Ubuntu doesn't offer paid-for software in the Software Center in 16.04.

Will the Snap Store become the way to distribute proprietary paid for software on Ubuntu?


Snap packages are perfect for projects with complex dependencies or longer development cycles that don't sync with distros easily. This often intersects with the needs of proprietary software but it won't be suitable for all of them. At the moment the only snap packages i've seen are for very open source projects but i suspect the proprietary will come soon enough once there teams have got the hang of it. On modern systems with lots of storage its not so bad to use non shared libraries, especially it it makes installation simpler.

There are two packages in the 16.04 ubuntu repository that are referred to here that are nothing to do with ubuntu snap.

snap - SNAP is a general purpose gene finding program

snappy - snappy is a media player

if you want to use ubuntu snaps install

snapcraft - tools for making snaps

snapd - tools for using snaps

At the time of writing you will need to purge the snap package before installing snapd otherwise it will conflict, this might get fixed but for now it will prevent the install of the snapd package.

Snaps are really easy to use but there aren't that many available yet

snap login your@ubuntu.one.email       # login to the snap system
snap list                              # list available snap packages
snap install <package>                 # install a snap package
  • snap find without a search term does not “list available snap packages”, it lists featured ones.
    – Chipaca
    May 12 '17 at 7:12
  • at the time of writing they were analogous because there were so few snaps , whats the new command @Chipaca
    – Amias
    May 12 '17 at 10:09
  • ah its list , will update
    – Amias
    May 12 '17 at 10:10

Yes. Packages in the snap format are not part of the standard archive, and come from the Ubuntu app store for devices (both click and snap packages are hosted in the same store). This store is not curated by the community, and anyone may package their software in the snap format and distribute it via the store.

There are already several proprietary packages in the store.

  • Can you give a link to the store?
    – Janghou
    Apr 26 '16 at 11:19
  • There isn't a web store, so no. There is the developer portal where you can upload apps, but that will not help you find other apps. You can use snappy list in 16.04 to list available packages to install.
    – dobey
    Apr 26 '16 at 11:29
  • snappy list crashes Clutter-CRITICAL **: The Clutter backend is not a X11 backend**
    – Janghou
    Apr 28 '16 at 10:53

I expect creating custom app is absolutely possible. Even more, creating a store utilizing the custom repositories and snaps stored outside the Ubuntu servers seems absolutely possible to me.

If I am not wrong, the dpkg operates just on .deb files, without possibility to manage the repositories, PPA-s etc. That's what apt is for. What if someone created the tool which would something like apt for the snap command?

Open store

The snap command allows you to install any .snap file - not only those downloaded from the official store. Let's imagine an open app store, which handles packages in this way:

  • The program configuration stores the list of websites, which provide the snap packages and their metadata. Let's call them just Snap PPA's, because they would serve exactly the same purpose.

  • The program allows to add/remove the repositories with commands such as add-repository URL.

  • On install command the program checks if the requested snap is available on any of the PPA's, then download it to the cache and call 'sudo snap install the-package.snap'.

  • The program checks for updates automatically, downloads and updates the snaps.

The only thing that might not be doable so far are delta updates (I have never tried to find out how they are handled in the official tool), but this issue might be addressed in future if needed.

Commercial stores

If a company would not like to handle their snaps to Canonical and rely on their infrastructure, they can create their own repository in the same way. I imagine that Steam could take this approch someday - just have the proprietary snap package downloader built in the Linux Steam client. When you buy and install the game on your device, the Steam client downloads the snap and calls 'sudo snap install' to mount it.

  • snapd is not like dpkg without apt, it's a single thing with a specific architecture. You can point snapd at a different store (typically a proxy for the real store, or a company-specific proxy for a real store where the company can set additional policy) but you cannot write the "apt" for snapd. May 28 '18 at 7:31

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