If you’re an avid user of AppImages and wondering why they don’t work in Ubuntu 23.04, I’ve got you covered.
But maybe you didn’t realise there was an issue?
In earlier versions of Ubuntu you can download an
.appimage, mark it executable (i.e. give it permission to run, usually via the file manager Properties dialog), then double-click on it to open. The app appears, you use it, you’re happy.
But in Ubuntu 23.04 (and 23.10) this doesn’t work.
Before anyone get angry, the reason AppImages no longer work out-of-the-box in Ubuntu 23.04 and above is not down to any ideological-imposed limitation.
Rather, Ubuntu now uses a newer version of FUSE, the ‘Filesystem in User Space’ interface that AppImages rely on to do their magic (because the old version is unmaintained).
Ubuntu 23.04 and 23.10 both ship with FUSE 3 but most AppImages need the classic FUSE 2 to run. Discussions by AppImage devs, distros, and community folks on how to move the situation forward are take place, so you may be interested in keeping an eye on those for updates.
For now, to make AppImages work in Ubuntu 23.04 and 23.10 you have to install FUSE 2.
You won’t need to add a PPA and pin packages as the
libfuse2 package is in the Ubuntu Universe repo (enabled by default usually). You can also install FUSE 2 alongside FUSE 3 without any conflicts (which is not the case for FUSE 1, so don’t install that).
To install libfuse2 on Ubuntu open a new Terminal window and run:
sudo apt install libfuse2
Press the enter/return key, type in your password to authenticate the installation, then wait for it install. Once done, you’re done!
You can once again double-click on an AppImage to run it (assuming you’ve given it permission to run first, of course).
An array of Linux apps are available as AppImages, including Kdenlive video editor, Audacity audio editor, and popular image writer BalenaEtcher. This workaround is an essential ‘thing to do’ if your workflow relies on apps made available to download in this format.