Ubuntu – What are the differences between snaps, appimage, flatpak and others


I have been getting this question lately from students and although I have a lot of information to offer, I have not found a source that I can point people to where they can read an update answer (I have found a lot of misinformation and obsolete information). So, some of the questions I have for package formats like snap, appimage, flatpak and others in this evolution of universal packaging systems are:

  • Who created the package format?
  • What features does it offer?
  • What features are unique to it? (That the others do not yet have)
  • Who supports it?
  • What Distributions use it?
  • What focus does the package have? (For Desktop, Clouds, Mobile, etc..)
  • Which are more actively developed?

Best Answer

Here is a long tabular comparison of AppImage vs. Snap vs. Flatpak features. It is from the AppImage Wiki on GitHub:

Note that this comparison is mainly from the perspective of AppImage, although it tries to represent each project fairly.

AppImage vs. Snap vs. Flatpack Comparison