Goodbye to other packages (rpm & deb), Say Hello to Snaps

We have already discussed about Snap Command Examples brand new package manager for Ubuntu. I got surprise when reading about snaps on Ubuntu insight blog, wow what a fantastic improvement on the Linux environment. We know lot more about snap package with Ubuntu but many of us doesn’t know, now we can install Snap package to other distribution too. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth didn’t expect other distro will adapt with snap packages.

Multiple Linux distributions and companies announced collaboration on the “snap” universal Linux package format, enabling a single binary package to work perfectly and securely on any Linux desktop, server, cloud or device.

The community will work with to provide a single publication mechanism for any software in any Linux environment. Companies are involved as of now Dell, Samsung, the Linux Foundation, The Document Foundation, Krita, Mycroft, Horizon Computing.

Snaps now work natively on Arch, Debian, Fedora, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Unity, and Xubuntu. Other major distro which are currently being validated on CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL, and are easy to enable on other Linux distributions.

As of now 250+ snap packages are available for Ubuntu and i’m listing here few popular packages. Jenkins, OwnCloud, htop, VLC & links.

What’s Snap

Snap packages are secure, isolated from each other and the host system using technologies such as AppArmor, It’s cross-platform, self-contained, allowing a developer to package the exact software their application needs. This sandboxed isolation also improves security and allows applications, and whole snap-based systems, to be rolled back should an issue occur. It has many advantages over the more traditional package formats such as .deb, .rpm, and others. Snaps use a special YAML formatted file named snapcraft.yaml. Snaps really are the future of Linux application packaging.

We have already covered in our previous article, how to install snap on Ubuntu and how to play on it. Just go through the below article to get more experience.

Drawbacks on Snap

  • Snap package size is very high compare with deb package because every Snap packages are bundled with all required libraries and dependencies
  • Have security issue with RPM system because we need to set SELINUX=permissive mode

How to install Snap on Linux

We can install Snap package to few distribution as of now such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora & Gentoo Linux.

[Install Snap on Arch Linux]
$ sudo pacman -S snapd

[Install Snap on Debian]
$ sudo apt install snapd

[Install Snap on Fedora 23 & 24]
$ sudo dnf copr enable zyga/snapcore.
$ sudo dnf install snapd
$ sudo systemctl enable --now snapd.service
$ sudo nano /etc/selinux/config
$ sudo reboot

[Install Snap on Gentoo]
Install snap-confine.ebuild
sudo systemctl enable –now snapd.service

Other Universal Packages which you know already, AppImage, Flatpak & OrbitalApps

AppImage : Download AppImage application, make it executable, and run! No need to install, Runs on most 32-bit and 64-bit Linux desktops. No system libraries or system preferences are altered. AppImage is Linux apps that run anywhere and similar to windows & mac application. AppImage work on most Linux Distribution such as RHEL, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE & Arch Linux Systems.

$ sudo wget
$ sudo chmod +x Atom-1.7.3-x86_64.AppImage
$ sudo ./Atom-1.7.3-x86_64.AppImag

Flatpak : is the new framework for desktop applications on Linux. It allows the same app to be installed on different Linux distributions, including different versions. And it has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, so that apps are isolated from each other and from the host system. Flatpak work on most Linux Distribution such as Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Mageia & Arch Linux Systems.

Orbital Apps : or ORB Apps Open Runnable Bundle came to picture. It’s completely free, open source applications that will help us to RUN more then 60 Apps without installing on system, even you can directly run from USB drive to Ubuntu 16.04 (Currently supported Ubuntu 16.04 & 15.10). Alternatively we can install all the Apps in off-line too (Dependencies are included).

About Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

View all posts by Magesh Maruthamuthu

4 Comments on “Goodbye to other packages (rpm & deb), Say Hello to Snaps”

  1. This is definitely interesting technology — just as a couple of others in this space — but calling out the end of rpm/deb is a way too early. So far there are a couple of binary packages for a handful of distributions so that people can give it a spin. But so far this does not offer any of the security that is advertized.

    You are aware that snap has no confinement on non-ubuntu distributions? You even need to disable stuff like SELinux completely to even use it. So a snap can do whatever any binary can do, there is no extra security *at all* compared to installing a random binary from somewhere on the internet at this time for any distribution but ubuntu.

    Even if the snap were confined: As long as X11 is in use the whole thing is totally insecure. Any X11 application can log any other applications input, can take screenshots of anything displayed, can send input to e.g. your root terminal and have that execute arbitrary commands, etc. So as long as we are stuck with X11 there is no chance to come up with secure, contained applications. And nobody has switched to wayland or mir yet in a mainstream linux desktop distribution.

    Snap does support mir, but AFAICT no wayland (which is what everybody but ubuntu wants to use), so again snaps will probably not even work outside of ubuntu once X11 is out of the picture and the whole thing starts to make sense.

  2. Finally! I really hope this gets into every Linux distribution.
    PS. Please check your English before posting… Make this world a better place.

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