Google Partners with Canonical to Bring Flutter to Linux

Posted on July 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Google with 4 Comments

Google announced today that it is partnering with Ubuntu maker Canonical to bring Linux desktop app support to its Flutter developer environment.

“For more than a year we’ve been expanding our focus to include desktop-class experiences, both for the web and for the desktop OSes [like] macOS, Windows and Linux,” Google’s Chris Sells and Canonical’s Ken VanDine write in the announcement post. “This work includes extensive refactoring of the engine to support desktop-style mouse and keyboard input as well as resizable top-level windows, new UI capabilities that adapt well to desktop, and access to the system menu bar and standard dialogs. All of this work was to ensure that in addition to being suitable for mobile-style experiences, Flutter is ready to handle first-featured, full-sized desktop apps.”

Google has previously detailed the work it’s done to bring Flutter to Windows, Mac, and web, but today it is releasing a Linux alpha for Flutter with Canonical, which says it will help application developers publish their apps for Linux users via the Snap Store.

“Canonical is making a significant investment in Flutter by dedicating a team of developers to work alongside Google’s developers to bring the best Flutter experience to the majority of Linux distributions,” the pair says. “Canonical will continue to collaborate with Google to further improve Linux support and maintain feature parity with the other supported platforms.”

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Google Partners with Canonical to Bring Flutter to Linux”

  1. eric_rasmussen

    I'm excited because I've focused my development efforts for mobile on the Flutter platform. Between Dart, Flutter, and the ecosystem of libraries it's never been so easy to build truly cross-platform apps that actually work and look the same without tons of platform-specific fiddling.

    I'm a little sad because Microsoft could have pursued this maybe 6 or 7 years ago when they bought Xamarin. I thought Xamarin.Forms in particular was ideal for this but they never invested much effort into it. Worse, they made the Xamarin team only support UWP so you couldn't write applications for anything other than Windows 10 using Xamarin.

    I definitely prefer C# over Dart, but Dart is close enough that it's pretty enjoyable to use. I really like the threading model Dart uses and how it treats async tasks and cross-task communication; it's ideal for UI development.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Interesting. I continue to experiment. And I still feel like some combination of web (which is cross-platform) and native cross-platform (like Flutter) is the way forward. But man, coming from XAML/.NET ... Flutter is SO different. It's a real learning curve.
  2. hrlngrv

    As a Linux user but NOT an Ubuntu user, no chance in Hell I'll use Snap. If that's what Flutter requires under Linux, I guess I'll only be exposed to Flutter under Windows or through the web.

  3. rmac

    MS build a Linux subsystem into Windows 10. MS gets over 1 billion users on the Windows 10 OS. MS releases a preview 3 of Visual Studio Linux based C++. Meanwhile Google partners with Canonical to bring Flutter to Linux and the Windows 10 desktop.

    Tell me my logic is wrong and I'm missing something here, but isn't MS somewhat insane by handing over the Windows UI stack to Google on a platter?

    • Paul Thurrott

      Well, Microsoft is not handing over the Windows UI stack to Google so, yeah, I guess you are wrong. :) Google is partnering with Canonical to bring Flutter to Linux, not Windows. It's about distribution via the Snap store. Google literally called out for Microsoft's help publicly last month on Windows: I'm not sure how WSL/VS (Code, not real VS) factors into your fears about Google. Google plays no role in Linux.

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