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The new Ubuntu Software Store, on 20.04 (Snap Store), is too slow to download and install packages. Was, at least, 30 minutes to download and install VLC player. Is there any way to fix it? Thanks.

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    Snaps are rather new. The old installation method is sudo apt install vlc. You can research the differences between old and new methods. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Apr 25 at 17:43
  • To clarify, using snap install vlc through CLI - is that faster? How does apt install vlc compare? Asking for a friend. – DankyNanky May 19 at 11:19
  • I just used Ubuntu 20.04 (Snap) Store to install some basic applications that day.. After that, I've back to use apt-install. – Pedro Nandi Jun 24 at 23:43
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The new Software Store offers the "good old" apt-managed applications and the new snap format. What you want is probably use the apt-packaged-versions of applications, which is possible.

Snaps are canonicals way to provide sandboxed applications. This has some positive and some negative implications. You can detect whether you are looking at a snap packaged app by the following indicators:

  • there is a channel given in the details section which may be changed by a dropdown-menu at the top left in the windows header.
  • currently (this will likely change) only snaps seem to have icons. Also if you search for an application, note that snaps seem to be listed first, and after that come the apt packages.
  • it is indirectly visible in the "source" because its a different format.

If you search for VLC and want the good old VLC the way you installed it until now, scroll to the bottom of the search and you will find it. It is the same as sudo apt install application in the terminal.

You will wonder about what the difference is. So here I try to give a short list:

  • Snaps take more time on their first startup. It's getting a lot faster next time, but is still not perfect.
  • Snaps have permissions you can give or deny within the software store, similar to smartphones.
  • Snaps usually are way larger. So in case you have a device with not so much space, consider not always using snaps. But you can mix them! The reason for the size is that snaps are often packaged together with their depencencies and therefor can not as easy share dependencies with other applications. Actually, sometimes this is very useful! Because sometimes some dependencies can not be installed the same time on a machine, which can cause conflicts with different applications. As far as I know canonical has plans to improve the snap system to make this less problematic.
  • Snaps are easy to update, allow you to install newer versions on Ubuntu and even try beta releases and similar things. If you update an application, it will store the last version in case you want to go back.

Summary

  • If you have a device where disk space is rather rare, avoid snaps.
  • If you want an application where it is important to always get the newest version, consider snaps when an alternative is to add an ppa. Very useful if you stay on Ubuntus LTS versions.
  • If you do not fully trust an application but need to install it for whatever reason not in a VM or something, consider a snap to at least limit what it may do on your system, if there is no other way.

To me, the software store does not feel finished. Categories load apps relatively slow on first sights, and no images for apt packages is weird. They are trying to push their snap format heavily and that is okay, but the usability of the store is unfortunately very low, which is probably the reason for your confusion.

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