Not really for users, but very interesting: deb versus snap

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Ignacio Agulló
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A technical comparison between snaps and debs | Snapcraft
https://snapcraft.io/blog/a-technical-comparison-between-snaps-and-debs

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Malsasa
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What a good comparison. That's really in interesting for me. Thanks Ignacio!

chaosmonk

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> What a good comparison.

But hardly an unbiased one, considering that this article was published
by Canonical. One important difference that the article leaves out is
that any developer, distro, or individual can create an apt repository
and decide what goes in it, whereas there is only one Snap Store,
controlled by Canonical.

calher

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Whereas Flatpak repositories are just as neutral and decentralized as
apt repos.

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strypey
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As are AppImage files:
https://appimage.org/

Malsasa
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On 10/12/19, name at domain <name at domain> wrote:
> As are AppImage files:
> https://appimage.org/

I love AppImage. Thanks for adding it here, strypey.

Malsasa
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On 9/17/19, name at domain <name at domain> wrote:
> whereas there is only one Snap Store,
> controlled by Canonical.

Ah, yes, I forgot that point. Thanks for reminding me, Mason.

andyprough
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From the article:
> Snaps are self-contained application packages designed to run on any system that supports them. Practically, this translates into 41 systemd-enabled distributions at the moment.

This highlights my concern with systemd, snap, and flatpaks. RedHat and Canonical appear to be attempting to grab control of a majority of all distro infrastructure. If Canonical goes to snap only and drops debs, that means 41 downstream distros like Trisquel could be stuck with having to become snap/systemd systems.

chaosmonk

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> If Canonical goes to snap only and drops debs, that means 41
> downstream distros like Trisquel could be stuck with having to become
> snap/systemd systems.

They probably won't drop debs entirely. The base system, maybe things
like desktop environments too, will likely still be based on Debian.
However, they are encouraging users to install applications like
LibreOffice and VLC from the Snap Store. For now such applications are
still available in the universe repository, and most applications
exclusive to the Snap Store are likely proprietary, so it is currently
not a problem for Trisquel to simply not include snap. However, once
Ubuntu users transition to using snap for applications, Ubuntu could
conceivably drop its Universe repository (which already does not receive
security updates), and that would affect Trisquel. A distro like Mint
may or may not mind having their users just use the Snap Store, but for
Trisquel that is not an option, because the Snap Store contains
proprietary software.

As for free software that is not packaged in Debian/Ubuntu, due to
Ubuntu's popularity, developers often desire to make their software easy
to install on Ubuntu. When they do this by providing a PPA or apt
repository, that involves creating Debian source packages which can be
easily imported to Trisquel and other Debian-based distros, so
accommodating Ubuntu benefits also benefits other distros. However, I'm
lately seeing some[1] cases[2] where developers upload to the Snap Store
instead, which only increases Canonical's influence.

I'm not against distro-agnostic packaging in general, but I am against
walled-garden app stores that prioritize the power of developers over
the freedom of users.

calher

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On 09/16/2019 03:41 PM, name at domain wrote:
>However, once
> Ubuntu users transition to using snap for applications, Ubuntu could
> conceivably drop its Universe repository (which already does not receive
> security updates), and that would affect Trisquel.

To be honest, I use Flatpak on Trisquel. Ideally, I'd like to see an
alternate repository from Flathub, which does not contain proprietary
software. I just have to manually avoid the proprietary apps.

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strypey
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I've heard similar comments about Docker and DockerHub. AFAIK Docker itself is 100% free software. But DockerHub, like Flathub, has non-free components (or did at the time I saw the discussion about it on a mailing list).

Beko
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If Canonical are such a bad faith player among GNU/Linux distributions, why is Trisquel based off of Ubuntu?

I don't have much knowledge with GNU/Linux systems so excuse my lack of knowledge, but from what I've gathered Debian is free out-of-the-box whilst Ubuntu isn't. Wouldn't it be easier from a developer standpoint to 'Free' Debian than Ubuntu, or are there benefits for Trisquel being tied to Ubuntu that I am not seeing?

chaosmonk

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> If Canonical are such a bad faith player among GNU/Linux
> distributions, why is Trisquel based off of Ubuntu?

I don't know I'd go so far as to say "bad faith." Their goals are often
parallel to, but ultimately different from ours. They have done a lot to
facilitate the adoption of GNU/Linux, which on its own is a good thing
for software freedom. Their approach to doing so has sometimes had
positive effects for software freedom. At other times I'd argue it has
been negative. I expect the Snap Store to have negative effects for
software freedom. Trisquel has been based on Ubuntu for a long time, and
this snap stuff is a relatively recent development.

> I don't have much knowledge with GNU/Linux systems so excuse my lack
> of knowledge, but from what I've gathered Debian is free
> out-of-the-box whilst Ubuntu isn't. Wouldn't it be easier from a
> developer standpoint to 'Free' Debian than Ubuntu, or are there
> benefits for Trisquel being tied to Ubuntu that I am not seeing?

Yes and no. Both Debian and Ubuntu maintain repositories of non-free
software. Ubuntu's are enabled by default, whereas Debian's are disabled
by default, so in that sense Debian is more free out-of-the-box. Debian
attempts to distance itself from their non-free repositories and does
not heavily encourage their use, so in that sense they are also better
than Ubuntu.

However, neither of those things makes these distros easier or harder
than one another to free. It is just as easy for Trisquel to exclude
Ubuntu's Multiverse and Restricted repositories as it would be to
exclude Debian's contrib and non-free repositories. The default
configuration and culture around Debian and Ubuntu is only relevant to
Debian and Ubuntu users, not us. Most of the changes we make to Ubuntu
are rebranding or modifying free packages that install or recommend
non-free ones. Both Debian and Ubuntu need to be modified in this way in
order to follow the Free System Distribution Guidelines.

There may be a few ways in which it might be easier to be based on
Debian. For example, Ubuntu's universe repository does not receive
security updates, which requires us to do things like import Tor from
the Tor developers instead of Ubuntu. However, Ubuntu also has some
advantages, like a more user-friendly installer. Right now I think it is
worth being based on Ubuntu. I'm just concerned that this might change
in the future.

Beko
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I see... Thank you for your explanation.

andyprough
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> However, Ubuntu also has some
advantages, like a more user-friendly installer.

I think the Live ISO installer changed to calamares with Debian Buster. Should be a lot nicer than the old one.

Narcis Garcia
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El 17/9/19 a les 1:27, name at domain ha escrit:
> Ubuntu also has some
> advantages, like a more user-friendly installer

Isn't this installer wizard FOSS?
This it could be ported to any Debian derivative distro.

If Canonical is a friend of FOSS community, any enhancement found in
Ubuntu should be portable and packageable into any other GNU/Linux
distro, and even more for Debian derivatives.

chaosmonk

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> Isn't this installer wizard FOSS?
> This it could be ported to any Debian derivative distro.

Sure, it's easier when it comes directly from upstream, but not
necessary.