Cannot install GNOME Software

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calher

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se unió: 06/19/2015

I can't get GNOME Software installed.

cal@user-ThinkPad-X200:~$ sudo apt install gnome-software
[sudo] password for cal: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies.
 gnome-software : Depends: libsnapd-glib1 (>= 0.9) but it is not
installable
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
cal@user-ThinkPad-X200:~$ 

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

> The following packages have unmet dependencies.
>  gnome-software : Depends: libsnapd-glib1 (>= 0.9) but it is not
> installable

libsnapd-glib1 was removed due to a freedom issue[1] whereby snap was recommending non-free software. gnome-software had also been recommending non-free software[2] for what appeared to be the same reason. Removing libsnapd-glib1 broke gnome-software. The solution might be to remove libsnapd-glib1 as a dependency of gnome-software.

For now you could use gnome-app-install instead.

[1] https://trisquel.info/en/issues/23918
[2] https://trisquel.info/en/issues/23466

calher

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se unió: 06/19/2015

Patch the software so it doesn't do the offensive thing.  Don't just
rip it out.  That's what free software is all about.  This is why I
hate Trisquel.

jxself
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se unió: 09/13/2010

"That's what free software is all about."

So is the act of deleting. :)

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and say that someone should do more than they did.

calher

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se unió: 06/19/2015

Why not just stop using computers altogether? naehusnoathu

chaosmonk

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> Patch the software so it doesn't do the offensive thing.  Don't just
> rip it out.

In general I agree that this is preferable, but this takes time. Ruben only has so much, and it's probably better spent on other things than snap and gnome-software.

It looks like most of the software available through snap that isn't already in the repo is proprietary. If it were patched to only install free software, few people would have a use for it.

Even with the freedom-hostile dependency removed, gnome-software would still be a buggy mess (inherited from Ubuntu, not Trisquel's fault). I recently tried Fedora 27. I would expect Fedora to have a pretty polished GNOME 3 experience, especially since 27 had been out for six months at the time. gnome-software didn't even display any programs at first. Every category was empty. I found a workaround for the bug, after which gnome-software still had the same problems it does in Ubuntu (some programs appear twice, some appear as installable after having been installed, slow filtering) and an additional bug (categories were mislabled). Red Hat has way more resources than Trisquel. If even they can't get gnome-software working, I think Trisquel is better off sticking with gnome-app-install. It is not perfect either, but does the same thing with fewer bugs, and it doesn't prioritize creating an Apple-Store-like experience over easily finding and installing the program you want.

icarolongo
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se unió: 03/26/2011

Well, I'm tired of sluggish of GNOME, MATE, XFCE. Now I'm KDE Plasma 5 user. Discover works very well (not like the bugged GNOME Software). And KDE Plasma 5 runs fast and smooth with all effects enabled on 11 years old laptop with Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM.

andyprough
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se unió: 02/12/2015

Discover seemed very nice and stable and responsive. Have you found a way to disable the Flathub repository? It kept recommending Spotify and Skype and so forth, no matter what settings I tried.

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

> It kept recommending Spotify and Skype and
> so forth, no matter what settings I tried.

In Trisquel? If so it should be reported as a freedom issue.

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

andyprough
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se unió: 02/12/2015

No, it was on a different system. I can't find it if I search for "discover" with apt on my Trisquel system. The "discover" package available on my Trisquel laptop is a CLI app that shows you what all your hardware is. Pretty nifty little thing.

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

The package name in Trisquel is plasma-discover. I just installed and tried running it and got an error:

"Error: Invalid item (item was 'null'). This might indicate that the item was deleted outside StackView!"

but that might be because I was running it from MATE and don't have the full Plasma desktop installed.

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

I use KDE on a free/libre Debian system (without any non-free firmware). It never recommends non-free software. What is your distribution? Maybe you can manually check the repository setting file(s).

onpon4
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se unió: 05/30/2012

I used Ubuntu 16.04 before switching back to Trisquel 7 recently, and it was a nightmare specifically because of the problem with Snap packages. I simply could not search for libre software in GNOME Software; every time I did a search, I would get all these Snap packages, completely unmarked, and scarcely any results from the actual software repository. So even though I'd disabled the "Multiverse" and "Restricted" repositories, it was completely useless; it was like Linux Mint all over again, with a jumbled mess of libre software I might want to install and proprietary software that I definitely don't. I ended up abandoning Software entirely and using the command-line tools exclusively.

