You are not logged in.

#1 2021-01-20 19:11:56

trilobite
Member
From: Saskatchewan, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-27
Posts: 83

What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

I've never used these things, always installing things from normal repositories, usually in a terminal with apt and apt-get, and occasionally compiling if I can't do it otherwise. 

Is there anything I'd really get that I don't have access to?  Maybe it is for games?

I'm remembering the 10 years ago or so Linspire and its Click n Run store, and Xandros Linux which also had a store-like application management system.


{Linux-using people I haven't met are friends yet to be made.}

Offline

#2 2021-01-20 19:41:12

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,520

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

These are containerised applications. They make sense and provide a real solution for certain problematic situations.
But everybody (*) is talking about this like it's the best thing since sliced bread because it's "familiar" (meaning: broken like in Windows).
They think snaps & co. will finally make do with bumbling newbs not getting how intelligent package management through repositories works,  and provide the final cure to the ever-itching ShinyNewStuff syndrome.
Totally forgetting that these containers have phenomenal overhead and introduce a slew of new restrictions and problems. There's already a number of threads in LQ, complaining that their new hexacore AMD threadripper slowed to a crawl because the whole desktop is installed in snaps. Or they don't have permission to acces files. Etc.

(*) Linux podcast fanboy community awesomeness proclaiming "The Year of The Linux Desktop"

Last edited by ohnonot (2021-01-20 19:43:09)


Give to COVAX! Here or here. (explanation)

Offline

#3 2021-01-20 19:45:54

eight.bit.al
Member
From: Prison
Registered: 2015-10-01
Posts: 1,014

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

^ What he said. Don't dumb down Linux. Smart up the user.

8bit


If art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.

Offline

#4 2021-01-20 19:50:24

trilobite
Member
From: Saskatchewan, Canada
Registered: 2017-06-27
Posts: 83

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

ohnonot wrote:

These are containerised applications. They make sense and provide a real solution for certain problematic situations.
But everybody (*) is talking about this like it's the best thing since sliced bread because it's "familiar" (meaning: broken like in Windows).
They think snaps & co. will finally make do with bumbling newbs not getting how intelligent package management through repositories works,  and provide the final cure to the ever-itching ShinyNewStuff syndrome.
Totally forgetting that these containers have phenomenal overhead and introduce a slew of new restrictions and problems. There's already a number of threads in LQ, complaining that their new hexacore AMD threadripper slowed to a crawl because the whole desktop is installed in snaps. Or they don't have permission to acces files. Etc.

(*) Linux podcast fanboy community awesomeness proclaiming "The Year of The Linux Desktop"

Thanks for that!  "best thing since sliced bread... broken like Windows"  -- confirms my impression. 

If I have the understanding correctly, the snap or flatpak isn't just an installation method, it phones home.  Which I specifically object to.  I like everything to be deliberate on my part: I'll damn well check for a update if I want to.


{Linux-using people I haven't met are friends yet to be made.}

Offline

#5 2021-01-20 20:23:37

rbh
Member
From: Sweden/Vasterbotten/Rusfors
Registered: 2016-08-11
Posts: 1,081

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

Last fall, I wanted to look at the new wersion of Gimp 2.10. It was available in Sid, but my sid vm, is brokekn and I have not found time to fix it.
So, it was convinient to install the snap and delete it when gimp 2.10 reached debian stable.

I have some old data collected with cherrytree. Cherrytree is not in debian stable. Again, snap installation is convinient...

As ohnonot wrote, snaps has quite a lot of ovehead. But, I do not se any problems with install a few carefully chosen snaps on a reasonable powerfull computer. Installing snaps on single core 1GHz pc with 1GB ram, is no good idea.

@trilobite: "Phone home"... Many packages if installed by apt or snaps, has a setting for "Look for new releases". Python pip packages, tell if there is new versions when you start an old version.
But yo mean that core snap is calling home wheter you want or not? Any link to that?

Last edited by rbh (2021-01-20 20:24:32)


// Regards rbh

Please read before requesting help: Guide to getting help,
Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop and other help topics under "Help Resources" on the BunsenLabs menu

Offline

#6 2021-01-20 22:58:12

phuturism
Member
From: Melbourne
Registered: 2016-07-15
Posts: 179

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

I've used them for one off tasks - like doing ID3 tag/album coverart stuff using Picard - because I couldn't find a better solution for what I wanted in the repos.    As soon as I was done, uninstalled the app, removed snap. 

To me they always feel a bit wrong when they install and I see the 200mb of dependencies.   And whenever I did an "fdisk -l" and saw an ever increasing number of /dev/mapper/loopback entities next to my regular partitions.

Last edited by phuturism (2021-01-20 22:59:47)

Offline

#7 2021-01-20 23:14:15

brontosaurusrex
Middle Office
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 2,352
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

I did run rocketchat for a month or two via snap (on Debian), but it was taking a gig of ram.

