Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Trouble With Ubuntu Snaps, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu Derivatives

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

I tried to use Snaps when I was experimenting with Ubuntu a few years ago. These are the major problems with it.

Server-side is proprietary and nobody else can run one.

snapd is a scandal. It’s extremely bloated and always running, even if the user never installs a snap.

When I tried to install some Snaps, including GZDoom (which is really a good program and available as a Flatpak, which actually runs), many of them failed to work at all on Kubuntu and I was told that this “universal” package was failing to load for some reason because I was using KDE as my desktop environment.

Ubuntu has let in cryptominer malware at least once. This is right after I argues with Alan Pope (popey) on Reddit that malware would happen eventually if they weren’t reviewing and were allowing proprietary and “developer-built” software in. He argued that they had control of the situation. Then after the incident, I asked what they were doing to remove the malicious snap, and he said they couldn’t remove it from the computers that had it installed, just remove it from the Snap store and if they could remove it, it would be a “backdoor”.

Debian packages get automatically removed all the time using dummy packages, and Ubuntu even replaced Chromium and Firefox by using dummy Debian packages that are empty, open snap, and tell it to install the snap.

That’s a backdoor. They didn’t transition it to another Debian package. They completely changed the package format and replaced the default Web browser with one compiled by Mozilla that has God knows what in it (it’s certainly not any sort of reproducible build) instead of a package compiled by the distribution that the user expects to be the “canonical” source of packages.

After Pope left Canonical, he wrote a program that can remove all Snaps from Ubuntu and then uninstall snapd. Eventually, this may break Ubuntu as they replace more packages with Snaps and just assume everyone has snapd on a system upgrade.

When I edited Wikipedia (which is its own mess) to discuss the problems with Snaps, Canonical purged all of my edits and reverted it back to the way it was before without even justifying why they did that.


Canonical sends nasty lawyers to distributions that are based on Ubuntu’s binaries, to argue that it has copyrights and “Ubuntu patents”, and to threaten to sue them if they don’t sign agreements that the users of those derivatives are not permitted to read.

They did this to Linux Mint.

If someone should like to use Linux Mint, they should be sure they are getting Linux Mint Debian Edition to avoid problems with the Ubuntu binaries and general nonsense that’s going on with Ubuntu’s package sabotage.

If you are checking out a distribution, you should make sure it’s not Ubuntu underneath. Many are.

Most of them have weird bugs.

When I was trying to use Kubuntu, especially during the years Canonical was patching everything to accommodate their Unity desktop shell they frequently broke Kubuntu horribly, necessitating some awful kludge in Kubuntu that broke the way KDE was intended to work.

Eventually, they drove out Jonathan Riddell out using their fake Community Council (which is entirely controlled by Canonical Ltd), when he complained about their “Intellectual Property” attacks against actual communities. They never stated this is why. In fact, the meeting that threw him out was done behind closed doors without much of an announcement. Despicable people do their dirty deeds in the dead of night.

For some odd reason, KDE NEON is still based on Ubuntu.

Roy Schestowitz of Techrights told me in IRC that he has systems running on it and they develop weird problems.

You’d think that KDE themselves would know better than to base their distribution on a funky pile of bugs with lots of mean lawyers, but who knows why people do anything? Right?

I save the best part for last. Of all of the folks who praised Snap, it was Microsoft. They think it has advantages over Debian packages. I’m not going to link to a Microsoft Web site, but they are very, very fond of Snap. Why wouldn’t they be? It lets them deploy their malicious software onto GNU/Linux, with little effort, and no oversight at all to find out what’s really in it and what really happens when you run it.

From the company that’s allegedly worth over a trillion dollars and can’t find anyone who knows how to package their version of R without destroying Debian.

Most disturbingly about Canonical/Ubuntu lately, is that Microsoft praises them, and Canonical praises Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux, such as making big stinks about software that’s useless without Windows or Microsoft’s fake Linux subsystem (WSL) which offers to “extend” GNU/Linux programs so they don’t work on GNU/Linux anymore.

Every so often, Microsoft chooses a “favorite” GNU/Linux distribution. The distribution is always a corporate one obviously, and then several years later, instead of making lots of money from the Microsoft deal, they go bankrupt and nobody remembers them after a while.

openSUSE survives today and I’m told it works much better than it did under Novell, which went bankrupt. Of course, that’s not a major accomplishment. Virtually any way you configured openSUSE while Novell owned it, you risked breaking the whole system to a point where it was easier to just reformat the disk and start over than to try figuring out what went wrong.

Before that, they did deals with Xandros (gone) and Linspire (bankrupt), where former CEO Kevin Carmony accused Founder Michael Robertson of taking all of the company’s liquid assets….then they ended up suing each other, mainly because Robertson was furious that Carmony had paid out rather reasonable employee severance packages before he could run off with that money as well.

Why Canonical thinks it will be the exception is anyone’s guess. Maybe the bribes are good for now. Maybe they’re so very clearly incompetent that they think Microsoft is a good technical partner. Maybe both?

Almost nobody that I can think of has ever entered into a deal with Microsoft and come out on top.

Microsoft ends up sitting on top, of a pile of skulls.

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