With the upcoming Linux Mint 20, the Linux distribution team is switching to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS as a technical basis. However, the Ubuntu derivative Linux Mint will not implement the switch to its own snap package format that the Ubuntu team has finally implemented. The main criticism is the centralized and proprietary implementation of the snap store in Ubuntu. At the request of the ZDNet magazine However, Canonical continues to defend its approach.
The initially fundamental technical problem of the discussion is that Canonical now only delivers the Chromium browsers in Ubuntu as a snap package, but no longer as a classic Deb package. Since Linux Mint takes over most of its packages from Ubuntu, the distribution team would have to either find an alternative or use the snap store. The latter is out of the question for project manager Clement Lefebvre.
No snaps for Linux Mint
The developer wrote on the distribution blog about a year ago that the snap store would be installed undetected. It also simply overwrites the Apt package management. In a recent blog post The project manager even describes the package as “Backdoor”. After all, snap packages in the Canonical store could not simply be patched, checked or changed, which could also be necessary for the Linux Mint team in particular. Even an alternative snap store is not possible. The server code for this is proprietary software from Canonical.
As mentioned, Linux Mint will not use snaps. The package management is configured by default so that the installation of the snap tools is prevented, it says in the blog entry. In addition, the Chromium package will initially remain empty, they will be informed about the situation and provide instructions on how to install the free browser. Of course, it should also be possible to install snaps and the necessary tools yourself.
In a request from ZDNet, Ubuntu sponsor Canonical referred to the better security and easier use associated with snaps. Canonicals Community Manager Alan Pope also explains that thanks to the snaps, it is much easier to maintain applications. The snap packages would only have to be built exactly once per architecture, whereas applications would otherwise be created for many different versions with different compilers. Canonical believes that snaps simplify a lot, especially in very complex applications such as the Chromium browser.
However, the company does not respond to the actual criticism of the Linux Mint team. Rather, Canonical invites you to discuss how this happens with other distributions.