Modifying Software to fix this problem would be a very nice thing indeed. Until then, it's probably easiest to just stick to other tools. Do contribute to a solution, though, preferably as far upstream as possible.

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

> Modifying Software to fix this problem would be a very nice thing indeed.
> Until then, it's probably easiest to just stick to other tools. Do
> contribute to a solution, though, preferably as far upstream as possible.

Unfortunately, upstream probably sees it as a feature rather than a problem.

onpon4
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se unió: 05/30/2012

Yeah, I know. I'm sure it can help to work together with the Debian and Fedora communities, though. They've been really helpful when it comes to this sort of thing in the past (especially Fedora).

The point is, if we only have a downstream solution, we'll be constantly patching the upstream code, and that should be avoided if possible.

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

Snap is a bug, not a feature. So is Ubuntu (or Canonical)...

And I was extremely disappointed when I upgraded my (manually liberated) Mint 18.3 to 19. The updater program automatically re-installed many non-free software, firmware and even codecs without my consent. It also re-enabled the non-free repositories of Ubuntu which I disabled as soon as I initially installed the system. I backed up my files and then trashed the entire system.

chaosmonk

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It looks like Debian testing introduces a plugin[1] for Snap integration, which Ubuntu has included[2] since 17.10. If this means that Ubuntu has removed Snap integration from gnome-software itself, then p
erhaps this will not be an issue in Ubuntu 18.04/Trisquel 9.

In the meantime, I was interested to see what would happen if I installed gnome-software without libsnapd-glib1, so I modified the deb package to no longer require libsnapd-glib1 and installed.

$ apt download gnome-software
$ tar x gnome-software_3.20.5-0ubuntu0.16.04.11_amd64.deb
$ tar -xzf control.tar.gz
$ sed -e s/"libsnapd-glib1 (>= 0.9), "//g -i control
$ tar -cvzf control.tar.gz control
$ ar rcs newpackage.deb debian-binary control.tar.gz data.tar.xz
$ sudo apt install libappstream-glib8 libfwupd1 libgtkspell3-3-0
$ sudo dpkg -i newpackage.deb

gnome-software was successfully installed. Upon launching it, I found that it no longer recommends proprietary software as it did before libsnapd-glib1 was removed from the repo. However, it also does not display any software that has not already been installed.

This bug has also appeared in Fedora[3] and Ubuntu[4]. If I recall correctly, prior to the removal of
libsnapd-glib1 gnome-software only showed installed packages and Snap packages, so it could also be
related to this[5].

None of the workarounds suggested in these threads worked for me. After messing around with packagekitd for a while I gave up. I also found many threads about gnome-software not displaying any programs at all, which is the problem I ran into with gnome-software when I tried Fedora. I tried some of those workarounds, even though it's a slightly different issue, and had no luck.

TL;DR: If libsnapd-glib1 were removed as a dependency of gnome-software, then gnome-software would be installable again and no longer recommend proprietary software, but it would still not work do to another bug that seems to be from upstream.

[1] https://packages.debian.org/buster/gnome-software-plugin-snap
[2] https://packages.ubuntu.com/artful/gnome-software-plugin-snap
[3] https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/307983/gnome-software-packagekit-lists-only-installed-packages
[4] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-software/+bug/1548933
[5] https://askubuntu.com/questions/1050694/the-gnome-software-center-shows-few-apps/1050938

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

I am currently using Debian testing (buster) with Gnome (3.28) DE. The snap package plugin is absent, and Gnome Software doesn't recommend non-free software. However, it does provide a long list of installable free software.

The command
dpkg -l | grep snap
gives nothing.

It seems that Debian never includes snap package (anti-)feature by default.

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

> The snap
> package plugin is absent

Do you mean that gnome-software-plugin-snap is not installable with non-free and contrib disabled?

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

The package "gnome-software-plugin-snap" is in the "main" repository of Debian.

It is just not installed by default. I wonder what would happen if I install it manually.

If it does recommend any non-free software, I would like to report this as a freedom issue to Debian.

chaosmonk

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> I wonder what would happen if I install
> it manually.

I'm interested to know. Do you mind trying and letting me know?

