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Thread: snapd? not sure

  1. #1
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    snapd? not sure

    So I know this maybe just opinions, but what is it with snap and Ubuntu? I was not aware of it until my googling difference packages told me to install that package with snap. In most cases I either got an older version of the software or software installed in weird places with a directory structure I could not figure out how to live with. Software development packages require you to know and work with their directory structure and it's different if I'm forced to install with Snap.

    If I stay with Ubuntu, which is my preference, can I completely remove Snap and still get things done? I will not use it.

  2. #2
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    Quote Originally Posted by jfaberna View Post
    If I stay with Ubuntu, which is my preference, can I completely remove Snap and still get things done? I will not use it.
    Running

    Code:
    sudo apt purge snapd
    will remove snapd and all snap packages, if there are any installed.

    For the most part your only issue would be if a particular piece of software is available only in the snap format.

    You should be able to still get things done as the majority of software has alternative ways of being installed, removing snapd won't break your installation.

  3. #3
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    I personally wouldn't purge `snapd`, but with a couple of commands you can disable it so it doesn't run (allowing you to enable it faster should you need it).

    I primarily use Lubuntu, which being a Ubuntu family product, modern releases include `snapd`, however it installs without any snaps anyway.

    I'm using an 11 year old desktop, so I've not exactly got loads of spare resources, but I still find snaps handy, and thus they're not disabled on this box.

    I do on occasion use much older laptops with single core processors, and a total of 1GB RAM (Lubuntu 18.04 LTS) and on those boxes stopping/disabling `snapd` sure makes sense to me, but Lubuntu 18.04 didn't come with `snapd` anyway, so I don't have to.

    As the snaps run as containerized applications, the 'unique' or 'different' layout doesn't worry me at all, and when I've had issues with a snap (rare, and with `chromium` mostly), it wasn't really any harder to work out where my user data was than back when it was a deb package (chromium has been a snap package on my system for ~21 months now).

    For developers, they make sense; snap (package) it once and it'll run on all releases, where as deb packages really need to be built for every release (not that difficult if built on infrastructure, just click the releases you want to build for, but that's still a lot of packages that need testing, instead of a single snap).

    Snaps needing extra resources required (mostly by containerization) I'm no fan of (especially with my aged hardware), but they provides greater choices (I can even find/use a chromium via deb package if I wanted to) as there are programs only available as snap (which likely would never be packaged as deb).

  4. #4
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    My concern is that there are cases where Ubuntu turns an apt install into an excuse to use snap again like in Chromium. I run Linux Mint 20 on my laptop and it does not have snapd and their developers will not use it by default. That is based on Ubuntu so I'm safer, I think, with that.
    However on my development system I've switched to Archlinux with Cinnamon DE. A lot harder to install everything, but at least I know what I got and nothing automatic is going to happen; no auto-updates, no auto-downloads, and no livepatches.

  5. #5
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    It would be quite nice if snap / snapstore / snapcraft was an optinal install in the *buntu system installer. However, in Kubuntu Discover you can clearly see which source a package is (or will be) installed from, which gives you the choice. Usually the snap packages are (much) newer versions compared to the apt packages and there is the benefit of having the snaps sandboxed, which may be quite nice for some third party packages (Android Studio, M$ VSCode etc.). Snaps are also giving convenient access to install software which is not available in the ordinary repos and would require either building them or installing them as cumbersome downloads which may not be an option for the average user. On the other hand, snaps are bulky and slow which is not really what you want when using Linux.
    Have a ubuntastic day!

  6. #6
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    Quote Originally Posted by jfaberna View Post
    My concern is that there are cases where Ubuntu turns an apt install into an excuse to use snap again like in Chromium.
    No.

    https://snapcraft.io/blog/chromium-i...nap-transition
    Quote Originally Posted by Canonical
    On Ubuntu, Chromium is not the default browser, and the package resides in the ‘universe’ section of the archive. Universe contains community-maintained software packages. Despite that, the Ubuntu Desktop Team is committed to packaging and maintaining Chromium because a significant number of users rely on it.

    Maintaining a single release of Chromium is a significant time investment for the Ubuntu Desktop Team working with the Ubuntu Security team to deliver updates to each stable release. As the teams support numerous stable releases of Ubuntu, the amount of work is compounded.

    Comparing this workload to other Linux distributions which have a single supported rolling release misses the nuance of supporting multiple Long Term Support (LTS) and non-LTS releases.

    Google releases a new major version of Chromium every six weeks, with typically several minor versions to address security vulnerabilities in between. Every new stable version has to be built for each supported Ubuntu release − 16.04, 18.04, 19.04 and the upcoming 19.10 − and for all supported architectures (amd64, i386, armhf, arm64).

