Build Linux apps with Flutter

This page discusses considerations unique to building Linux apps with Flutter, including shell integration and preparation of apps for distribution.

Integrate with Linux


The Linux programming interface, comprising library functions and system calls, is designed around the C language and ABI. Fortunately, Dart provides the dart:ffi package, which enables Dart programs to call into C libraries.

Foreign Function Interfaces (FFI) allow Flutter apps to perform the following with native libraries:

  • allocate native memory with malloc or calloc
  • support pointers, structs, and callbacks
  • support Application Binary Interface (ABI) types like long and size_t

To learn more about calling C libraries from Flutter, consult C interop using dart:ffi.

Many apps benefit from using a package that wraps the underlying library calls in a more convenient, idiomatic Dart API. Canonical has built a series of packages with a focus on enabling Dart and Flutter on Linux, including support for desktop notifications, dbus, network management, and Bluetooth.

In general, many other packages support creating Linux apps, including common packages such as url_launcher, shared_preferences, file_selector, and path_provider.

Prepare Linux apps for distribution


The executable binary can be found in your project under build/linux/x64/<build mode>/bundle/. Alongside your executable binary in the bundle directory, you can find two directories:

  • lib contains the required .so library files
  • data contains the application's data assets, such as fonts or images

In addition to these files, your application also relies on various operating system libraries against which it's been compiled. To see the full list of libraries, use the ldd command on your application's directory.

For example, assume you have a Flutter desktop application called linux_desktop_test. To inspect the its system library dependencies, use the following commands:

flutter build linux --release
ldd build/linux/x64/release/bundle/linux_desktop_test

To wrap up this application for distribution, include everything in the bundle directory and verify the target Linux system has all required system libraries.

This might only require using the following command.

sudo apt-get install libgtk-3-0 libblkid1 liblzma5

To learn how to publish a Linux application to the Snap Store, consult Build and release a Linux application to the Snap Store.

Additional resources


To learn how to create Linux Debian (.deb) and RPM (.rpm) builds of your Flutter desktop app, consult the step-by-step Linux packaging guide.