Snapcraft - Snaps are universal Linux packages
snapcraft.io
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Snaps are containerised software packages that are simple to create and install. They auto-update and are safe to run. And because they bundle their dependencies, they work on all major Linux systems without modification.
@kixik
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4d

In general, I don’t like the idea of having flatpak, snapcraft and appimage, packages. First, and this is different between them, but in the end they all suffer the same one way or another, there are huge binary dependencies blobs, whether coming with the same app, or having to be installed from the package provider. At some point I tried to install Liri from Flatpak, and it was a nightmare of things having to be installed, when I already had most things natively built by the distro I used.

As opposed to opinions from Linus himself, I prefer SW to be built from the same system libraries and dependencies, rather than each app coming along with their own set of binary dependencies. Getting GNU/Linux to behave like MS-Win, where you can install whatever binary, from whatever source, and perhaps even duplicating a bunch of stuff you already have on your system is crazy. One thing that gets solves easier, when having contained apps, is when depending on same things but from different versions, and that to me is not ideal either. To me, as done by distros, one should avoid as much as possible having different versions of same SW, but if in need, then rename one including the version as part of the name, or something, but mainly avoid having a bunch the same thing with multiple versions all over. Guix handles that more elegantly of course, but I haven’t had the time, neither the guts to go for Guix yet (still in my ist of pending stuff).

The other thing, is that although now a days everything comes with a signature to check, on distros provided packages, which are built from source, besides minimizing the amount of stuff needed, one can always look at how the packages are built (arch and derivatives through the PKGBUILs and companions), tweak and build oneself (eg, currently fluxbox head of master, and from a while back, doesn’t play nice with lxqt, then with the help of fluxbox devs I found the culprit commit, revert it, and still apply the same distro recipe with my own patch, and moved on). No matter being signed, binary packages are not as flexible, that besides the fact several just proprietary, and one might not even be aware, since the move is to be more MS-Win like, even with auto updates and such…

Building having in mind minimal systems and ecosystems, and have mostly free/libre or at least open source SW, makes thing much better for me. One can end up with bloated huge systems, if wanted, but at least not with bunch of duplicates unnecessarily.

@Echedenyan
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165d

I don’t use it because it has a nonFree server side and is centralized.

@AgreeableLandscape
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The server side is proprietary? Like, do you mean the snapcraft.io thing or the package server? I thought Snaps worked off the same “alphabetical nested folder being hosted as an open directory with a text file for the index” system that most package managers used. In fact isn’t it pretty easy to go into the client and change where it downloads packages from?

@Echedenyan
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54d

The first, the package server was already clarified in a post made by cannonical but still their server is propietary.

@AgreeableLandscape
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14d

Damn. Another reason to not to use 'em then

Arthur Besse
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the server software is non-free. iiuc it would be easy enough to reverse engineer the protocol from the client software (which is free software) but (last I checked, anyway) the server URLs are not configurable so you would actually need to patch and recompile the client to use a different server.

This I didn’t know

visnudeva
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4d

I love to have a clean PC, so if everything was flatpack or snaps I would use it but as it is not the case I only use the traditional way of installing apps. But it is a great way for the developpers to share their apps universally on any Linux distro.

Kromonos
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64d

I prefer distro packages, because they don’t need to install dependencies, which are already installed. But for testing out a program or in need of several versions of one and the same one, it’s a great deal.
But even for testing or running multiple versions, AppImage is the better solution, in my opinion.

They aren’t available for my OS (GNU Guix System), but if they were, I still would refuse them because they are the antithesis of what I consider an ideal free software ecosystem: mystery blobs that may or may not be proprietary that bundle other dependencies that may or may not be proprietary, that auto update themselves because that’s how it’s done on Windows. Add to this the fact that the server side is proprietary and controlled by a for-profit company (and last I checked there was no way to configure multiple repositories or override the default snap server without a recompile) and that’s just more reason to stay away. Flatpak is arguably snap done “the right way” but I still refuse it out of principle, because it shares most of what I consider to be fundamental problems with snaps.

GNU Guix does it the right way for me. Source based reproducible builds that are 100% free software, but have binaries available if you don’t want to/can’t build them yourself. “Channels” (repositories) are just git repositories with package declarations, so anyone with access to git hosting can create them. Package declarations declare every dependency they need so an isolated build environment can be created reproducibly, and any change to a dependency triggers a rebuild of dependent packages.

@sproid
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54d

Because snaps are slower than flatpak per my experience. Also there is already many other ways to install software and why bother making things complicated, specially if the community already have a favorite. To install apps I chose distro_repo>flatpak> AUR≈Snaps≈appimage. This because it depends how the app behaves, its limitations and ease of update with everything else.

Agree with other comments. I used to recommend Ubuntu otherwise (though I don’t use it personally) but refrain now. Would just as soon recommend Debian or Linux Mint now.

