7

Today I removed snapd, which also removed gnome-software-plugins-snap by default. What I didn't notice is that Gnome System Monitor also was removed afterwards. On further inspection there seem to be a host of other applications that are snaps by default:

 Desktop snaps
 * snap:gnome-3-26-1604
 * snap:gnome-calculator
 * snap:gnome-characters
 * snap:gnome-logs
 * snap:gnome-system-monitor
 * snap:gtk-common-themes

Ref: https://bazaar.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-core-dev/ubuntu-seeds/ubuntu.bionic/view/head:/desktop

These are also common/core Gnome apps, so I honestly don't understand or like the fact that these are installed as Snaps.

I've noticed that the Gnome System Monitor wasn't respecting my theme selection and was also slow to launch.

To quote a user on Reddit:

I really do not see the point in using a snap, if the same program/version is the normal repository. unless it is some of theme or support snap that other snaps use. I think that is the workaround for snaps not following themes.

i find it weird that gnome-system-monitor is a snap. https://github.com/paradoxxxzero/gnome-shell-system-monitor-applet/issues/452

but it seems to be.

some info on it.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Ubuntu/comments/8krkam/system_monitor_on_1804_is_a_snap_by_default/

Ref: https://www.reddit.com/r/Ubuntu/comments/8ls0m1/ubuntu_without_snapd/dzipp9c

Is it just me who feels this hasn't been communicated clearly to the users or are the average users now expected to check developer blogs and launchpad for changes?

10

Is it just me who feels this hasn't been communicated clearly to the users or are the average users now expected to check developer blogs and launchpad for changes?

This was discussed online a lot over the last 5 months or so. Many news outlets covered it, including Phoronix and OMGUbuntu. We don't expect everyone to keep up with all the technical details of how Ubuntu is built. This is why we publish Release Notes which says

"Some utilities have been switched to the snap format for new installs (Calculator, Characters, Logs, and System Monitor). Snap apps provide better isolation which allows them to be upgraded to new stable releases during the LTS lifecycle. "

In addition, for many, the switch from deb to snap is largely irrelevant technical detail. It would be (for many) like the switch from Upstart to SystemD. A technical thing that matters to people who care, but the vast majority it doesn't matter.

I also commented on the further point of why things are delivered as snaps on the linked reddit thread, but am reproducing here in case the comment disappears.

When the LTS has just come out and most of the apps in the archive are at similar release numbers to those in the snap store, sure, it may be perplexing.

However, take into considering those people who are still running 14.04, a 4 year old release. When 14.04 came out everything in the archive was new and fresh. Cut forward 4 years and now a lot of that software is old. The same will be true for 18.04 users in the year 2022.

While it's true some people will upgrade to the next LTS, and many people did upgrade to 16.04. Not everyone does. We have a significant chunk of users who stick on older LTS releases. What we're doing with snaps is planting a seed for a tree that will grow in a year or so. Making sure that people who install the LTS can know they will get updates to software long into the future, and not be 'forced' to upgrade to the next LTS or interim release just to get the latest video player, utility or productivity application.

With 18.04, this was the first release where we pre-installed some snaps. This was partly to test the process, likely more apps will switch to being snaps in the future.

Now, all that said, snaps aren't perfect. Sometimes they can be slow to start, and the theming isn't right in all cases. We're working to fix these issues. I would strongly recommend if you have specific actionable feedback for the snap team, you take it to the forum where the developers hang out. https://forum.snapcraft.io/. The developers don't sit on Reddit all day (I do though ;) ) and need to hear these issues from users. We appreciate the feedback.

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    Thank you very much for your detailed response, I will definitely look closer at Snaps in the future. I admit that I could have done further research. I understand that Canonical want Snaps to be adopted, but I don't feel it's ready to use for preinstalled core OS apps. Maybe in the future when Snaps have matured, I will change my mind, but for now I prefer to use the default repositories for main Gnome apps such as these. Is there any problem if i remove the snaps for the installed packages and install them via apt? Will I break Ubuntu or the config for say Gnome Logs ? – Nader Nooryani May 25 '18 at 12:05
  • "Sometimes they can be slow to start" - what do you mean "can be slow", by the definition of snaps, each app has it's own version of libraries, so when compared to deb-based installation it will be naturally slower, more clunky, and memory hungry, there's no technical magic trick to avoid that. It may be "slower only by small margin, i.e. not perceivable by common user", but it will be never on par with system which mandates only single version of particular library for all running apps (except when all snaps use the same libraries, and some trickery to share them across=emulating deb). – Ped7g Jan 2 at 20:06
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    BTW, I ended here, because friend of mine installed Ubuntu 18.10, and was running into weird problems I couldn't help him with (I'm KDE neon, not using snaps at all), and all the problems did sounds trivial and "should work" (like assigning pdf viewer for evince or skype using camera), until he finally figured out he has snap versions installed... The irony is, that he avoided linux for ~15 years to not have precisely this kind of "unfinished should-work" issues, and the first thing he hit after giving linux another chance was this (after hearing from other(&me), how well it nowadays works).:/ – Ped7g Jan 2 at 20:12

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