SNAP, a door to non free software!

18 replies [Last post]
Jaume
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Joined: 11/08/2014

Hi all.

Recently I installed snapd on my T7 machine. I was just curious.
I could install LibreOffice 6 without a hassle, and that was fine...

But, then I started looking at snapd docs and words like "store" instead of "repository" began to lit my screen... and I thought that it could be a very easy way to install non free software in Trisquel.

I made the try with a well known porprietary program (won't name it) executing

$ snap search <name-of-propietary-software>

...and there it was, ready to be installed in my system. With the hope to see that it was unavailable i tried to have more info about it:

$ snap info <name-of-propietary-software>

This showed me the version to be installed, and a short description, but nothing to tell me that it was not able to be installed.

I didn't try to install it, so I don't know if it installs at the end, nor if it works, but everything makes me think that it does.

So, if snapd is pointing to a "store" that can't be changed (for what I know), full of propietary software, I'm afraid that it violates the "fully free OS" principles, and it should be removed from repos.

Jaume.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Obviously, if snap is available in Trisquel 8, then it'll point to a place managed by the Trisquel project and subject to all of the same policy criteria: https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html

loldier
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Joined: 02/17/2016

Are these apps alternatives for Skype and Spotify?

--Spreed
--Tizonia

##EDIT##
I tried installing Spotify, and it installs the snap. So it's not redirected to another free program. I only thought about this because cdda2wav redirects to icedax.

snap.gif
Jaume
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Joined: 11/08/2014

I know you are into Trisquel 8 final steps, and I am glad to see that you have this problem in mind, but Trisquel 7 has this problem.

I would try to correct it if I had the skills and/or the time (I have none, I'm afraid).

Meantime, I filed a bug (did not keep the number, sorry).

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Thanks for reporting the bug. It's # 23918 right here: https://trisquel.info/en/issues/23918

You should also send an email about it to report-nonfree @ fsf.org and get a GNU Buck for your efforts signed by RMS. More information about GNU Bucks are at https://www.gnu.org/help/gnu-bucks.en.html

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Snap was the bane of my existence on Ubuntu 16.04. I couldn't figure out a way to disable it, and Software includes Snap packages (without an option to turn them off), so any time I tried to find a program that way I'd be inundated with proprietary Snap packages.

But Trisquel 8 won't have that problem. :)

loldier
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Joined: 02/17/2016

I now have Spotify. All it takes 'snap install spotify'. Trisquel 8.

'snap remove spotify' -- it's gone.

Screenshot at 2018-03-12 17:18:27.png snap_spotify.gif
ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

> I now have Spotify. All it takes 'snap install spotify'. Trisquel 8.

If your copy of SNAP really came from Trisquel 8, and you manage to
install Spotify by doing `snap install spotify' without needing to add
any other repository/store/whatever, then this installation of Spotify
*is* a bug. The bug is not the existance of SNAP.

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loldier
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Joined: 02/17/2016

One only needs to install snapd, which is in the repos, and then install the snap. That’s it. Installing anything proprietary has never been easier than this. There’s Skype a few commands away. Not quite like what one would expect from a free libre distro, such as Trisquel. Sadly, the OP is dead right. It’s an issue.

And yes, it’s T8. I swear, untinkered.

calher
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Joined: 06/19/2015

name at domain wrote ..
> I now have Spotify. All it takes 'snap install spotify'. Trisquel 8.

Wut. Screenshot?

mason

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I am a translator!

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Joined: 07/07/2017

It works (see screenshot). Spotify and other proprietary software are also recommended in Gnome Software Center (see other screenshot). I reported the latter as a licensing issue

https://trisquel.info/en/issues/23466

months ago, but had not actually attempted installing any proprietary to see if it would work. Apparently it does.

Even after running

$ snap remove spotify

Gnome Software still says it's installed. When I try to remove it within Gnome Software I get

"Detailed errors from the package manager follow: snapd returned status code 400: Bad Request"

Gnome Software is pretty buggy to begin with, so hopefully Spotify is indeed no longer installed. I may reinstall Trisquel to be safe though.

Perhaps snapd should be temporarily removed until this is issue fixed.

Screenshot from 2018-03-12 12-24-13.png Screenshot from 2018-03-12 11-50-40.png
CalmStorm

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Joined: 12/31/2014

Hate to break it to you all, but gdebi and dpkg can be used to install propietary software also...

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Joined: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> Hate to break it to you all, but gdebi and dpkg can be used to install
> propietary software  also...

The issue is not whether a program can be used to install proprietary
software. The issue is whether a program comes configured by default to
"steer users towards obtaining any nonfree information for practical use,
or encourage them to do so".

The Free System Distribution Guidelines at
https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html make
this distinction:

> A free system distribution must not steer users towards obtaining any
> nonfree information for practical use, or encourage them to do so. The
> system should have no repositories for nonfree software and no specific
> recipes for installation of particular nonfree programs. Nor should the
> distribution refer to third-party repositories that are not committed to
> only including free software; even if they only have free software
> today, that may not be true tomorrow. Programs in the system should not
> suggest installing nonfree plugins, documentation, and so on.

name at domain reported that Snap was configured by default to install
nonfree information for practical use, such as Skype and Spotify.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Exactly. So this should be reported as a bug in the bug tracker against Trisquel 8.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

Ah, I see that's already been done: https://trisquel.info/en/issues/23918

So, 'nuff said. Thanks for reporting this!

CalmStorm

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Joined: 12/31/2014

I didn't realize that was the issue.

Okay, you have a point.

Never is it good to steer people towards proprietary crap. Even if its optional.

As Stallman says, optionally free is not enough.

Though in today's day and age it would be awesome just to have optionally free hardware. That's a far cry from what we have now.

aloniv

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Joined: 01/11/2011

How is this any different to pip or easy_install?

ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

> How is this any different to pip or easy_install?

As far as I know, it's not different from these, because all of those
three have external default repositories. Perhaps we have to seek help
from other free/libre system distribution projects since these patches
might be useful to all these projects.

The issue is also seen with npm. Note that I don't know if Trisquel's pip,
easy_install or npm have these issues, I only mentioned that they have
these issues by default because I already experienced this in other
distros a long time ago.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

There was a discussion of that on the gnu-linux-libre mailing list. The thread was "programming language package manager" if anyone wants to read it.

TL;DR: It's not any different and, to the extent that language-specific package managers contain non-free software, this same issue is raised and should be addressed. As you can see from the mailing list Guix is on it.