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Linux Mint votes no on Snap packages, APT to block snapd installs

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The Linux Mint distribution team put out another of their monthly updates, and this month was quite interesting.

In the past the Linux Mint team had been quite vocal about Snaps, the next-generation Linux packaging system backed by Ubuntu maker Canonical. Like Flatpak, they're trying to redefine how Linux users install packages. The main issue here it seems (from what they said) is that Snaps are more locked-down. They compared Snaps to using proprietary software as you "can't audit them, hold them, modify them or even point snap to a different store", it pushes Ubuntu directly and Snaps are done in the background.

Mint's founder Clément Lefèbvre has said that with Linux Mint 20, they will push back firmly against Snaps. Currently in Ubuntu, which Mint builds off, Chromium is an empty package which installs a Snap (info) so the Mint team will ensure it tells you why and how to go and get Chromium yourself. Additionally, by default APT on Mint will not let snapd get installed but you will be able to do so manually.

NVIDIA users rejoice! NVIDIA Optimus is to get better Mint support, with their included applet being able to show your GPU and select what card to use from the menu.

Optimus support goes further though, as they will also now fully support the “On-Demand” profile too in the MATE and Cinnamon desktops directly. You will be able to get a menu option to run something with the more powerful NVIDIA GPU. Like we've seen GNOME be able to do with the 3.36 release:

As for theme changes, the additions and tweaks to colours they previously announced will not happen due to a fair amount of negative feedback. They're not stopping though, instead they will seek feedback about each colour option individually during the Beta period of Linux Mint 20.

See the Linux Mint monthly update here. Their attention to the small details are always nice to see.

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CatKiller 3 Jun
Quoting: Purple Library GuyAs a side note, why does he even know how many people are downloading PPAs from outside Ubuntu?

It's explained in the video (and, y'know, the transcript that I provided) PPAs are hosted on Launchpad, so they know which ones get the most traffic. People other than Ubuntu could have their own Launchpad instance, since they open sourced it, but no one does. They don't know who is using the PPA (again, as it says in the transcript) but they know how many.
Tuxee 3 Jun
Quoting: PangaeaHere is an example of what I mentioned earlier. And I've tried to install such things in the past and it did indeed take up an enormous amount of space - wildly more than the actual program does. I don't like bloatware, and you'll be hard pressed to find bigger bloat than this. Are the sticking the entire Linux OS in there or what the hell?


Really? Showing an image of a flatpak package to prove the bloatedness of a snap? Really? (Besides I can't find a XNView snap to see whether this is different.)

Quoting: PangaeaIf you download the program from their website, the deb is ~50 MB and the AppImage ~80 MB. And this isn't even the most egregious example. I've seen +2000% as well, maybe even more. It's totally absurd. I much prefer to download from the repo, or directly, or from a PPA that I can instantly disable afterwards.

Why are you doing that? You are aware, that you can download the deb packages of a PPA without setting up the PPA.

Quoting: PangaeaSnap sounds even worse, but in different ways, so I'm very happy about Mint doing the right thing here and ensuring the safety and interests of their users. If people absolutely want snap, you can manually install the stuff.

You are aware that in Ubuntu 20.04 there is only one snap package installed ("Ubuntu Software"), that this can be replaced by the native application with a few mouse clicks, and snaps are not forced on Ubuntu users? Ubuntu users have exactly the same variety of native packages available as Mint users. Plus a snap installer and daemon which you can use or not.

Quoting: PangaeaNot the first time Canonical has done something dodgy -- and surely not the last time.

Ah yes. Another sinister conspiracy...
Tuxee 3 Jun
Quoting: soulsourceThat's actually my main point of critique regarding all container formats: They delegate dependency tracking to developers, what makes it basically impossible to prevent situations in which users end up installing the same libraries over and over and over again, in different versions

It's the other way round: that's the reason why you have these containers - to have dependency compatibilty on a per-application level.

Quoting: soulsourceI fully agree however that container packages are preferable to some developer-hosted binary tar.gz. Yet, I don't see how they could be a suitable alternative to distributor-maintained traditional packages (deb, rpm,...).
I have the feeling that the ideal solution for end-users is a co-existence of containers and traditional packages, each having its own preferred use case.

I don't think that this was ever seriously disputed - even by container enthusiasts.
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Hot take: Ubuntu is meant to be the most locked-down distro. Imho, it is meant for people who want to have an easy start with linux and who know shit about computers. If I was to install a linux system for my mom, I would pick Ubuntu for a distro. Canonical has it all cut out for her and it is convenient not to struggle with the details.

It's fine with me if people don't like snaps for one or the other reason, but actively prohibiting users from using it seems kind of a drastic way to me.
Quoting: t3gHey Linux Mint.... 2010 called and they want their UI back.
To be honest, I don't really care what year a UI comes from, I'm more interested in whether it works.
I tend to like furniture made of real wood over self-consciously modern uncomfortable chrome-y crap too.
CatKiller 3 Jun
Quoting: tuubiAnd if you want to convince them that snaps are a good thing

For the record, I have no intention of doing that. I don't use snaps myself, and I'll happily tell people how to avoid using them. I've done so, in fact, on this site.

Containerised applications, in general, serve a purpose, just as distros serve a purpose, but I don't really care about which containers or distros people choose to use, or not use.

What I do care about, though, is people wasting our time and energy on cannibalism, which harms our chances of achieving our objectives as Linux gamers. There's plenty of reality-based discussion to be had about the challenges we face as a community. We don't need to make up more.

As a concrete example, Phoronix has some useful stuff, but you can't send people there in case they accidentally read the comments. I don't want gamingonlinux to be like Phoronix. I'd rather Phoronix wasn't like Phoronix, too.

Last edited by CatKiller on 4 June 2020 at 12:20 am UTC
Dragunov 4 Jun
I don't like Snaps anyway. I like flatpaks better, but to be honest I could care less about either of them. I rarely even use them.
I am so glad to see this and now I am waiting for 20 to drop so I can test it on my T450. I have Ubuntu 20.04 on it right now and it constantly fails to load anything from the App store, though updates run fine...I'm testing out distros I might give me dad to use
Upokupo 4 Jun
Lol!! What an interesting read of comments. Y'know, one of the biggest draws of Linux is choice, if not the best thing about it. What has transcribed over the course of 5 pages is individuals going round and round with what boils down to choice. This isn't that complicated, I promise you.

If you like Snaps, utilize them. If you don't like Snaps, don't use them. That's it. There is no more. One's reason for or against are valid to each individual. No one gets to decide what works or doesn't work for another.
tuubi 4 Jun
Quoting: CatKillerWhat I do care about, though, is people wasting our time and energy on cannibalism, which harms our chances of achieving our objectives as Linux gamers. There's plenty of reality-based discussion to be had about the challenges we face as a community. We don't need to make up more.
Hey, what did you expect from a bunch of Linux enthusiasts? Of course we've all got our priorities, but you'll always see a backlash when a company does something that can in any conceivable way be seen as against the spirit of software freedom. Any signs of vendor lockdown will not go down smoothly.

It would be nice if there was less knee-jerk involved, but that's the nature of conversations on the Internet. Of course, I don't think Linux is at a particular disadvantage here. People argue about software choices regardless of platform.

Also, what was that about wasting time? Isn't this a gaming website? :D

Quoting: CatKillerAs a concrete example, Phoronix has some useful stuff, but you can't send people there in case they accidentally read the comments. I don't want gamingonlinux to be like Phoronix. I'd rather Phoronix wasn't like Phoronix, too.
Phoronix comment threads tend to quickly descend into crap slinging matches. It's just not worth wading through the festering muck for the rare pearl.

Last edited by tuubi on 4 June 2020 at 8:03 am UTC
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