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CH Why Snaps are an anti-pattern on Ubuntu

I congratulate the Linux Mint team for clearly taking a stand against snaps today by removing it from their repository, it was something many of us were voicing already since last several months. Snap is being shoved down upon Ubuntu users’ throats by making it the default which isn’t a very sensible thing to do.

  • The backend is proprietary.

    This goes directly against the spirit of what Linux and FOSS stands for. Building proprietary platforms and turning them into walled gardens is exactly what companies like Microsoft and Google are doing, this is exactly why us Linux folks wanted a separate ecosystem in the first place. Snap is highly problematic in this regard.
  • Developer controls the updates.

    Again, this goes directly against the GNU Philosophy. In other words, one may as well use Windows or OSX if they wanted to go this route, why use Linux at all?

    With proprietary software, the program controls the users, and some other entity (the developer or “owner”) controls the program. So the proprietary program gives its developer power over its users. That is unjust in itself; moreover, it tempts the developer to mistreat the users in other ways.

  • APT does a fantastic job as it is.

    apt/deb is a wonderful package management system and everyone is happy with it, at least the majority of Ubuntu/Debian users. Besides, dnf/rpm is also a similar packaging system for Fedora/RH systems and everyone is happy with that too. In the age of Jenkins and automated builds where builds can target multiple formats, I don’t see why its so important to dump two working solutions for package management and invent a new one from scratch.

  • Don’t shove it down our throats, make it optional at least.

    If it were really so important for the distros to provide snaps, the least they could have done is made it optional, why have it by default and mandatory? If I really wanted it, I’d simply “apt install snap” my way into installing it.

    Its not just that. As the article mentions, starting from Ubuntu 20.04, the DEB package for chromium sneakily directs you to the snap package instead of installing it from the apt repository without even the user’s consent or permission. This behavior is no different than what a backdoor does. This, along with other mentioned reasons reeks of glitches and bad intent with respect to snap, hence it should be avoided as much as possible.

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