Flock is a team communication application for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile platforms. It’s very similar to a lot of other collaborative chat tools on the market today, such as Slack, HipChat, Rocketchat, Mattermost, and others. It claims to be a much cheaper alternative to Slack while offering up competitive features.
Recently, the Flock desktop application has hit beta for Linux, via the Snap store. If you’re a Linux fan and rely on Flock to communicate with your coworkers, here’s how to get it working.
Snap package installation
If you’re trying to get Flock installed on Linux, the developers only provide a Snap package. The reason for going with Snap, rather than dealing with Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Arch Linux, OpenSUSE and the myriad of other Linux operating systems is understandable. However, it does limit the audience of Flock to only Linux users that have access to the Snapd runtime.
Snapd is supported out of the box by Ubuntu Linux. Also, it’s possible to set up the runtime on Arch Linux, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Gentoo Linux, Linux Mint, and many others. For more information on how to enable the Snapd runtime service on your Linux PC, head over to our official guide on the subject. It’s very in-depth and will walk you through how to install the necessary packages, how to install programs from it and update with it too.
Once you’ve gotten the Snapd background service up and running on your Linux operating system, installation of Flock can begin by opening up a terminal window. With the terminal window open, run the snap install command to load the program up on your system.
sudo snap install flock-chat
Another way to install the Flock chat application via Snap is with the Snap store. To do this, ensure the Ubuntu Snap App Store is installed on your Linux PC. Then, head over to the Flock page on Snapcraft, and click the green “Install” button to reveal installation instructions, and click the “View in Desktop store” button.
After clicking the “View in Desktop store” button, the Snap App Store will launch. From there, click the “Install” button, and enter your password to get Flock.
Alternative ways to use Flock on Linux
Though the Snap release of the Flock team chat is the way the developers plan to get Linux users to use their application, it isn’t the only way to use it. In this section of the guide, we’ll go over a few unofficial ways to get Flock working on the Linux desktop.
Chrome app installation
The Flock chat app can come as a Google Chrome extension. This method of installation is perfect for Linux users unable to install Snap packages (due to lack of support, or dislike of Snaps).
Setting up the Flock Chrome extension starts by installing the Google Chrome web browser. To do this, head over to Google.com/chrome, and download the installation package for Chrome (RPM or DEB).
Once the package file is done downloading, double-click on the package file, and it’ll open in the package installer on your Linux PC. From there, go through the process of installing Chrome. Or, if Chrome isn’t supported on your Linux OS, follow our guide to learn how to set up Chromium instead, as it can also use the Flock extension.
With Chrome (or Chromium) installed on your Linux PC, launch it. Then, when it’s open and ready to go, click here to go to the Flock extension page on the Chrome web store, and click the “Install” button.
After installing the Flock extension to Chrome or Chromium, you’ll see a green chat icon. Click it to load the Flock team chat in the browser instantly.
Web app installation
If you don’t want to use the Chrome extension, but still want a desktop application for Flock like the Snap release, a web app is the best way to go about it. To create a new web app, start by installing the Nativefier application by following this guide here.
After installing Nativefier, download the Flock app logo using wget.
wget https://i.imgur.com/YXmiLAj.png -O icon.png
Move the file into the “/tmp” folder with the CD command.
Create a new build folder for the app using mkdir.
mkdir -p flock-build
Move the icon file into the build folder.
mv ~/icon.png /tmp/flock-build
Using the Nativefier application, run a build of the Flock chat page.
nativefier -p linux -a x64 -i /tmp/flock-build/icon.png --disable-context-menu --disable-dev-tools --single-instance https://web.flock.com
Rename the build folder using the mv command.
mv /tmp/flock-build/flock-linux-x64/ /tmp/flock-build/flock/
Make a new desktop icon for Flock using touch and echo.
sudo -s touch /usr/share/applications/flock.desktop
echo '[Desktop Entry] Comment[en_US]=Flock team collaboration app. Comment= Exec=/opt/flock/flock GenericName[en_US]=Flock team collaboration app. GenericName=Flock Icon=/opt/flock/resources/app/icon.png MimeType= Name[en_US]=Flock Name=Flock NoDisplay=false Path= Categories=Network StartupNotify=true Terminal=false TerminalOptions= Type=Application' > /usr/share/applications/flock.desktop
Place the web app files in the “/opt” directory using mv.
cd /tmp/flock-build/ mv flock /opt
Update the permissions of both the shortcut file and the Flock folder in “/opt.”
chmod +x /usr/share/applications/flock.desktop chmod 777 -R /opt/flock
With the permissions updated, the new Flock web app can be run by launching the shortcut in “Internet” in the app menu.