Ubuntu has finally explained their position regarding Chromium Snap. Canonical is welcome to open up a dialogue with Linux Mint and hammer out the issues they have been having with Snap.
The Linux Mint distributors are annoyed with how Canonical’s Snap is dealing with the Chromium web browser in their Snap application installation system. They felt they had to do something.
So, Clement Lefebvre, Mint’s lead developer, decided to have Mint’s default software installation APT, block Snaps (Snap’s main program), from installing on Linux Mint.
Why did Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent Company, move Chromium from APT to Snap?
According to a representative of Canonical, they designed Snaps for several good reasons that include ease of use and an effort to reduce fragmentation in the Linux ecosystem. Application in Snaps can be updated much easier and are build per architecture and not for every individual Linux version or distribution. Which makes it easier to deploy new versions of applications, since you only need one version per architecture. The Snap application repository will then update the application. Aside from Ubuntu, Linux Mint has the highest number of users across all distributions. Both were using Snap.
A good number of these users have decided to install Snaps because of the reasons above. The representative appreciated and encouraged the adoption of Snaps from the Snapcraft Store. Also, the representative said that they would like to engage with the community and move forward together.
Why does Lefebvre dislike the snapped version of Chromium?
According to Lefebvre, delivering Chromium via Snap is similar to a commercial proprietary solution with two significant differences; it runs as root and installs without asking. Understandably, a man who has worked so hard to ensure open source remains untainted, would not like this decision by Canonical.
Even with his misgivings, there is one problem to solve here. With each new release of Chromium every six weeks, it would be a lot of work to build new stable versions for every supported Ubuntu and Mint versions. With Snap, you only need to build once per architecture to run on all systems supported by Snapd, primarily covering all distributions.
Hopefully, Lefebvre and Canonical will find a way forward, for Linux Mint users their is always the option to install Snapd manual in Linux Mint.