    Additionally, ensuring Chromium even builds (let alone runs) on older releases such as 16.04 can be challenging, as the upstream project often uses new compiler features that are not available on older releases.

    In contrast, a snap needs to be built only once per architecture, and will run on all systems that support snapd. This covers all supported Ubuntu releases including 14.04 with Extended Security Maintenance (ESM), as well as other distributions like Debian, Fedora, Mint, and Manjaro.

    While this change in packaging for Chromium can allow us to focus developer resources elsewhere, there are additional benefits that packaging as a snap can deliver. Channels in the Snap Store enable publishing multiple versions of Chromium easily under one name. Users can switch between channels to test different versions of the browser. The Snap Store delivers snaps automatically in the background, so users can be confident they’re running up to date software without having to manually manage their updates. We can also publish specific fixes quickly via branches in the Snap Store enabling a fast user & developer turnaround of bug reports. Finally the Chromium snap is strictly confined, which provides additional security assurances for users.

    In summary: there are several factors that make Chromium a good candidate to be transitioned to a snap:

    • It’s not the default browser in Ubuntu so has lower impact by virtue of having a smaller user-base
    • Snaps are explicitly designed to support a high frequency of stable updates
    • The upstream project has three release channels (stable, beta, dev) that map nicely to snapd’s default channels (stable, beta, edge). This enables users to easily switch release of Chromium, or indeed have multiple versions installed in parallel
    • Having the application strictly confined is an added security layer on top of the browser’s already-robust sand-boxing mechanism
    It's not "packages like Chromium," it's just Chromium. You can add a PPA and get Chromium as a deb maintained by someone else if you want it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dinkidonk View Post
    On the other hand, snaps are bulky and slow which is not really what you want when using Linux.
    Snaps are no slower than software installed through deb packages. They are slower to start the first time than software installed through deb packages.

  7. #7
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    I've learned to like snaps.
    Though I agree there are new things to learn. I have also been unsure which files are used. Which configuration files are used...
    I also 'dislike' Ubuntu hiding snap usage behind apt. I find things more confusing that way.

    That said, things like the directory structure are workable.
    https://snapcraft.io/docs/system-snap-directory

    Essentially, the snap would be located here:
    /snap/<snapname>/current

    Yet, as others have said there are ways to remove SNAP and you can always still use .deb or PPAs to get things installed.

    Yet, I'd encourage you to just learn to deal with SNAPs as any other part of a system. Ubuntu is going to choose certain packages to be on SNAP by default and away from the base repo.
    You're going to end up removing packages and having a fair bit of extra overhead maintaining PPAs and what not just to avoid snaps.

  8. #8
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    Quote Originally Posted by guiverc View Post
    I'm using an 11 year old desktop, so I've not exactly got loads of spare resources, but I still find snaps handy, and thus they're not disabled on this box.
    I use a 14 year old desktop running Ubuntu 18.04 and have no problems with snaps.

    I've only tried a few snaps and they were installed by default and they open a little slower but they run OK.
    Last edited by poorguy; February 23rd, 2021 at 12:56 AM.
    Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
    (Mark Twain)

  9. #9
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    FWIIW, I always uninstall snap, cloud and mdns. These are all mostly useless to me.

  10. #10
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    Re: snapd? not sure

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    It's not "packages like Chromium," it's just Chromium. You can add a PPA and get Chromium as a deb maintained by someone else if you want it.
    That is not my experience. Can I get a non-snap version of lxd? Please?
    I used apt to install lxd, this is what happened ....

    Code:
    sudo apt install lxd
    ==> Installing the LXD snap from the 4.0 track for ubuntu-20.04
    lxd (4.0/stable) 4.0.5 from Canonical✓ installed
    => Snap installation complete
    ==> Cleaning up leftovers
    Failed to stop lxd.socket: Unit lxd.socket not loaded.
    Failed to stop lxd.service: Unit lxd.service not loaded.
    Failed to stop lxd-containers.service: Unit lxd-containers.service not loaded.
    Failed to disable unit: Unit file lxd.socket does not exist.
    Unpacking lxd (1:0.9) ...
    Setting up lxd (1:0.9) ...
    Checking ....
    Code:
    $ dpkg -l lxd
    Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold
    | Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
    |/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
    ||/ Name           Version      Architecture Description
    +++-==============-============-============-==================================>
    ii  lxd            1:0.9        all          Transitional package - lxd -> snap
    So it isn't just Chromium. LXD is server infrastructure. There is a non-snap version of lxd in prior releases - v1.x, but that is many years old and lacking features added since they moved to snap-only releases.

    The ideal that snaps are run anywhere is great, but not true. About 70-80% of the snaps I install won't run. Seems they don't include all the dependencies. Also, none with GUIs seem to work over X11 remote connections, which is almost always the way I work.
    Last edited by TheFu; February 23rd, 2021 at 06:26 AM.

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