We have enabled thousands of applications to be added to the Snap Store. Many of those are applications which are not available in the Ubuntu archive, at all. For some of those applications the only way to install them is to download the source, and compile it yourself.
Average users want to install and use software. They don’t care what package format the software comes in.
The only people who care about the packaging system are nerds, like you, and me.
Rather than tell us to throw the baby out with the bathwater, how about you help us?
Thanks for the specific example! Very useful.
We should totally make that faster! You’re right! @kenvandine - what can we do to improve GNOME Calculator snap first-launch performance?
The vast majority of things in Ubuntu are not “voluntary”. The user gets a very limited set of choices during the installer, with most decisions having been made by Ubuntu developers, or upstream developers of software we include.
Did the user choose Pulseaudio over ALSA? No, we did. Did the user choose Firefox as the default browser and Thunderbird as the default Email client? No, we did. This is the point of a Linux distribution. The distribution maintainer takes on board feedback from all interested parties, including developers and users, community members, and OEMs. We than craft an ISO backed by an archive of pre-compiled, pre-configured software which tries to fit everyone’s needs. It would be foolish for us to make rash decisions based on one person’s arguments. We have to take on board all the feedback, and data.
There are technical and usability advantages to snaps over debs, which is why we prefer them. Users typically just want the latest and greatest of whatever software they want. They don’t care how it is packaged.
Look at most Android or IOS users. They have no clue what version of Spotify, Chrome or Slack is installed. They just know they turned on automatic updates and have the latest release. A user on 18.04 - an 18-month-old release, has 18-month-old software in the Ubuntu archive. Users won’t get the latest versions of software in the archive. They’ll go looking elsewhere, like PPAs or the tricky path of building software from source. Neither of which is ideal.
We’re providing a system which allows users to get the latest versions of software on an (up to) five year old distro! That is a compelling argument for many. Just like buying a 5-year-old Android phone and still getting app updates from the Play store. It’s expected these days.
Sure, there may be problems with snaps. It’s software, and software has bugs.
As I’ve said before, most users don’t know or care what packaging system is used. They want the latest, secure and beautiful applications. How the 1’s and 0’s are laid out on disk is an implementation detail.
In the past we’ve made decisions in Ubuntu to select certain technologies like Upstart, Pulseaudio, Unity and others. Often a small number of vocal people tell us this is “the end of Ubuntu” and that we will lose all our users because of these decisions. It’s easy to throw opinions around, but taking time to help make things better takes a lot more professionalism and time.
Perhaps consider being in the camp of people helping make Ubuntu better rather than just tell us to do our work differently. What are you going to do to help?
Here’s where our opinions differ.