The arrogance of installing the snap of Firefox even when you try to do it via cli irks me to no end.

@AgreeableLandscape
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35d

I consider Pop OS the de-bullshitted version of Ubuntu.

Would just as soon recommend Debian or Linux Mint now.

KDE Neon also doesn’t have a snap Firefox, it comes out of the box with a Mozilla PPA Firefox (despite being Ubuntu based).

@zksmk @timbuck2themoon You can still install a snap Firefox if that’s what you really want, or a Flatpak

Ji Fu
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15d

@linux what’s wrong with just using whatever browser is in your repo?

LPWaterhouse
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95d

I avoid them like the plague. I don’t want to add another installation method (one of GNU/Linux’ advantages has always been the “exactly one way to install”, instead of dozens of different installers). I don’t want something that not only disobeys XDG (The only Poettering-thing I approve of…), but clutters my home with a visible folder, that happens to contain nothing I ever need to access.

@imgprojts
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34d

Is snap even free opensource?

@imgprojts @OptimusPrime It’s somewhat open source - the client “snapd” software that runs on your system is open-source, but the Snap Store server software isn’t AFAIK

@imgprojts
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34d

I mean that’s basically it. So long as there’s the tiniest bit of proprietary code or dependency, it automatically falls off my radar as potentially good for me. I think of it as candy and in the back of this delicious looking lolipop piece of software, there’s a big white van just waiting for us to take a lick. Once hooked, away we go…into the Nether regions of what should be free but isn’t.

You can stop using internet right now. There are closed source bits of code in the JS you run off of websites natively. If you are not using LibreJS and IceCat, you have already been assimilated.

@imgprojts @pmc Good luck running a CPU or GPU then (all of them have proprietary firmware)

SudoDnfDashY
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85d

They’re slow, and I don’t need them.

@AgreeableLandscape
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5d

Biggest issue: Free and nonfree packages in the same repository. If you’re on the command line, you have no idea which is which. Goes against the principles of free software. For me to even consider using a package manager it better not have nonfree packages by default, you should need to issue a command to activate a completely separate nonfree repository (so I can avoid that command like the plague), you know, like how apt, dnf, pacman etc do it?

Arthur Besse
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5d

I’m unsurprised to see lots of good reasons here why not to use them already, and none for why anyone does :)

I imagine the vast majority of snap users are using them only because Ubuntu ships a few things (like firefox) as snaps by default now.

I tried the Inkscape snap recently on an ubuntu system where i needed the latest release, and found that due to its sandboxing security theater (last I heard it is still not difficult break out…) it is impossible to open files from the commandline. And, even worse, when you use the Open command from File menu, it just passes the one file you selected in to the sandbox, so, when you open a file which has references to other files (which is not uncommon with SVG) it is not able to load them! So, I ended up using Inkscape’s AppImage instead.

@OsrsNeedsF2P
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4d

The sandboxing issue is actually an important one that is being figured out at the xdg-protocol level. It affects Snaps, Flatpak, and any future goal of being able to run user-space apps in an environment more like Android or iOS, where it prompts a permission asking to access certain files/folders/cameras/etc on your device.

(If you don’t like that idea, don’t worry I’m sure you’re not alone and there will always be distros that follow the current status quo of “give everything”, but it’s a cool feature to have)

Arthur Besse
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24d

yeah, I am aware, and I do actually think the xdg portal stuff is generally a good idea for a lot of programs… but the way it works right now sacrifices a lot of usability and doesn’t gain much security.

passing files given as commandline arguments seems like an easy problem to solve, but the linked file situation with SVG is much harder (probably requires a whole new flow for xdg portals where a program can request access to a bunch of files and prompt the user once to allow access to all of them). in the absence of any solution, imo it is silly that they’re shipping inkscape as a snap with strict confinement today.

@katve
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64d

I use distro repos or flatpak.

Snaps are typically insanely slower than anything else. Flatpak on the other hand tend to have zero latency issues and run nearly as fast and efficient as a native proper install. I’ve had nothing but strange security issues Snaps in comparison to Flatpak.

How do they actually differ? I tend to group them as the same thing, as I’m not a user of either.

Helix 🧬
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44d

Snap uses a server while flatpak just runs regular binaries in a sandboxed environment.

@OsrsNeedsF2P
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5d

They broadcast all their notifications with priority set to 0, which overrides Do Not Disturb and custom notification filter settings.

Put less kindly, the developers are arrogant fucks. This reason alone is enough for me to package apps on Flathub.org.

(Play Runescape? Check out the 2009 emulation available as a Flatpak!)

JoYo
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65d

oh ok I thought it was just kde that wouldn’t let me mute the alerts. I couldn’t care less if ff needs to be updated, I’m not rebooting my computer. thanks for reinventing windows updates.

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