To Entice Developers, Canonical Partners With Google To Improve Linux Ubuntu


Ubuntu is one of the secure and intuitive operating system. But for all this time, it has been struggling with having useful apps to compliment it, in a way how the mobile ecosystem has long benefited.

In the modern days of technology and internet, the variety of apps is the foundation of a powerful community. This is the main reason why Android and iOS have so many fanatic users. This is also why Microsoft Windows have been the most popular desktop operating system for decades.

To improve Ubuntu on desktop, its creator Canonical, is partnering with Google for a step forward in improving the selection on software available on the Linux flavor.

For this to happen, Canonical wants to use Google's Flutter, the open-source UI framework that allows developers build all kind of cross-platform apps from the same codebase: Google' Dart programming language.

Flutter has been utilized by Tencent,, The New York Times, Square, Sonos, Capital One, BMW, eBay and more. With the partnership, Ubuntu is becoming the next one that uses Flutter.

Ubuntu - Flutter

According to Chris Sells from Google and Ken VanDine from Canonical in a blog post:

“Flutter’s native cross-platform story is growing rapidly and Canonical wanted to be at the vanguard. By enabling desktop Linux support in Flutter, Canonical is making it very easy for application developers to publish their apps for Linux users via the Snap Store, the app store for Linux. By making Linux a first class Flutter platform, Canonical is inviting application developers to publish their apps to millions of Linux users and broaden the availability of high quality applications available to them."

Canonical is interested because Flutter has:

  1. Fast growing ecosystem of application developers.
  2. Multiple platform support.
  3. Highly optimized native applications.
  4. Modern UI framework supporting declarative, reactive and composable widgets.
  5. Rich development platform using Visual Studio Code, Android Studio and IntelliJ.

Initially, Flutter was meant to be the framework for iOS and Android. But since version 1.5, Google has expanded Flutter SDK to also include desktop, and other mobile devices, as well as embedded devices.

Sells and VanDine said that:

"It has long been our vision for Flutter to power platforms. Today we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution."

"Canonical will continue to collaborate with Google to further improve Linux support and maintain feature parity with the other supported platforms."

The Flutter framework is designed to enable what Google calls “ambient computing.”

That’s where people can access their favorite apps and services from any location, on any kind of device, using a consistent set of methods and commands.

More than 500,000 developers use Flutter each month, and around 2 million developers have using it since version 1.0, which was released in December 2018.

To demonstrate that Flutter is ready for Ubuntu, the two companies showcased Flokk, a real-world app that works with real-world data, specifically with users' Google Contacts list.

"Google’s goal for Flutter has always been to provide a portable framework for building beautiful UIs that run at native speeds no matter what platform you target. To validate this capability, we started by focusing on the mobile platforms, Android and iOS, where we’ve seen more than 80,000 fast, beautiful Flutter apps published to Google Play."

Canonical has also published instructions on installing the Flutter SDK and deploying Flutter apps to the Snap Store.

With the partnership, both companies are pledging to improve Linux support and “maintain feature parity” with all of Flutter’s other supported platforms.

And because Flutter developers can easily publish their apps to the Snap Store with a few simple lines of code, developers can make their apps available by default in the Ubuntu software center, as well making the apps available to more than 40 additional Linux distributions that support Snaps.

Going forward, Google wants developers to concentrate on building the software experience using its portable framework, and be less concerned about the screen developers are building it for.