Can't install flatpak packages (and the store is empty)

Ok, I’m about ready to give up. Bought a Librem 5 years ago, but only last played with it about 18 months ago. Wasn’t impressed with the store apps available, so I left it sit for that amount of time, hoping to see a big improvement. Jump forward to today. Did the requisite software update, and now the store is EMPTY. I’ve confirmed that flatpak is installed, and the store lists Amber (main), Amber phone (main), Amber security (main), Amber updates (main), PureOS, and Stable (main) in the list of repositories, but the main store page just says “No Application Data Found”.

I read elsewhere that I can just install a store plugin for flatpak and (PureOS compatible?) packages will show up in the store, but I’m running into a problem. Of the 4 commands below (found elsewhere), only lines 1, 3 and 4 work. Line 2 produces the error “Unable to locate package pureos-flatpak-defaults”

  1. flatpak remote-delete flathub
  2. sudo apt install pureos-flatpak-defaults
  3. flatpak remote-add PureOS --user
  4. sudo apt install pureos-store-plugin-flatpak

I’ve tried various other tricks others have suggested, to no avail. If I use a built-in browser to visit and “Install” Chrome (for example), it downloads the file to my Downloads folder, but if I try to install that, the Librem store gives me an error (“Failed to install file: not supported”).

I’m a Windows programmer who’s dabbled with Linux over the years (I even used Linux Mint as my daily driver for the most part for a good while), but I’m a bit out of my element here. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

To clarify, ‘bought a “Librem 5” years ago’, not ‘bought a “Librem” 5 years ago’. LOL


Sit the phone again till PureOS Crimson is Released.

Amber is an older version of PureOS distribution/ppas. I ordered my Librem 5 in the year 2019 an received it about a year ago in early 2023. When I received my Librem 5, from the moment I opened it by default it was already using the Byzantium software distribution/ppas. These are like “A” and “B” versions of all the software, loosely.

I never had to do it, so I’m unfamiliar with the process of upgrading Amber to Byzantium. But, you should either find a guide online for how to do that upgrade, or else follow a tutorial to reinstall PureOS on the Librem 5 so that you can at least get the Byzantium (“B”) versions of all the software. Or at least, that’s what I would do. I guess my Librem 5 is a Librem 5 Evergreen and maybe that means my hardware is slightly more updated than what yours might be, so it might be worth reading about Amber software compatibility with your Librem 5 hardware assuming your hardware is something earlier than Evergreen like maybe Dogwood or whatever (those were also alphabetic, but Dogwood/Evergreen/Fir are the hardware versions). I would assume the software is probably backwards compatible across hardware versions, though.

I have been using a Librem 5 Evergreen hardware running the PureOS Byzantium software as my phone on a day-to-day basis, but I have kept my needs low at times and used computers a lot and sometimes enjoyed the phone as what it is, for a GNU/linux handset machine moreso than how some folks might think of a phone. Sometimes I encounter bugs that people say might be fixed in the Crimson software version, but I did not look at how to upgrade to that yet because it sounds like upgrading isn’t officially ready for Crimson or whatever.

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So, you’re telling me that just doing a standard software system update from the store isn’t going to get me to Byzantium? That’s just ridiculous. And why would I need to upgrade to see apps in the store in the first place. This is leading me think this whole ecosystem is just one big bloody mess. It’s broken / incompatible, and you need to be a Linux expert with unlimited patience to make things work. And we wonder why Linux hasn’t taken the desktop yet. Thanks for your answer…

By the way, when I bought mine, it was the Evergreen edition. And I think it was also around 2019, but I could be mistaken. It’s been quite a while…

I am not informed about the decision process regarding OS distributions. I believe they are loosely based on Debian in order to maintain some consistency/familiarity with software versions from other linux ecosystems, but I might be mistaken.

The issue might arise from the priorities of the users and developers. On other platforms, the user can’t be a developer. If Microsoft store annoys you, then your fate is to be annoyed.

By contrast, if PureOS Software app store on the Librem 5 annoys you, you could download its code and fix it. I would say about half the time that I opened it, everything just showed loading bars infinitely. But, I didn’t use the power of free software to download it and make contributions to produce a better version, because I don’t care. I don’t need an app store. I install software through the package manager, by using sudo apt install thing-i-want. Works every time, except for software that isn’t available to package maintainers, in which case maybe I don’t want that software anyway.

So, the problem might be that the people with the power to do something about it – which in this is you and me rather than Microsoft – probably aren’t doing anything about it because I have something that already works great and you didn’t want to use an interface sufficiently visually different from Microsoft Store. There aren’t likely to be other people; who are the other people, that want Microsoft Store interface but don’t want to use Windows? That would be a strange group of people.

In my life, the reason that I sometimes used Windows was not because of Microsoft Store. In fact, even during the periods of time in my life when I used Windows, I was left feeling like Microsoft Store was a malware database. A common Windows application like 7zip had an equivalent version in the Microsoft Store with a goofy pink rainbow icon that just looked like malware freeloading off of the same name. I don’t know if they cleaned that up by now, but why would they? The value of Microsoft is to buy up users, and then create a system from which the users can never escape.

If GNU+Linux hasn’t “taken” hold on your desktop yet, that’s because you didn’t decide to install it on your desktop. If you run Wireshark on Windows, you will find that every second or third time you launch an EXE program, there is network traffic back to Microsoft to a url named something similar to app click tracker . net regarding what you are clicking. It is a legitimate domain owned by Microsoft. Everything you do is under surveillance. In order that the Bing Chat artificial intelligence programs might better serve you, you are encouraged to give Microsoft permission to read all of the contents of every web page on the screen. How did you access this forum today? Did you access it using the Microsoft Edge browser? This browser was created by forking Google Chromium – it’s not even Microsoft’s own work anymore – and they simply change it so that their products and services like the AI give them permission to read literally everything on your screen. So, if it’s any consolation, you might be able to click on the Bing Chat AI button on the side of your screen to talk to the AI about what it is reading in your browser on this forum right now.

