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Ubuntu flavours to drop Flatpak by default and stick to Snaps

By - | Views: 38,223

Canonical has announced a change in the packaging defaults for the various "flavours" like Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie and so on to exclude Flatpak and stick with Snap. Yes that's flavours, not flavors but also flavors in the announcement.

This is no doubt going to be a hot topic, because name me a more intense argument in the Linux world than packaging. While Flatpak has been gaining many fans lately, partly because it's included as the official way to install extra packages in Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck, Canonical are sticking to their own Snap.

So what's going on? In short: Ubuntu flavours will no longer have Flatpak enabled or setup by default. However, users can still do it themselves as they're not being removed from any repositories. It's all about the out of the box experience, with Canonical and the flavours now sticking to deb and snap to maintain their focus on what is actually properly supported by them and gets the most attention.

Users who have Flatpak installed won't see any changes, it's just the out of the box new-install experience as of April 2023, with the release of Ubuntu Lunar Lobster.

This is, after all, why we have different distributions isn't it? They're free to make whatever decisions they wish, and people who don't like it can go elsewhere, or just change the defaults to their liking — Linux is open and configurable unlike certain other systems. Do what you want.

So while it's going to be controversial, it's not exactly a big deal is it? Sort of. It's still making the desktop Linux experience quite messy, especially for newer users since there's no single way of installing things across different Linux distributions. You can't usually just point people to this thing and say get that, unless you first know the exact distribution they're on.

If you have thoughts you can comment on the announcement and let them know.

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Tags: Meta, Ubuntu
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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sgtnasty369 23 Feb
I have strong opinions on this topic, and found solace in Arch and Fedora.
Glad I already made the jump from Ubuntu to Pop!_OS.
CyborgZeta 23 Feb
Emphasis on not installed by default. Flatpak will still be in the repos, and you can still use Flatpaks on Ubuntu and its flavors.

I will continue using Kubuntu.
Beamboom 23 Feb
Flavour is the UK spelling, flavor is the sloppy usa spelling.

But is it snap or flat that can't update an app while it's running, leaving those utterly annoying reminders as notifications?

Because, burn THAT thing.

Last edited by Beamboom on 23 February 2023 at 12:35 pm UTC
Solarwing 23 Feb
I have a terrible premonition about this. When I wake up tomorrow and open up the
TV there's Canonical's logo on the screen and I hear TV say:" This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill. All hail the new overlord of the world:Mark Shuttleworth,Canonical!! Oh man! Does that mean that an era of Microsoft is over tomorrow and everybody is using Linux?Maybe! But now about these news. I think that I won't install ubuntu for a while or its flavors. It's kind of unfair to favor Snap.Linux is freedom and in my opinion this is limiting it. But at least we can use Flatpak still on Ubuntu but it requires some tinkering ofc. But my interest in Ubuntu has dropped for now.
whizse 23 Feb
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I can't say I have a stake in this, but it's interesting to ponder that Ubuntu seems to have a habit of betting on the wrong horse, Mir and upstart, for example.
MayeulC 23 Feb
Quoting: BeamboomBut is it snap or flat that can't update an app while it's running

Flatpak can do that. No idea for snaps.

Last edited by MayeulC on 23 February 2023 at 12:59 pm UTC
Zlopez 23 Feb
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I remember that in LTS they usually have really old version of flatpak, so some things didn't work as they should anyway.

I'm not sure why Canonical doesn't want to have flatpak installed out of the box, but they sometimes do strange decisions, like Mir or Unity. Not bad projects but they were the only one using them and dropped them after some time.

The packaging is something that should be addressed across all distributions. But in case of Flatpaks, Snaps or AppImages it's just about adoption downstream, which is more difficult for deb, rpm etc..
But in case of snaps I'm not sure if there is anyone packaging apps as snaps outside Canonical.
sprocket 23 Feb
Now before people lose their cool over this, lets look at it from Canonical's perspective:

Canonical need to support their LTS versions of Ubuntu and the different flavors. That *includes* everything offered in the Snap store, since Snaps and the Snap store are officially supported.

Flatpaks are *not* officially supported, because Canonical doesn't run Flathub.

Flatpaks are not going away, they just aren't going to be officially supported (Use at your own risk sort of thing). Which is fine.

Ubuntu forks/spinoffs like Mint and Pop_OS will currently continue to support Flatpaks out of the box.

The flip side of the argument is that, if you don't want to be wrapped up in the Snap ecosystem, then Ubuntu and its flavors probably isn't going to be your Linux distro of choice anymore. Fortunately the Linux (and Ubuntu-based) ecosystem is rather large, and Ubuntu forks/spinoffs like Pop_OS and Mint are still a thing.
F.Ultra 23 Feb
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Quoting: whizseI can't say I have a stake in this, but it's interesting to ponder that Ubuntu seems to have a habit of betting on the wrong horse, Mir and upstart, for example.

I wish that people would stop bringing up Upstart in discussions like these. Upstart predates systemd by 4 years and was at the time the best candidate to replace the ancient SysVinit which is why many, including Red Hat and Chromebooks, move over to Upstart.
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