There has been some controversy surrounding Snapcraft in recent months that was not looking good for Canonical’s packaging system, but nothing from official sources, but discussions in the community. Now, however, reliable information about the future of Snapcraft and Snap, the package format created by the Ubuntu developer not only for Ubuntu, but for the entire GNU / Linux ecosystem.
Quickly commenting on what has nothing to do with this news, let’s say that if two or three years ago the support for Snap was more prominent, especially from commercial developers, while Flatpak grew and settled in the community, the Tables have turned and it is now when the second seems to be establishing itself as the most widespread and appreciated alternative, at least among the main Linux distributions.
Thus, Flatpak has been improving a lot in recent times, while it is increasingly possible to find more applications in this format, in Flathub at least. Snap is not bad either, but it has been dragging problems for years that have not been solved, beyond its centralized model, which is not going to change (Flatpak falls into the same practice, since almost everything is in Flathub). For example, the slow startup of Snap applications.
What changes does Canonical have in mind for Snapcraft and Snap? With regard to the background technology, the company’s plans go through rewriting to a great extent to improve its performance, facilitate the package creation processes for developers and influence the modularity of the system as the axis on which to compile and distribute applications. more effectively. In general, they are going to touch everything a little.
With respect to the format itself there are fewer news, but the entire infrastructure is now considered in state legacy, so it will not receive any more functionality until it is replaced. Of course, developers can continue to use Snapcraft as before and the same for users. Also, once the next version of Snapcraft is released, current Snap packs will remain fully compatible.
For example, they hope that the renewal of Snapcraft can overcome some of the current limitations of Snap, although they do not mention any in particular. Maybe they will improve the startup time of the applications that we alluded to earlier and that has been ignored by Canonical for years with little explanation (complaints about closing related bugs come from afar)?
In summary, Snapcraft and Snap will continue to be an integral part of Canonical’s service offering not only for Ubuntu, but for any other Linux distribution that wants it … and there are quite a few, although in the GNU / Linux environment Flatpak seems to be the option best accepted. The advantage of Snap in this regard is that while Flatpak is restricted to desktop applications, Snap does not put doors, which in turn has its pros and cons.