What excites you most about Snaps?

Wondering what different kinds of things excite people about Snaps. I am most excited about multi platform support such as being able to access snaps on Windows. It seems really interesting to be able to test something like that.

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I’m most excited about automatic and silent (but revertable (with snap revert) and checkable (with snap changes)) proper (i.e. updated by upstream and up-to-date on every distro with little dependency breakage) updates on any Linux distribution for any application that is snapped. It’s going to be flippin awesome (it already is flippin awesome).

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As an end user, I am mostly exited by how many developers seem to be jumping on the Snap bandwagon (Slack, Spotify, Telegram, …), which is a very good sign, and hopefully the first step toward more developers creating and developing for Linux in general.

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For me the most awesome part are the automatic updates - that could be the key to a wider audience.
Old Debs in the Software Center just do not cut it. And adding ppa’s is something you can not demand from the average crowd. For “us” it is a simple ctrl+c → alt+tab → ctrl+alt+t → ctrl+shift+v but “my dad” does not want to do stuff like that :slight_smile:

I want to add Intellij to the big players @TonyS created :wink: That is one of the best snaps (for me)

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Also ‘your dad’ will not like it when there’s dependency problems caused by the PPA that break various stuff on his system

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They’re not really jumping on the bandwagon as having had the wagon pulled to them and left at their feet.

It remains to be seen if these companies/services, having been more or less sold on, guided through and handed their Snap builds by Canonical employees, will continue to maintain them going forward.

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Interesting bandwagon metaphor. Lets talk about bandwagons. Specifically debs and ppas.

Ubuntu is easily the most used full-fat desktop operating system after Windows and macOS. We have millions of users who love to consume the latest shiny software, while keeping whatever old packages they’re used to. We’ve been around for long enough that debs and ppas are well entrenched technologies for our users.

When users are discussing where to get the latest shiny it’s pretty common for the phrases “it’s in apt”, “they have a ppa” or “they have a deb” to be said in the support forums, comments fields and IRC channels of our community and beyond. These methods for acquiring software have become the defacto standard for Ubuntu (and popular derivatives like Mint) such that anything seeking to improve upon that has quite the hill to climb.

We (Canonical) are a ‘victim of our own success’ in some ways. Other distributions don’t have the “problem” of having basically all software vendors supporting their software packaging system like we do. Users of other distributions might be lucky in some cases where the software vendor chooses to add an rpm or tarball to their download page, but that’s not always the case. There are plenty of hackers who will rip apart debs and make arch packages or whatever, but frankly that’s no good for the woman on the Clapham Omnibus.

More recently we’ve been recommending new & existing software developers try snaps as an alternative (read: better) way to distribute their software. Some devs we speak to will respond with “I already make a deb, no thanks” while at the other end of the scale there are developers who will very much in the “Where has this been all my life!?” camp, and a myriad of responses in between. We spend time to understand their software distribution issues and explain the benefits of snap (of which there are plenty) over debs/ppas.

This is very much a normal activity of a developer advocate ‘selling’ their technology to developers. Anyone working on something sufficiently new and magical which is trying to improve upon the incumbent technologies will want to do this. Putting a website up and hoping people find it is a very 1990’s way of letting people know you exist. We have to get out there and understand the issues developers have, and help shape our software to their needs. Evolve or die.

If there are deficiencies in snaps/snapcraft/store we try to understand it, and feed that back to the developers. We (myself, @evan & @Wimpress) spend a ton of time working both with external developers and our internal teams to get project goals aligned with what devs actually need and want. It takes time and effort, and we’re not there yet (it’s a journey) but we’re in a way better position now than we were 2 years ago.

I check the number of snaps in the store regularly (every day in fact) and the graph is up and to the right. Some of those are the result of conversations we’ve had, but a fair number aren’t. Many of these developers are trying out the technology for the first time while others are uploading their 5th or 10th application, it really varies.

Will they continue to update their snaps? If I’ve got anything to do with it, sure! We monitor these things and reach out to developers to fix whatever is causing them not to update. We do whatever we can to capture the issues and get them fixed, whether that’s in snapd, snapcraft, their CI system (travis/circleci), our store infrastructure or documentation.

So yeah, I’m totally all about dragging a wagon around and putting it in front of developers so they might join us on the journey. Some can’t, won’t or won’t yet, and that’s fine. But they need to at least see the wagon before they can make that call.

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It’s reassuring to hear that.

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Hi Alan :slight_smile: ,

I check the number of snaps in the store regularly (every day in fact) and the graph is up and to the right.

Oh yes, I remember you used to have one to record the number of Ubuntu Touch apps added to the store. It provided a good insight into the developer interest and health of the community. I would love to see a similar one on your servers for the adoption of snaps (if you are okay with having it public).

But yes, as a service provider, it is perfectly normal to do the heavy lifting initially and do what is necessary to attract big names to the snap ecosystem. Skype, Spotify are examples that will definitely raise a curiosity in other indie developers.

To answer to the original question of this thread, the thing that excited me most is the availability of the latest version of leaf apps that I would not want to upgrade my system to get and how seamless the update process is. I am using Pycharm Community Edition for work, and am glad to be on the latest version (2 updates since I installed) without lifting a finger.

What I am excited for in the future is snap+wayland and the prospect of asking for permission when accessing a particular resource like what Ubuntu Touch had.

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Apologies for going off-topic but this is the second time I’ve seen the phrase “leaf apps” used. I’m not entirely sure what leaf apps are. Googling the phrase doesn’t help.

We never had really good stats for click packages in the store, so I wrote an awful script which derived that kind of thing by brute force and ignorance alone :slight_smile:

I’m not gonna re-implement that because a) it was pretty awful to download everything every day to count how many apps there are and b) someone much cleverer than me has already implemented stats. I think the goal is to find out from devs what they want to see (downloads per day, version numbers in the field etc) and expose that per application. I don’t know what plans there are to make wider stats available about how many snaps are in the store.

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It was new to me too when we started making snaps. Basically anything which is an application which sits on top of all the other fundamentals. So spotify is a leaf app, but libgvfs isn’t. Slack is, but libwebkit isn’t. The line can be a bit blurry.

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What I’m excited about snaps?

  • Silent updates;
  • revert to previous versions (I’m not sure how many version but I have tried at least 2 previous versions with VLC);
  • instant upgrade if you revert and then snap refresh;
  • Many distros are adopting;
  • just one click to install and forget about controlling updates.

There are a few drawbacks also:

  • Mouse cursor icon on some apps look old;
  • Themes on some applications look old, mostly when browsing for a file search or save;
  • Delta updates (for me it seems to be downloading the whole packages);
  • Not resuming after download fails.
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What excites me most about Snaps?

Of the many benefits that snaps bring, I’m most excited that I’ll be able to install newly released software without worrying whether my distro has all the needed dependencies.

Although I think that snaps are great, many potential users are put off by a seemingly trivial issue identified in Bug #1575053 (“Please move snap user data from ‘$HOME/snap’ to ‘$HOME/.snap’”).

From a developer’s point of view, the issue identified in Bug #1575053 may seem trivial compared to the much more import issues that the developers are fixing. And I’m surprised that term “bike-shedding” hasn’t been mentioned by others in reply to the bug report. But as you can see from the “heat” of this report, having a visible “snap” directory (with a lower case “s”) being forcibly placed in the home directory is disturbing to many.

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Why can’t we just tell the snap command to set a default directory? It seems like that would solve the issue pretty well and there could even be a command to tell snap to print it’s working directory.

What doesn’t excite me about snaps is that you need another app to use snaps. The idea is to have self-contained app, which would work in any other distros, other than Ubuntu. But, snaps won’t work without the snapd. While, snap looks like a self-contained app, it cannot execute without the snapd “service.”

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