want to count apps that are frequently updated as more popular. Rank is separate for applications and other downloads.
  • Comments is free-form text explaining a value of yes or no in Include
  • Include indicates a decision to include or exclude the Flatpak from Fedora. For now, most components will have blank values for Include, which means they will be excluded, but no decision has been made.
  • Links is a field with useful links to learn more about this entry. Its filled in automatically for apps.txt, but starts off empty and is editable in other.txt.

There is also a file wildcard.txt which holds entries for wild-card patterns that match against many entries in apps.txt or other.txt.

[org.freedesktop.Platform.GL.default/*]
Comments: Mesa libGL. Built as part of org.freedesktop.Platform
Include: yes
Links: https://gitlab.com/freedesktop-sdk/freedesktop-sdk

Unlike apps.txt and other.txt, wildcard.txt starts off empty, and entries have to be added to it manually. When entries in wildcard.txt match items in apps.txt or other.txt, they are inserted as follows:

[org.freedesktop.Platform.GL.default/20.08]
Matched: org.freedesktop.Platform.GL.default/*
Include: # yes
Comments: # Mesa libGL. Built as part of org.freedesktop.Platform
Links: # https://gitlab.com/freedesktop-sdk/freedesktop-sdk
Downloads (new last month): 278820 (rank: 1)
Fedora Flatpak: no

filter.txt is the final filter file. It shouldn't be edited manually.

Updating

The update.py script is used to update apps.txt, other.txt, and filter.txt. Usage is simple. To download the latest data from Flathub and Fedora, and update the data files, run:

./update.py

Interesting options are:

  • --verbose show slightly more output
  • --quiet show less output
  • --force-download force downloading current application data, even if the cached data is recent.
  • --rebase=TARGET like git rebase TARGET, but with special handling of apps.txt and other.text
  • --merge=PR_NUMBER rebase and merge a pull request

--rebase deserves more explanation. The big problem with the strategy of checking apps.txt and other.txt into git is that as download statistics change, they change a lot. Commits to this repository that mixed updates and substantive changes would be unreadable.

What --rebase=TARGET does is create a single commit on top of TARGET with only changes from running update.py, and then replays commits not in TARGET, merging changes to apps.txt, other.txt, and wildcard.txt in a smart fashion.

Workflow

git clone https://pagure.io/fedora-flathub-filter
cd fedora-flathub-filter
# make a branch to work on
git checkout -b updates-2021-03-24
# add an initial commit with just update.py changes
./update.py --rebase main

# Edit, edit, edit, commit, edit, ..., commit

# update your branch with any upstream and Flathub changes
git fetch origin
./update.py --rebase origin/main

# File your branch as a pull request

Merging a pull request

Most pull requests will need to be rebased before landing, since they include updates to the latest Flathub data. Asking contributors to do this is annoying, so update.py has a special --merge flag for maintainers to use to rebase-and-merge a pull request, using the right text to get Pagure to mark the pull request as merged.

./update.py --merge=123
# Check that everything looks good
git push origin main

Guidelines

  • We initially want to keep the set of included applications small. We will concentrate on including:
    • The most popular applications on Flathub
    • Applications of interest to Fedora's developer target audience
    • Applications that fill a role not satisfied by any available application for Fedora.
  • Once a Flathub Flatpak is included, it should only be excluded if there are urgent reasons to do so. The reason for this, is that users that have installed that Flatpak will have a leftover Flatpak with no update stream.
  • Applications that have equivalent Fedora Flatpaks should, generally speaking, not be included. But an application shouldn't be removed if a Fedora Flatpak is subsequently created (see above.)
  • Some Flatpaks on Flatpaks are wrappers that download the actual program via the Flatpak extra-data mechanism. If the program is coming from an established, well-known commercial entity, you can assume they have obtained all necessary patent and other licenses.
  • Open source code hosted on Flathub needs to be checked that it doesn't contain:
    • Codecs and other potentially patent-encumbered technology that aren't shipped in Fedora.
    • Other Forbidden Items
  • As a non-lawyer, you should not be doing extra new research to check for patent problems. Some appropriate checks:
    • If the application is shipped in RPM form in Fedora, does Fedora do anything special to strip it down?
    • If the application is not shipped in Fedora, does it contain multimedia codecs? Are there any that are not shipped in Fedora?
  • Keep notes in Comments non-speculative. Something like: "Contains h264, not currently shipped with Fedora" is appropriate.