Flutter is Google's cross-platform application framework that allows developers to create responsive apps for Android, iOS, and even macOS. The toolset has already been used by countless applications, including the mobile Stadia app, and now Google is teaming up with Ubuntu Linux to bring Flutter apps to desktop Linux.

"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," Google said in a blog post. "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."

Canonical is making a significant investment in Flutter.

In addition to developing Ubuntu Linux, Canonical also owns and operates the Snap Store, an app store for multiple Linux distributions using the Snap package format (which Canonical also develops). Snap packages are containerized and generally easier to distribute than traditional Linux-based software, and Snap support will be a priority for Flutter on Linux. The Snap format won't be a requirement for Flutter apps, though, which is certainly a good thing — the format has a mixed reputation with Linux users.

Google and Canonical are also working to ensure Flutter applications on the desktop won't just feel like half-baked ports of smartphone apps. Even in its current alpha state, Flutter applications can use menu bars, mouse and keyboard input, standard system dialogs, and resizable top-level windows.

It remains to be seen if Flutter will take off on desktop platforms, especially since both Linux and macOS support are in an alpha stage, and Windows compatibility is even farther behind. For better or worse, Electron has become the de-facto way to produce cross-platform applications, but Electron doesn't have the same Android and iOS compatibility that Flutter has.