Ubuntu introduces ‘snap’ in next LTS version




Canonical introduces a new packaging format for applications in the next LTS edition of Ubuntu. Snap packages can opposed to deb packages include all dependencies yourself, so that a developer can flour feathers all dependencies.

The new way of package management exist with standard deb packages. The big advantage over deb packages is that it is easier to install newer software on older machines, because in a snap package itself dependencies or dependencies next to the program can be supplied.

In addition, snaps safer than Debs, because they are in a kind of container over itself to be installed on the operating system, without having to have an impact on the rest of the operating system. Thus, it is easy to install, for example, an application that uses a newer software library than in the system is present. The libraries must then be added to the snap by the developer.

At this time, it is still the case that an application can not be installed when a dependency is missing and also is not in the software sources. It must be first to the corresponding dependence wanted and possibly add an untrusted source software. This can lead to unsafe situations.

The new method not only provides benefits for new apps on old operating systems, but also for old applications to new operating systems. Canonical is old debs example that will not work anymore for new versions of Ubuntu migrate to snaps, so they can be still used in the future.

On the developer side, it is practically new versions of applications can quickly find their way to end users. Now it’s true that the managers of the software sources to update this first. A snap can be pushed to end users immediately after an update.

The development of snaps is an improvement of the system that Canonical developed the app ecosystem of Ubuntu Phone: the clicks. Snaps were in the first instance, specially designed for the snappy Ubuntu Core-OS, an operating system aimed at iot devices. Canonical therefor namely needed a provider grade- upgrade mechanism. This also means that there is good thinking about data usage. An update of a snap can be carried out incrementally and makes use of delta updates. That means that only need to be downloaded to the modified code.

Canonical has also developed a tool to create snaps: Snap Craft. At the time of writing, there are practical yet to find any snap packages for Ubuntu 16.04. Inquiry at Canonical shows that most snaps are specific to Snappy Ubuntu Core and therefore have no onion. As a proof-of-concept Canonical has a clock and a calculator and get released for Unity 7.


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