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So I just installed a fresh new system with Ubuntu 20.04.

After applying all the updates I opened the Ubuntu Software-store to see that I had a whole bunch of software already installed in the form of snap-packages.

Most of them comes from the source: ubuntu-focal-main, GNOME developers etc. However some packages like the "Print Settings" shows up as Source Unknown. What does this mean?

I'm really hesitant to install packages from the Snap store for security reasons (since to my knowledge it's not really controlled and/or checked for malware, bitcoin miners, etc?).

I prefer to use apt-get and to download .deb packages from known sources.

So, I guess my question is: is it safe? Maybe I'm using the wrong distro if I want to stay away from Snap packages, but a clean installation of Ubuntu with default snap packages should be safe, right? Am I overly paranoid about this stuff?

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2 Answers 2

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Ubuntu Software (aka Snap Store) shows both applications installed as snaps and as .deb packages. Most of the default applications you see there after fresh installation are in fact .deb packages. The only ones that are actual snaps are Snap Store itself and a few core runtime libraries (The snap daemon snapd, core of the snap system, is a special case, because it has a part installed as .deb package, but also a snap part). No more snaps are installed by default in a fresh Ubuntu installation.

You can distinguish .deb packages from snaps by the fact that snaps will always have a "channel" (usually latest/stable) mentioned in their details. If there is no channel, then this is a .deb package, not a snap. You can also type a command snap list in the terminal to list installed snaps.

In particular, "Print Settings" is a .deb package system-config-printer from Ubuntu repositories. Snap Store showing "source unknown" may be just a bug in Snap Store, or there may be a bug in package metadata.

If you want to have greater control over what is installed in your system, install Synaptic Package Manager (you can install it from Snap Store, although it is not a snap, but a .deb package). With Synaptic, you can have a detailed view of all .deb packages installed on your system (it works for .deb packages only) and where do they come from, install and remove them. In my opinion, it's a "must have" tool and should be installed by default.

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  • "No more snaps are installed by default in a fresh Ubuntu installation.": Sure? May depend on the Ubuntu version. e.g. tools like "Characters" and "System monitor" were once provided as snap in a default install
    – vanadium
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:20
  • @vanadium We're talking clearly about 20.04 here.
    – raj
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:21
  • Sure no snap is there by default in 20.04?
    – vanadium
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:22
  • @vanadium I'm sure. After I freshly installed 20.04, snap list listed only the following: core, core18, gnome-3-28-xxxx, gnome-3-34-xxxx (the number xxxx changes after some upgrades), gtk-common-themes, snap-store and snapd. Also in /snap directory there was nothing else.
    – raj
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:25
  • @vanadium Both "Characters" and "System monitor" are .deb packages in my system, I just double-checked.
    – raj
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:28
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That's a Very Good Question and the Popular One Too. The Simple answer of this question is NOT because of many reasons. SNAPs are very popular for beginner user in linux community because it allows you to install any kind of software in a very easy and efficient way and that does not mean that they are safe from malware or malicious code. Anyone can make software for Snap and thats the reason of worthless & unofficial softwares floating around on SNAP store. I listed some of the disadvantages below of installing SNAP and SNAP STORE on Your Ubuntu System because Ubuntu is forcing SNAPs to their users where Linux Mint and Many Linux Distros has been completely removed the SNAPs from their systems. SNAPs might be good for new linux users because of easy installation and early new features but it is not the STABLE one which can cause a lot problem like freezing and Many More that a new user are gonna find a solution on ASKUBUNTU in future and That makes Linux Community Supports Stronger.

SNAPs DISADVANTAGES

  1. Snap Package are larger than the Normal APT Packages
  2. Snap Package is Slower because they are actually compressed filesystem images that need to be mounted before they can be executed.
  3. Take More Memory, Disk Usages & CPU
  4. Application Opens Slower Than Normal Packages
  5. Snaps are Insecure because It is maintained by Some Third Party Where APT is maintained by professionals with years of experience and a mindset for security.
  6. Snaps Might be Slow down Your System

Now APT came and Very Common Question rise which is "Is APT is Secure & Better Than SNAPs" and the answer is HELL YES Which is Good and Secure because APT grants complete control to the their users over the update process. However, when a distribution cuts a release, it usually freezes debs and does not update them for the length of the release. APT Security developer check the Software stability and security every time. They Might be late in Giving the early new features to their Users but They're always step up on Stability and Security at the first place.

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  • Ubuntu is not forcing snap. It is easy enough to remove snap and prevent deb packages to install a snap. I Agree with 1, 4 and partly 5, but not with the rest.
    – vanadium
    Aug 30, 2021 at 15:42
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    Well, Give a Try to Install the Chromium Browser on Your Ubuntu System ! Sep 2, 2021 at 4:16

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