Will it be impossible to uninstall snaps in future?


In 21.10 snap has succesfully invaded at least two core components of ubuntu-mate:

pulseaudio and cups.

It is still possible to rebuild them without the snap support. However how long will it remain this way?

Snap itself is a unecessary component eating a cinsiderable amount of internet bandwith and disk storage without any measurable advantage.

Is there any hope for a fully snapcraft free build of ubuntu-mate in the future?

regards bluedxca93

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Could you please be more specific about your problem?

The below terminal output got from Ubuntu MATE 21.10:

$ head -n1 /etc/apt/sources.list
#deb cdrom:[Ubuntu-MATE 21.10 _Impish Indri_ - Release amd64 (20211012)]/ impish main multiverse restricted universe
$ snap list 
Name                  Version           Rev    Tracking         Publisher      Notes
core18                20211015          2246   latest/stable    canonicalâś“     base
gtk-theme-yaru-mate   21.04.6           6      latest/stable/…  flexiondotorg  -
icon-theme-yaru-mate  21.04.6           1      latest/stable/…  flexiondotorg  -
snapd                 2.52.1            13640  latest/stable    canonicalâś“     snapd
software-boutique     0+git.f633ffb     54     latest/stable/…  flexiondotorg  classic
ubuntu-mate-welcome   21.10.0-5b832ea8  646    latest/stable/…  flexiondotorg  classic

I do not see cups and pulseaudio here.

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Sure. It’s called Mint, Fedora, Arch, Debian, Solus, or KaOS to name a few. There may be more distributions out there that don’t use Snaps natively. Some or all may support Snaps but they are not using them as much as Ubuntu. Not sure the Snaps issue is as big of a problem as some are making it out to be. If it works right, I don’t see a problem but you have choice with Linux.



cups-daemon requires libsnapd-glib1

pulseaudio requires libsnapd-glib1

That is a problem if you want to purge snapcraft completly.
Currently its possible to build these packages without snap.

well after ubuntu 22.04 i guess i'll have to do that switch back to debian. Hope that 22.04 can be patched without snapd bindings. On 21.10 it seems to be working without snapd if i patch these two packages or rather remove the unwanted snapd patches.

My patched receipes to build them without snapd are here for 21.10:

Nice finding. Now I see that

$ sudo apt autopurge snapd
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  snapd* squashfs-tools*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 2 to remove and 54 not upgraded.
After this operation, 94,3 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] n

is safe, but

$ sudo apt autopurge gir1.2-snapd-1:amd64 libsnapd-glib1:amd64 snapd
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  apturl* apturl-common* ayatana-indicator-sound* bluez-cups* cups*
  cups-browsed* cups-core-drivers* cups-daemon* cups-server-common*
  gir1.2-goa-1.0* gir1.2-snapd-1* hplip* hplip-data* libcanberra-pulse*
  libcupsimage2* libgutenprint-common* libgutenprint9* libhpmud0*
  libimagequant0* libpulsedsp* libsane-hpaio* libsbc1* libsnapd-glib1*
  libspeexdsp1* printer-driver-gutenprint* printer-driver-hpcups*
  printer-driver-postscript-hp* printer-driver-splix* pulseaudio*
  pulseaudio-module-bluetooth* pulseaudio-utils* python3-dateutil*
  python3-debconf* python3-olefile* python3-pil* python3-renderpm*
  python3-reportlab* python3-reportlab-accel* python3-software-properties*
  rtkit* snapd* software-properties-common* software-properties-gtk*
  squashfs-tools* ssl-cert* ubuntu-mate-core* ubuntu-mate-desktop*
  ubuntu-release-upgrader-gtk* update-manager* update-notifier*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 51 to remove and 54 not upgraded.
After this operation, 144 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] n

is not.

This is upstream (Ubuntu) decision targeted on user comfort.
For example CUPS provides drivers for printers which are released very fast (faster than LTS release cycle of course). So having CUPS as a Snap is a good idea, if we or Canonical care about the users. PPA maybe better, but they chose Snap...

I understand the frustration some people are having. I think I was on UM 20.10 around the time 21.04 came out and noticed some apps being slow but didn’t give it much thought. I was a happy camper with UM. I have always tried other distributions just to see what the differences are but never changed from UM on my laptop and Feren on my desktop - everything worked and both OS’s were reliable. One day I tried Manjaro KDE and GNOME. I was so surprised with GNOME, I switched. Since I could install Flatpaks or Snaps or apps from main repository or AUR, I was able to compare the differences and that made me stay with Manjaro. I think the startup times are the biggest issue with Snaps for most people like it was for me. Occasionally, they would just hang and not even start. Anyway, I was swayed to Manjaro because of that but really like UM but apparently the Snaps issue is becoming a greater concern.


I switched all my machines to OpenSUSE Tumbleweed during the last month mostly for that reason. I don't like how Canonical are forcing more and more snaps on us.
If I install some ressource-friendly distro on a computer with low specs, I don't expect performance to be hampered due to some unneeded (to me) packaging format.


Did now test a bit further.
Apturl, software-properties gtk and apturl does require snap.
However pulseaudio and cups can be build without snap as described earlier.

