Is there likely to be an official snap-free version of UM?
@Utsuro nailed it A few commands and it's gone - building a non-snap ISO is overkill.
If anyone wants the non-snap package of Welcome / Software Boutique, I maintain the PPA for them:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/welcome
sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-welcome
Will snaps be reinstalled when I next upgrade UM?
Only if you reinstall the
ubuntu-mate-desktop metapackage or any package in future decides to depend on snapd (like
chromium-browser). Hopefully Chromium is the one and only exception - and doesn't start a trend.
Is the use of snaps likely to be increased in future UM versions?
With our project leader being the leader of Ubuntu desktop as well, there is a possibility Ubuntu MATE could be used as a testing ground for snaps, like how they were originally piloted in 17.10 before being added by default in 18.04.
From what I know, there isn't an evil mastermind plan for snaps to take over Debian packages nor any plans for this flavour to bundle any more at this time.
I'm not a fan myself, but since it's just a default, we're not locked or forced to use the format. Just a bit of inconvenience after a fresh install