Offline

#8 2021-01-21 15:21:13

ratcheer
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2015-10-05
Posts: 373

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

I avoid them when I can (I'm not currently using any of them). I prefer my system and its applications to work properly with shared libraries.

Offline

#9 2021-01-21 20:10:02

twoion
ほやほや
Registered: 2015-08-10
Posts: 3,239

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

trilobite wrote:

I've never used these things, always installing things from normal repositories, usually in a terminal with apt and apt-get, and occasionally compiling if I can't do it otherwise. 

Is there anything I'd really get that I don't have access to?  Maybe it is for games?

I'm remembering the 10 years ago or so Linspire and its Click n Run store, and Xandros Linux which also had a store-like application management system.

I like snaps, they're a reasonable approach to macOS .app files (=directories actually big_smile) and can provide a useful experience for installing apps via dragndrop, when we're talking about  desktop Linux (on server Linux, they're are godsend because you can have multiple versions of serious stuff like lxd installed and the distributor does not have to care about creating variant executables like python3.5, python3.6, symlinks, or just stuffing everything into /opt). I think if the next iteration on desktop Linux snaps can be managed completely rootless it's a win. snaps are after all is said and done a bunch of files and sugar around functionality also available in systemd-run or setuid tools like firejail.

Snaps are also a way for vendors like canonical being able to bless 3rd party applications using a cryptographic key. For example, if IBM partnered up with Canonical to ship a distribution of OpenShift for enterprise use, users can still be sure that Canonical has tested and verified a package because they could sign the package without having to add it to the main package repositories.

package managers are also a complicated business. After all, files need to be definitely written/unpacked at specific times and you need a lot of fsync() calls and paranoia to make it all work correctly, so you have a consistent system. That's why package managers like apt, rpm, pacman have a limit regarding how fast they can be, and why they don't install packages in parallel. If at some point in the future Canonical ditches apt packages, technology like snaps might be able to install multiple applications at the same time.

For example, I'm a developer that wants multiple versions of the Xorg server in order to test my crappy nvidia drivers, I can just dragndrop or type snap install xorg-server/1.17 xorg-server/1.18 xorg-server/1.19 and then snap enable xorg-server/1.17 (for example) to get everything I need for testing. This is currently not possible with apt because xorg-server depends on libx11=1.17, libx=1.18, libx11=1.19 and so on, so you get a messy dependency cascade throughout the system and might have multiple versions of 100s of libraries available. That's a lot of pain to manage. snaps might be a reasonable format for distributing such things at the expense of using more storage, which is cheap nowadays.


Nassdachs

Offline

#10 2021-01-22 06:37:33

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,520

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

^ Yes, and that's what containerised software packages are made for.

I know it's the talk of the town amongst the cool FOSS developers and "awesome" Linux podcasters.

But what about Ubuntu's app store defaulting to snaps?
For so many packages that less technically inclined people accidentally swamp their systems, not even realising what they installed there, complaining about performance, storage and memory dwindling away, and weird permission problems - and of course being totally unable to fix it?

twoion wrote:

package managers are also a complicated business. After all, files need to be definitely written/unpacked at specific times and you need a lot of fsync() calls and paranoia to make it all work correctly, so you have a consistent system. That's why package managers like apt, rpm, pacman have a limit regarding how fast they can be, and why they don't install packages in parallel. If at some point in the future Canonical ditches apt packages, technology like snaps might be able to install multiple applications at the same time.

You make it sound like snap/flaptpak was simple by comparison. Or like paranoia wasn't a working requirement, too. Or like the consistency of your system suddenly wasn't an issue anymore.
Also, my apt/pacman/rpm doesn't have to be running all the time like a daemon, or to start applications. I don't care if it's a little slow during updates.

And lastly, what about proprietary app-stores? And centralistic. Why is there only one snap store?
Further reading: https://hackaday.com/2020/06/24/whats-t … -packages/

I really do not need Canonicals blessing.


Give to COVAX! Here or here. (explanation)

Offline

#11 2021-02-13 01:30:11

tknomanzr
BL Die Hard
From: Around the Bend
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 1,057

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

They use the same packaging philosophy as Windows packages, i.e. package absolutely everything you need to run the application into the install package. Install, then check out Visual Studio Code on Linux for an idea of how their packaging architecture goes.  The trouble comes in when people start packaging malicious or spyware binaries into the install apps (i.e. nearly any app installed from third-party freeware sources.). Microsoft would just love to get away from the freeware scene and all of its associated problems. So you see them start to experiment with open-source solutions but they still bring the same mentality to their packaging ecosystem that created the problems in the first place.

Linux uses the concept of shared libraries and a packaging ecosystem based around that for both reasons of security and the lighter code-base. This concept works well enough that it has been adopted by other packaging systems such as PyPI and Node, for python and Javascript respectively. Snaps and flatpacks fly in the face of this packaging philosophy but can solve certain problems that would otherwise lead somebody into a dependency rabbit-hole. Installing a bunch of binaries from untrusted sources is never actually a good idea though, so I wouldn't consider installing anything this way unless absolutely necessary. Arch has its aur for a reason though. Snaps and flatpacks exist to solve the same problems that Arch's aur does.