Played with an fresh xfce Core install:
First i chrooted to it and installed the patched snapd free cups and pulseaudio packages over the installed ones.
Then I did what @Norbert_X tried. Now the result is not very recommended but it works well enough that you can run synaptic cups and pulseaudio. Firefox is then a deb package to for now. It is a quick and dirty workaround but i have to say mate runs now very fast on virtualbox.

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Tried to report a bug

about Snapd-Glib "integration".

Did affect me too. Hopefully others can also increase the heat of the bug

Startup time is the least of the problems with snaps. That's so far down the list that it doesn't even register for me.

Regardless, Canonical is committed to the snap ecosystem, and the knock-on effects of that are going to make it either painful or impractical to be able to avoid them for much longer. I can do it, but the Firefox change alone is basically going to force every "normal" user to accept snaps. (Which, admittedly, is the only way such a clownshow is ever going to get traction).

So, realistically, the answer to OP's question - contrary to Betteridge's Law :stuck_out_tongue: - is unfortunately "Yes".
If you're determined enough, I expect you'll be able to avoid them for one more cycle, but that's probably going to be it, unless you're willing to build everything from source.

I get it. That is why I moved to Manjaro when I found their community edition of MATE. Although I am a big fan of UM, the Snaps issue along with a few small nit-noid things made me move. Along the way, I found their rolling release model appealed to me and settled on their Cinnamon community edition which is very much like UM. But UM wins with the ease of layout switching and the software boutique. Also, the Solus version of Mate is fantastic. Anyway, I hope the LTS for UM in a few months will bring me back but for now enjoying Manjaro’s Cinnamon.

Current progress once cups and pulseaudio is custom build:

sudo apt autopurge gir1.2-snapd-1:amd64 libsnapd-glib1:amd64 
Paketlisten werden gelesen… Fertig
Abhängigkeitsbaum wird aufgebaut… Fertig
Statusinformationen werden eingelesen… Fertig
Die folgenden Pakete werden ENTFERNT:
  apturl* apturl-common* gir1.2-goa-1.0* gir1.2-snapd-1* libsnapd-glib1* python3-dateutil* python3-software-properties* software-properties-common*
  software-properties-gtk* ubuntu-mate-core* ubuntu-mate-desktop* ubuntu-release-upgrader-gtk* update-manager* update-notifier* update-notifier-common*
0 aktualisiert, 0 neu installiert, 15 zu entfernen und 5 nicht aktualisiert.
2 nicht vollständig installiert oder entfernt.
Nach dieser Operation werden 4.759 kB Plattenplatz freigegeben.

Thats not ideal but it does at least not fully break the system. software-properties-gtk is the most critical point here. Sadly don`t know how to patch it.

I was an avid Ubuntu user since 2008. When they â– â– â– â– â– â–  it up back in 2011, I moved to Xubuntu and then to Ubuntu mate.
Now when I see they are deliberately making it difficult to avoid snap, I'm going to abandon it completely. I'm already using Debian 11 on my laptop and I will migrate my workstation as well.

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Do understand your opinion. Had very often broken debian systems in the past. Hell you had to enable testing or even experimental to get rather outdated software while ubuntu was not that much outdated and much more stable.

Now im thinking too if after 22.04 ill switch to fedora or debian. Well fedora was not that bad.
Suse linux was always very slow....

Arch linux is not bad but too much for my parents to use on their computer. Ubuntu worked just fine but now.... For 22.04 ill patch it and disable updates. A security risk but well what to do?

EDIT: patches i did post here on computerbase:

For now, I am using Pop!_OS. No Snaps and built-in Flatpak support if you want Flatpaks. Alternatively, Linux Mint is fantastic too and available in the very good Cinnamon desktop along with MATE and Xfce too and no Snaps. Finally, although a rolling release, Manjaro’s MATE is good too. Linux Lite with the Xfce desktop is based on Ubuntu too without Snaps either.

I don’t dislike Snaps. On some applications, usually small ones, there is little to no difference. However, they are too slow for my taste overall. Firefox which is really slow and some core components are now Snaps which can make the whole OS slow I think.

Snaps need to improve in speed if Canonical wants to remain relevant in the desktop market. I really like Ubuntu MATE but the increased integration of Snaps has made it something I don’t feel comfortable with.

@HJV which packages do you mean?

Firefox by default is a Snap in Ubuntu distributions. Some of the core elements in the distribution are Snaps too like the Software Boutique. You can open up the terminal and see that each distribution in the Ubuntu community (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, UbuntuStudio) have a handful of applications based on Snaps. ("snap list" in the terminal) That's not so bad. But by default when you look for software in the respective stores, they offer Snaps first and Ubuntu and/or Debian as a 2nd/3rd alternative. You can remove Snap integration but I just don't want problems later on if something breaks. By doing so you might make a reliable distribution less reliable maybe than Arch. So, Pop!_OS makes sense for me (even though I really like UM and Manjaro too). These issues may not affect you and that's great if so. But i am liking what System76 did with the GNOME desktop making it their own spin with the Computer Operating System Main Interface Components (COSMIC) desktop. COSMIC is a more logical and efficient version of GNOME to me which works better. All they need to do is come up with some different desktop layouts like Ubuntu Mate does (and Zorin & Manjaro GNOME) to knock it out of the park. I really like what they did with the look of UM in the 22.04 LTS. It is stunning and looks marvelous.