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Goodbye Debs, Hello Snaps
#1
Canonical is about to take a step that many are going to find controversial. They want to stop providing .deb packages for Chromium in Ubuntu and instead make it only available in a Snap package. The transitional package is already in Ubuntu 19.10. Running 'sudo apt install chromium-browser' opens the snap installer and you'll get a snap package installed and not a .deb. The advantage for Canonical here is that they will no longer have to maintain .deb packages for all the supported versions of Ubuntu. Instead, they can have one snap that works on all. Plans are already in place to backport this to older supported Ubuntu versions... That would be OK if snaps didn't still have so many issues with themes and font rendering bugaboos. I avoid snaps because of them. Too much too soon if you ask me.. What do you think?

https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/call-for-...rom…/11179
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#2
I'm a noob here, but I don't get it why would they need different .deb packages for different Ubuntu versions? Is it because of the different version of the dependencies?
If the snaps coming out for the newer versions of Chromium, and will always be packaged with the newest dependencies included in the snap package, then what's the point of an LTS release? If all the software moves towards the snap or flatpak or whatever solution with all the new dependencies packed in, why don't they just make a rolling distro, maybe a slowly rolling one just like Solus?

I'm kinda confused, so that's why my comment is confusing, too Smile

My knowledge about packaging comes from this article, which is basically a very strong stance for the distribution repository maintainers to package their software instead of letting 3rd party developers package their software 'universally', so I'm curious about other opinions.
I am discovering Arch Linux as a total Linux newbie, and try to share my experience. I've managed to produce a working bootable USB and got my main PC up and running!
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#3
(10-04-2019, 06:43 AM)TarsolyGer Wrote: I'm a noob here, but I don't get it why would they need different .deb packages for different Ubuntu versions? Is it because of the different version of the dependencies?

Yes. Since binaries compiled for Linux usually use dynamically linked libraries, the program has to be re-compiled if aynthing larger in any of the linked library changes. A distribution could also choose to change the default settings of an application, but some options might only be viable on newer / older versions.


(10-04-2019, 06:43 AM)TarsolyGer Wrote: If the snaps coming out for the newer versions of Chromium, and will always be packaged with the newest dependencies included in the snap package, then what's the point of an LTS release?

All other software will still be LTS, until Canonical decides to snap them too.

Is this good for an LTS system? Let's just say that Debian would never do this.


(10-04-2019, 06:43 AM)TarsolyGer Wrote: If all the software moves towards the snap or flatpak or whatever solution with all the new dependencies packed in, [...]

I think their plan is to only ship applications via snap. System packages will most likely stay .deb packages. Otherwise the needed disk space would be huge, as every snap / flatpack brings its own libraries.


(10-04-2019, 06:43 AM)TarsolyGer Wrote: [...] which is basically a very strong stance for the distribution repository maintainers to package their software instead of letting 3rd party developers package their software 'universally' [...]

I agree with this.

The only people who truely benefit from universal package management are users and distributors of proprietary applications.

Despite, snaps and flatpack are not even the best way to package an application universaly: AppImage works way better.
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#4
(10-04-2019, 10:43 AM)leon.p Wrote: I think their plan is to only ship applications via snap. System packages will most likely stay .deb packages. Otherwise the needed disk space would be huge, as every snap / flatpack brings its own libraries.

Thanks for the answers!

But in the end, a lot of packages are installed on a system because they are the dependencies of some application the user wants to install, so I would think that those binaries would become redundant, and the more apps you have, the more redundant they get. I guess if they keep the base system with the DE as regular packages, and bring all the apps as snaps, they will still have a lot of the dependencies packaged in multiple snaps still, even those that are there due to the DE, because they want one package for all their LTSs. At this point why not rollllll? Big Grin
I am discovering Arch Linux as a total Linux newbie, and try to share my experience. I've managed to produce a working bootable USB and got my main PC up and running!
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#5
I am afraid Canonical is putting the cart before the horse. Wouldn't it be better to solve the issues (i mean 100% is not possible, but the biggest one) and after taking the next spet of what is obviously their plan: making it the default install in ubuntu.

Now what do i thing about this plan? i am not sure how i feel about it. This dependencies problem, can it not be solved by some system working as a package manager? checking if the dependency is already there?

@TarsolyGer,

You not wrong, but if you look with the right angle, a new release every 6 month, is kind of a real slow rolling release in a way. I know, not really but you can use it as one if you really want to.
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#6
I think going to lots of snaps is just importing a problem from windows, namely using a lot more space on the drive for no reason it could easily double or even triple the system/program space needed.(back to bloatware)
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