Offline

#12 2021-02-13 03:04:23

hhh
Meep!
Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 12,016
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

^ From this layman's perspective, agreed, at least for me on Debian stable. Easier to just use the Github or whatever source installation instructions or a package in the Debian repos, if available.

The Arch AUR gets constant, instant feedback from the Arch community. Snap and Flatpack do not have that feedback loop, I think. Not to that scale.

Offline

#13 2021-02-13 03:31:09

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 8,146
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

OT/
Hi tk! Good to see you back. smile


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

Offline

#14 2021-02-14 07:25:52

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,520

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

tknomanzr wrote:

Linux uses the concept of shared libraries and a packaging ecosystem based around that for both reasons of security and the lighter code-base.

But there's a whole generation of people who think that an open system cannot be secure, that every app must be sandboxed, like on Android (*). That security is an absolute. And (companies like) Google are pushing this mindset with all force; esp. for their technically enabled customers. To the point that they genuinely believe that Google are the good guys. roll More like the biggest employer.

If not Google itself, this paradigm is responsible for so much bloat on those lovely Linux desktops, and (companies like) Google are actively pushing it with their PR bloggers: security is the holy mantra. Opensource is good, but we must reinvent it to our specifications to finally shut out all those old-timey anarchists.

Sorry to rant about the big G again, but there is a connection.


(*) Example: https://forum.sailfishos.org/t/sandboxe … ss-to-etc/

Related: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/07 … necessary/

Last edited by ohnonot (2021-02-14 07:28:01)


Give to COVAX! Here or here. (explanation)

Offline

#15 2021-02-14 07:42:57

hhh
Meep!
Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 12,016
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

A valid subject, but this article is old. The 2018 date is misleading, if you read the article you'll see it's from 2013 (and back to 2007).

Offline

#16 2021-02-14 08:10:28

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,520

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

^ still relevant for historical reasons alone (how did we get here?).
But there's more:

Google's methods of controlling the open source Android code and discouraging Android forks is exactly the kind of behavior the EU has a problem with, and many of the techniques outlined in this 2013 article are still in use today.
(...)
Google's Android strategy of an open source base paired with key proprietary apps and services hasn't really changed in the last five or so years. (...) the base strategy outlined here is still very relevant.
(...)
Android was the "moat" around the Google Search "castle"—it would exist to protect Google's online properties in the mobile world.
(...)
At this point, it's too difficult to stuff the open source genie back into the bottle, which begs the question: how do you control an open source project?

And so on.

Again, one can see the parallels to e.g. Snappy/snapstore: "an open source base paired with key proprietary apps"... and possible predictions on future development:

What many people think of as "Android" actually falls into two categories: the open parts from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which are the foundation of Android, and the closed source parts, which are all the Google-branded apps. While Google will never go the entire way and completely close Android, the company seems to be doing everything it can to give itself leverage over the existing open source project. And the company's main method here is to bring more and more apps under the closed source "Google" umbrella.

This might well apply to the snap store and the companies behind it.

Last edited by ohnonot (2021-02-14 08:26:46)


Give to COVAX! Here or here. (explanation)

Offline

#17 2021-02-14 09:56:17

hhh
Meep!
Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 12,016
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

ohnonot wrote:

(how did we get here?).

Somehow matter formed out of nothing in a singularity, or maybe out of old, collapsed matter (?!) and solar systems were created. Eventually, on the the third stone from the Sun, life evolved and dinosaurs existed for a while. Then there was a big meteor that landed or something and everything went to crap. Your mom and dad did a little "squeaky noises", as did mine. And here we are.

Either that or The Flying Spaghetti Monster bestowed life upon us via his Holy noodly appendages.

And you may tell yourself "This is not my beautiful house!"

https://www.universetoday.com/wp-conten … c1622b.jpg

Offline

#18 2021-02-14 10:14:53

hhh
Meep!
Registered: 2015-09-17
Posts: 12,016
Website

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

hhh wrote:

Somehow matter formed out of nothing in a singularity, or maybe out of old, collapsed matter (?!) and solar systems were created. Eventually, on the the third stone from the Sun, life evolved and dinosaurs existed for a while. Then there was a big meteor that landed or something and everything went to crap.

bunsen-quote?

Offline

#19 2021-02-14 15:19:46

sleekmason
zoom
Registered: 2018-05-22
Posts: 584

Re: What do we think of Snap Store and Flatpak?

hhh wrote:
hhh wrote:

Somehow matter formed out of nothing in a singularity, or maybe out of old, collapsed matter (?!) and solar systems were created. Eventually, on the the third stone from the Sun, life evolved and dinosaurs existed for a while. Then there was a big meteor that landed or something and everything went to crap.

bunsen-quote?

Accurate enough:)  If you get humanity thrown in there, you can use the "went to crap" line twice!

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB