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I've gathered that a lot of people in the nix space seem to dislike snaps but otherwise like Flatpaks, what seems to be the difference here?

Are Snaps just a lot slower than flatpaks or something? They're both a bit bloaty as far as I know but makes Canonicals attempt worse?

Personally I think for home users or niche there should be a snap less variant of this distribution with all the bells and whistles.

Sure it might be pointless, but you could argue that for dozens of other distros that take Debian, Fedora or Arch stuff and make it as their own variant, I.e MX Linux or Manjaro.

What are your thoughts?

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[–] [email protected] 74 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

The server is proprietary and last I checked you can't even turn off auto-updating or verify the binaries they push to you.

In the Ubuntu 20.04 package base, the Chromium package is indeed empty and acting, without your consent, as a backdoor by connecting your computer to the Ubuntu Store. Applications in this store cannot be patched, or pinned. You can't audit them, hold them, modify them, or even point Snap to a different store. You've as much empowerment with this as if you were using proprietary software, i.e. none. This is in effect similar to a commercial proprietary solution, but with two major differences: It runs as root, and it installs itself without asking you.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 3 months ago (3 children)

This is why I don't love snaps, proprietary backend. I think snaps actually work great for the most part, and flatpaks don't support cli apps, only GUI.

[–] [email protected] 25 points 3 months ago (1 children)

I don't know why people keep saying that flatpaks don't support cli apps. They do. I know it's awkward to type out flatpak run io.github.zyedidia.micro or whatever every time you want to use a text editor, but aliases fix that pretty neatly, and that example wasn't hypothetical.

[–] [email protected] 13 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

You don't even need to create aliases yourself. Flatpak creates wrapper scripts for every app that you install. Just symlink them into your PATH.

ln -s /var/lib/flatpak/exports/bin/org.example.CliTool ~/.local/bin/cli-tool

or if you are using a user remote

ln -s ~/.local/share/flatpak/exports/bin/org.example.CliTool ~/.local/bin/cli-tool

(Note: some lemmy clients render the the tilde in code blocks incorrectly)

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[–] [email protected] 12 points 3 months ago

What? I've used neovim flatpak without issues in Fedora and openSuse...

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[–] [email protected] 72 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (8 children)
  • proprietary server (snap store), unlike flatpak
  • snapd only allows one server (but it is foss so you could just patch it), unlike flatpak
  • nonexistent security on snap store, multiple times malware, unlike flatpak
  • no sandboxing without apparmor and specific profiles, so not cross platform, unlike flatpak
  • the system apps are also requiring apparmor, so not cross platform
  • they lack granular permission systems afaik
  • they concur with flatpak, which is horrible as we need a universal packaging format, not 3
  • seemingly no reproducible builds?
  • no separation between all, opensource, verified repo, unlike flatpak
  • they pollute the mount list with all the loop devices

And people complain abour resource usage etc, but that is just separating apps from the system. Flatpak does the same.

[–] hperrin 22 points 3 months ago

You forgot also snaps pollute both the mount list and the path. Whether you like or dislike the second is up to opinion, but nobody likes the first.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 3 months ago (2 children)

also how slow they are to launch

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[–] [email protected] 34 points 3 months ago (2 children)

Research what happened to Upstart, Mir or Unity. It won't take long until snap becomes one of them. Somebody at canonical seems to desperately obsess over having something unique, either as a way to justify canonicals existance or even in the hopes of making the next big thing. Over all these years they never learned that whatever they do exclusively will always fall short of any other joint efforts in the linux world, because they always lack the technical advances, ability/will to push it for a prolonged time and/or the non-proprietary-ness. So instead of collaborating like every serious linux vendor, they're polluting their distro with half-assed, ever changing and unwanted experiments. They're even hijacking apt commands to push their stupid snap stuff against the users intent. With the shengians they're pulling Ubuntu cannot be relied on, and with that they're sabotaging their own success and drive away any commercial customers that generate revenue.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 3 months ago

Lets hope so

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[–] [email protected] 33 points 3 months ago (1 children)

Well, things like the fact that snap is supposed to be a distro-agnostic packaging method despite being only truly supported on Ubuntu is annoying. The fact that its locked to the Canonical store is annoying. The fact that it requires a system daemon to function is annoying.

My main gripes with it stem from my job though, since at the university where I work snap has been an absolute travesty;
It overflows the mount table on multi-user systems.
It slows down startup a ridiculous amount even if barely any snaps are installed.
It can't run user applications if your home drive is mounted over NFS with safe mount options.
It has no way to disable automatic updates during change critical times - like exams.

There's plenty more issues we've had with it, but those are the main ones that keep causing us issues.
Notably Flatpak doesn't have any of the listed issues, and it also supports both shared installations as well as internal repos, where we can put licensed or bulky software for courses - something which snap can't support due to the centralized store design.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 3 months ago (1 children)

Flatpak also isn't built on custom designs. It actually is portable and can even run on bare systems as long as there is glibc

[–] [email protected] 4 points 3 months ago

When I last checked (and that is a long time ago!) it ran everywhere, but did only sandbox the application on ubuntu -- while the website claimed cross distribution and secure.

That burned all the trust I had into snaps, I have not looked at them again. Flatpaks work great for me, there is no need to switch to a wannabe walled garden which may or may not work as advertised.

[–] [email protected] 32 points 3 months ago

I hate snap, because their store is proprietary and i think forcing something with a proprietary store on you is microsoft level shit which is why i left in the first place.

Also i dont like being "forced", theyre doing that a little with the apt install sometimes going to snap install

[–] [email protected] 32 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

Imma be honest. I never used Snap. I had left ubuntu long before they started rolling it out.

That said, hearing they redirect apt calls to snap instead feels -- A bit too microsofty for my tastes

Like, when you use a flatpak (or even a snap!) in a non-ubuntu distro, you're not forced to use it. And if the same package exists on both the repo and on flatpak/snap, you CAN choose to get it from any of the three sources. Forcing people into snap is weird and scummy.

I have heard that snap is slower than flatpak, but also that it can do some stuff flatpak cannot, but again, didn't test enough to know it.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

That said, hearing they redirect apt calls to snap instead feels – A bit too microsofty for my tastes

I also haven't been with an Ubuntu based distro for awhile, but I've got a lot of affection for Canonical generally. I even accepted the idea of the amazon-in the-dash-thing (which had a lot of folks sharpening pitchforks some years back) as being kind of an honest mistake - so excited that they could that they didn't consider if they should, sort of.

But yeah, that's exactly what it feels like with snaps, and for that specific reason.

[–] [email protected] 28 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

Personally I think for home users or niche there should be a snap less variant of this distribution with all the bells and whistles.

There is : Linux Mint

[–] EveningNewbs 14 points 3 months ago

Pop OS too.

[–] [email protected] 24 points 3 months ago

For me it is partially the way canonical pushes snaps and forces it on to users. More so they are slow and the proprietary back end is a huge downside. Some snaps are know broken and cause more harm then good like the steam snap for example. Steam actively discourages users from even using it.

[–] [email protected] 24 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

In addition to what's already been said, Canonical have a history of starting grandiose projects and then abandoning them a few years later. See Mir, Unity, and Ubuntu Touch for examples.

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[–] Jestzer 21 points 3 months ago (1 children)

I would hate snaps a lot less if Ubuntu just stopped trying to force me to use them.

[–] [email protected] 6 points 3 months ago

If it was a cool optional thing they were experimenting with it might be different. The problem is that it was forced onto the desktop

[–] [email protected] 20 points 3 months ago

I think most people hate Snaps because Ubuntu is replacing .deb packages with snaps with no user prompt and that is a cardinal sin in Linux against the freedom and power of the user. Being "bloated" can't help either when package maintainers do all what they can to ship programs light and simple. So it goes against at least two Linux principles.

[–] [email protected] 17 points 3 months ago (4 children)

Calling it hate is an exaggeration , people are entitled to their opinion and informing other people by criticizing snap.

Another advantage not mentioned is that snap is a product of canonical (a for profit company talking about an IPO for years), flathub is managed by the gnome foundation (a US registered non profit, which should provide some legal protection).

[–] [email protected] 8 points 3 months ago (1 children)

I think hate is the right word. Snap sucks for a long list of reasons, a few years ago it was pushed down everyone's throats whilst still being broken (it would even break OS upgrades due to being broken, even if you didn't even use it, fun times) and then canonical started redirecting apt to snap... Yeah, hate is the right word, same with systemd

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[–] Wispy2891 17 points 3 months ago (2 children)

I especially hate how it ruins the df -h command. Install a dozen snaps and it becomes unreadable

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 3 months ago (5 children)

Snaps are proprietary, flatpacks are not, is the long and short of it

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[–] [email protected] 14 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (1 children)

When I install this snap am I getting a kernel driver, a native raw binary, or a containerized user application that conforms to a communication interface? Who knows! They're all mostly undifferentiated in the store.

What about a third party store? Only if you fork the snap daemon and change the hard coded URL. And good luck with that mandatory Canonical contributer agreement you have to sign.

Want to pick when your apps update? Nope. That's the official stance. They will never support that. But here's a way to manually block network access to the daemon if you really really need to. But then everything will update at once when you give it access again.

Want a specific version of a snap? See above. Explicitly will never be an option.

"I guess there's a fee to pay to get access to quality apps." Incorrect. There is no real vetting process for what's added to the store, there's barely even minimal checking that you're not overwriting someone else's snap. You do have to sign the Canonical contributor agreement, and setup an identity to submit as, but even if your snap is proven to be malware there a good chance it will stay in the store, or can be immediately re-uploaded.

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[–] Thcdenton 11 points 3 months ago (1 children)

Its been a while but the last time I was running ubuntu I ran into an infuriating issue related to snaps. To be fair I can't remember the exact details and it was related to some web dev stuff. All I remember is that I quit Ubuntu for a while fighting with snaps for a day or two.

[–] [email protected] 12 points 3 months ago (1 children)

I got so mad at Ubuntu when it kept installing snaps instead of native packages. It pushed me over the edge when I learned that a bunch of CLI software was snap only.

[–] [email protected] 11 points 3 months ago

My breaking point was when the dotnet CLI installed as a snap, which of course isolated its environment, which made it unable to interoperate correctly with the projects I was trying to build.


[–] bigmclargehuge 11 points 3 months ago

I'm personally not a fan of any universal packaging solution. I've tried flatpaks, appimages, and snaps, and ran into weird, annoying issued that I just never have when I install via package manager, build from source or even just run a portable build of an app.

I see the appeal of a universal package, but imo a bigger emphasis on portable native builds would solve a lot of the issues these packaging solutions are aiming for, while not introducing many of the downsides

[–] [email protected] 9 points 3 months ago

snapdeez nuts

[–] [email protected] 8 points 3 months ago

they both suck.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

Lost a couple hours of work on the snap version of krita since it couldn't save the file for some reason. Switched away from Ubuntu as a whole after that experience.

[–] Presi300 7 points 3 months ago

The problem with snap isn't that it's useless, it's that it's garbage. Snaps are just plain worse in every way, compared to other packaging formats. They impact boot time A LOT... like A LOT A LOT on a hard drive, use a ton of space, are slow to launch unless you use like tricks or what not to speed up consequent launches after the 1st one, the store backend is proprietary and poorly moderated, the store is slow and unresponsive, and cannonnical is pulling some real micro$oft-esk shit to try and force them on users... Stuff like aliasing apt commands to snap, disallowing ubuntu spins to ship flatpak by default, etc...

The only redeeming quality that snaps have is that you can run CLI/server programs as a snap, and even then, just use docker lmao.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago)

I like snap. On Ubuntu, it does everything Flatpak does and it can also do system components. It's a system that allows to build a complete OS with the benefits of Flatpak. It's a fairly well designed system and it came earlier than Flatpak. It works well for Ubuntu and its developers. There's a lot of misinformation around it and the wider community seems to have jumped on the Flatpak wagon. That means we're unfortunately gonna get mixed classic-base (deb, rpm) with Flatpak apps OSes in the longer term, instead of full Snap OSes. That's a lame compromise but it is what it is. Not the first time the Linux community chooses technically interior tech for ideological reasons. Ultimately we use other people's labor so we get what they decide and that's alright. Classic core plus Flatpak is still way better than the all-classic status quo so I ain't mad.

[–] [email protected] 5 points 3 months ago (1 children)

I use apt because I care about security

[–] [email protected] 11 points 3 months ago* (last edited 3 months ago) (2 children)

Sudo apt install Firefox

Ubuntu then installs the snap version.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 3 months ago (1 children)
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