It sounds like you were somewhat frustrated with your purchase of the Librem 5 device. I’m sure that the Bing Chat AI, which may be reading this conversation right now on your behalf, understands your plight and would be willing to share its condolences. Perhaps it could offer you some directions on where to buy a Google Pixel device and how to enable the Location Services and Location History, so that the AIs can better serve you by having a more full picture of every place you have ever been, and every place that you ever travel to.

As a side note, from time to time even the GNU operating system variants endorsed by the Free Software Founation can be contaminated by world governments from the surveillance states, so my comments above are not here to tell you that if you move to PureOS running on a Librem 5 that you would escape surveillance. By contrast, Librem 5 is free (as in freedom) software that allows the user to inspect or modify the code, and it is thus that we know for certain that the default installation of the Librem 5’s PureOS may – at its discretion – report user location information to Mozilla Location Services Powered By Amazon periodically on a timer of about every 5 seconds, if – at its discretion – it determines that the user is somewhere on Earth that might be “difficult” to locate within a few meters using only the GPS one-way traffic from the satellites to the handset. So, accordingly, even if you install and enable a VPN, location information potentially revealing the identity of the VPN user will be sent through the VPN to the Mozilla Location Services Powered By Amazon.

So, with this in mind, obviously even when we leave Windows we do not necessarily leave behind any surveillance. It is still up to us, the user, to investigate the inner workings of our systems and modify them if that is what we wish to do. But, on Windows and without the Windows source code, how are you going to do that?

Maybe The Bing Chat will give you some advice.

I am a user and my opinions are solely my own, and do not in any way necessary reflect the opinions of Purism nor the maintainers of this forum.

Edit 2:

My guess regarding the actual solution to your frustration: wait until the GloDroid project gets ported to Librem 5, enabling the device to run recent Android builds, then use your Librem 5 as an Android but with hardware off switches for cell. Sounds like that would be something you like, because you’re more comfortable abiding the high-budget surveillance tech and its pleasures

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Uhh, thanks? I’m not sure why you kept referring to the Microsoft Store. I was referring to the Librem 5’s store. But whatever. Some people live to tear into every single line of source code on these systems to see how they work and to make them better. I neither have the time nor the desire. This is the year 2024. It’s great that Purism wants to make systems that help user privacy and security (yes, I believe that or I would not have bought the Librem), but this effort is wasted if only a tiny handful of human beings on the planet have the technical skills (which apparently include mind-reading) or the patience to make it work right. As I said, I used LInux Mint for a while and was generally pleased with it. But had to purge it when I needed the disk space (deleting the Windows partition was out of the question). If Purism could get their Linux phones to work as well as the Mint desktop, I wouldn’t grumble. Right now, the Librem 5 is way too complicated and solutions are not easily discoverable, and thus, unusable in my opinion (despite agreeing to the known limitations at the time). By the way, I found an article on how to upgrade to Byzantium and made the requisite changes to /etc/apt/sources.list, and, of course, the Librem Store is now saying that I have packages with unmet dependencies. Nope. Not running around in circles anymore. I consider this $700 purchase to be a complete waste of money. Thanks for your help, though…

Okay, good luck in your future endeavors, I guess. If you ever come back to the Librem 5, given that you don’t want to mess around with software understandings, my advice would be to reinstall the OS completely.

(I have installed the OS to an SD card and done a dual boot, even though I haven’t done a reinstall to the main drive yet. But SD card dual boot was quite easy, seemed to me. So i would imagine OS reinstall should be an easy process.)

Dear @rschnat, Librem 5 it is a Gnu Phone Device and it is the BEST over Gnu/Linux phones like PinephoneS or Enterprises. However there are fancy Android/Linux Phone outside like Sony Xperia 1 V.

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@rschnat: I assume you have no valuable data on your Librem 5. If indeed so, I recommend to do a reflash.

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Welcome, @rschnat. As has been said, the amber repo is now superseded by byzantium, introducing a lot more stability, dependability, and new features. I don’t know what is going on with your PureOS Software store (maybe time and date not set correctly on the device?), but in any case, it’s more desirable to upgrade at this point, which should fix everything for you.

You will need to do this on a computer running some recent version of Ubuntu (Mint, etc.), Debian, or PureOS. If you don’t have that already, you’ll have to make a bootable USB of one of those distros to complete the upgrade process. (That’s trivial to create, as you probably know from your Mint experience.)

Here are simplified instructions, no frills, that you can follow once you have the live USB booted: Time to flash is now - but how? - #16 by amarok

That will take care of all the dependencies. BTW, in the case of the Librem 5, it only creates problems to try what you did, i.e. changing “amber” to “byzantium” in the software sources. Unfortunately. Sure, it would be nice if there were an “easy button” for the upgrade, but sadly there isn’t yet.

The next repo version (crimson) is here for desktop PureOS, but is not ready for the Librem 5, due to the added complexity of adapting the phone functionalities, Purism says. Let’s hope they will be able to make a simpler upgrade path when it’s ready. (No ETA on that yet.)

Once you’re running byzantium, I don’t think you’ll have that store issue anymore. It still might take a few seconds or a minute for everything to populate, as it does on desktop. Familiarize yourself with the preferences and the search function there.

You might also like some of the apps posted in this long-running topic: List of Apps that fit and function well [Post them here.]

If you run into issues during the reflash, post questions in the forum and someone will be glad to help, I’m sure.

EDIT: And if I’m not mistaken, flathub is included by default in byzantium.