Snaps Everywhere! Snaps to Become the De-facto Package Manager For all Linux Systems!

Written by Jesse Afolabi

Snaps are Godsend now that i think about it, given how they’ve taken the Linux industry very well by surprise! Canonical had only recently made public the package format and that was merely some two months ago and now, the package management will be going universal like nobody’s business!

Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth made the point that Linux fragmentation has always been a thing …“Linux fragmentation has always been an issue,” and further commented that,

“Snaps bring those apps to every Linux desktop, server, device or cloud machine, giving users freedom to choose any Linux distribution while retaining access to the best apps.”

If you aren’t well versed with the new packaging format, Snaps are very much the package management system for the future of Ubuntu desktop and that is seemingly plausible for other platforms like Fedora, Arch, Gentoo and even those outside Linux like Microsoft Windows and potentially Android; this, of course, does come with a few caveats which might now necessarily equate to an issue for a standard end user.

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Basically, the initial packaging can be somewhat larger than usual as developers will have to include all the libraries (that an application depends on to run) in the Snap package itself.

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Secondly, the apps can only be updated via a single channel which is the Ubuntu Store. While this is mostly an advantage, (as the store becomes a centralized point for Snap packages) it is mostly in the favor of Canonical.

The vision of Shuttleworth was, however, to further reduce the fragmentation of Linux as this presents a great opportunity for a more unified industry where a single package management is all you need to get just about any applicaiton running on just about any Linux system irrespective of the distribution.

Quite a few ISVs and hardware giants including DELL and HP, will be hoping on the Snap-wagon to support the growth of the Snap package system to further enhance the adoption of other Linux distributions that aren’t quite as popular as Ubuntu – as Mark’s statement clarify;

“Most vendors target Ubuntu because of its popularity. […] Snaps bring those apps to every Linux desktop, server, device or cloud machine, giving users freedom to choose any Linux distribution while retaining access to the best apps”.

Snaps packages are downright easy to create and there are quite a few major softwares that have already adopted the package management with a lot more others like Mozilla Firefox  in tow.

Currently, Krita which is a popular image manipulation tool is now available in a Snap package via the Ubuntu software center and LibreOffice 5.0.2 which is now available as a Snap.

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I couldn’t possibly say enough about Snaps on here but you can always learn more from the official Snapcraft page.

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About the author

Jesse Afolabi

Jesse is that tech enthusiast you never heard of...he's mainly into things relating to Linux and Android and has an unending passion for both platforms which is why he writes about them.

  • Pankaj Kumar

    “developers will have to include all the libraries (that an application depends on to run) in the Snap package itself.”
    Why turning Linux into Mac?!

    • Jesse Afolabi

      Really bugs me too, nonetheless, it’s by all means an exciting news and I love the idea of snaps as it isolates the application completely from the system thereby increasing security, stability and reliability…. In a nutshell, the pros outweigh the cons..

    • xor007

      to make it as dependable for those who cannot afford to discover differences in environment. btw I have not run anything but linux in many years.

  • Luya Tshimbalanga

    *Ahem* Flatpak aka xdg-app.

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  • Buhraz Bolgo

    here is the big question: how do you get the snap package manager installed … on say something like a centos 7 or a mageia 5 ?

    • Jesse Afolabi

      sorry for the extremely late reply…but we’ll have a seperate article entirely for that on all the systems.. just hang in there 🙂

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  • nigra truo

    Well, a bold statement that it will replace all other installers on all linux systems, especially since the largest of them, CentOS and Debian have one that works really well for decades. Do you have an additional source that RedHat and Debian will mothball their RPM and DPKG and move to snap?

    • Snaps coexist with other packaging systems, I doubt it will replace those however.
      My vision is to have low-level stuff like kernel, startup daemon etc. in ‘local’ packaging systems like DPKG and RPM which would be stable and rarely updated, and whole userland in snaps – those could be simply updated anytime dev publishes new release, without performance and reliability drawbacks.

  • It’s neater this way.