Hey there, sorry but that post happened during the weekend and I’ve only been catching up with it now, Í’m going to reply as a Ubuntu Desktop Team member on what we are doing and why, hopefully removing some your worries.
I don’t think such statements are helping the conversation, at the contrary they are creating fud against opensource projects, hurting the reputation of new technologies that have potential and damaging free software on the long run.
I know it can feel that the developers are dismissing the problems when they ask you to report specifics but that’s not the case, we just need to understand the problems properly to be able to work on them.
SNAP technology is ready for simple users. Try enabling livepatch on Bionic LTS and I bet it will “just work” for you. It’s a simple system component which bring better security, gets auto-updated, doesn’t get in your way, isn’t big or slow.
You could word your messages differently and say
- some of desktop snaps are slow, for example gnome-calculator
- desktop snaps still have some integration issues (e.g theming)
- the isolation which comes with snaps (and other technologies like flatpak) can create problems for components that need to interact with files or other system components
Those statement are all true, desktop components are more challenging to get working correctly and we still have work to do.
You can probably also add
- the packaging of some the snaps is buggy
But to be fair that’s also true of some of the debs and not a problem with “snaps”, just that those packages are newer so went through less testing/fixing/stabilization.
Be re-assured, we know about those problems and we are working hard on resolving them.
We don’t plan to onboard on migrating stacks of debs to snaps and removing the debs (at least not until we feel confident snaps are ready for that, which we agree is not the case yet)
Now as mentioned in the previous comments, chromium is a complex project and difficult to maintain. It’s also a webbrowser so security sensitive, which means it’s a component we need to keep updating on all supported Ubuntu series.
It’s not even our default browser in Ubuntu, but yet to keep up with security updates on all series (which often ends up requiring things like backporting of new toolchains) it costs us almost half time of a paid engineer, which is a pretty expensive in resources for a small team like ours.
Now it’s easy to state that $company should be paying to keep investing lot of money to maintain a product you get for free but that’s neither fair nor work out (the company is going to get bankrupt and you will get even less in return).
So yes, we need to reduce the maintenance cost for chromium. We could simply delete it from the archive and tell users to get it from a ppa or Debian and make clear we are not the ones supporting the maintenance cost. That would be letting our users down though and we believe that’s not right. We do believe though that the snap solution will allow us to keep providing it our users with high quality for a lower cost and is the right thing to do.
We don’t plan to delete gnome-calculator or other debs at this point since those don’t have that maintenance cost problem.
Yes, agreed that the gnome-calculator start time is a bit embarassing and that we need to get it resolved, it’s on our list
What do you mean “heavier”?
Taking the chromium example, as state on the other topic, the snap is smaller than the deb!
Yes, gnome-calculator has a start time issue but GNOME snaps have specific constraints that don’t translate to e.g chromium, vlc, libreoffice. Please back up such statement with fact so we can work on the issues (when they exist), otherwise it’s fud and just damaging for Ubuntu/our communities/free software.
The calculator one has been done in 17.10 so it’s nothing new. It’s about time we deal with the startup issue though you are right.
Chromium we need to migrate for the reasons explained before, and we do believe we can get it working well enough that most users should be just fine with it.
We don’t plan to migrate other desktop components at this point.