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

Just before I tried to install "gnome-software-plugin-snap", I carefully checked my "/etc/apt/sources.list" file again to make sure that both "contrib" and "non-free" repositories were disabled.

After installing the Snap package plugin, I restarted the system and then browsed each category. I didn't see any non-free software immediately. The listed packages were largely the same, with or without Snap package plugin installed. This is probably because I only enabled the "main" repository. Things might be different if I enabled the non-free repositories.

Of course, I cannot verify the license(s) one by one. And I'm rather annoyed that in the "License" field for each package, only an ambiguous word "Free" was shown. (Is it free as in freedom or just as in free beer?)

To sum up, I strongly discourage everyone to use Gnome Software. Use the package manager from Terminal instead, for the sake of freedom.

chaosmonk

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> After installing the Snap package plugin, I restarted the system and then
> browsed each category. I didn't see any non-free software immediately. The
> listed packages were largely the same, with or without Snap package plugin
> installed.

Sounds like the situation is better than it is in Ubuntu and better than it was in Trisquel before snap was removed. Spotify and other proprietary crap is/was immediately obvious.

> This is probably because I only enabled the "main" repository.
> Things might be different if I enabled the non-free repositories.

That's what I wonder about. Since Snap packages are from third-parties, they wouldn't be in Debian's non-free or contrib repos anyway. In Ubuntu I assume that GNOME Software searches the "Snap Store"[1], but I'm not sure what it would do in Debian. What is the output of

$ snap find libreoffice
$ snap find spotify

? I'm interested to know what free or non-free software 'snap find' points to in Debian.

> To sum up, I strongly discourage everyone to use Gnome Software. Use the
> package manager from Terminal instead, for the sake of freedom.

I think it is fine, important even, to have a graphical front end to the package manager. We should try to avoid the misconception that only proprietary operating systems are user-friendly enough for the average desktop user. Snap, on the other hand, I worry about. While it's possible to distribute free software as a Snap package, most common free software is already in the repos, and what isn't is buildable from source. Snap seems to be disproportionately useful to proprietary software developers, as their software is often only available as a binary and distributed by as many repos.

In reading about Snap I came across a good example[2] demonstrating that (1) it is risky to install random out-of-repo software, (2) it is especially risky to install proprietary software, (3) it is irresponsible for a distro to distribute third-party and/or proprietary software, and (4) free software developers should use a copyleft license to protect their work, as a pushover license allows their well-intentioned labor to be exploited to create malicious software.

[1] https://snapcraft.io/store
[2] https://www.linuxuprising.com/2018/05/malware-found-in-ubuntu-snap-store.html

andyprough
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se unió: 02/12/2015

Using Snap to install free software is also going to come with a pretty significant performance tax on your system. Those packages have quite a bit of extra baggage they are installing in terms of their sandboxing environment and the other elements that are required to build and install packages in that manner.

They claim to have increased security, and I believe that's probably true if compared to downloading a random tarball package off the internet and installing it. But I have serious doubts about Snap security benefits compared to using your own distro's repository or compiling it yourself from a trusted and verifiable source.

Probably where Snap is most useful is the situation where you have a package with a good copyleft license, but for some reason it needs to rely on dependencies that are out of date, and which would break your system if you installed them. I've had that situation arise some years ago with scanner and OCR software, and I would have appreciated the ability to install it along with its dependencies as a sandboxed Snap package.

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

Sorry. I already deleted Gnome after testing the snap plugin (and subsequently re-installed MATE). Would you mind testing it using a virtual machine by yourself? (Note: without its contrib or non-free repo, Debian can be considered free/libre.)

Again, I agree that we need a graphical frontend for software center. But Gnome Software isn't a solution (in its current form). It is spreading misconceptions and confusion. It even spreads non-free software if the plugins and the system's software sources are incorrectly configured.

chaosmonk

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> Sorry. I already deleted Gnome after testing the snap plugin (and
> subsequently re-installed MATE).

No worries. Thanks for testing as much as you did. I'd have done it myself, but sadly virtualizion is the one thing I've run into where my 2GB RAM is not enough.

> Again, I agree that we need a graphical frontend for software center. But
> Gnome Software isn't a solution (in its current form). It is spreading
> misconceptions and confusion. It even spreads non-free software if the
> plugins and the system's software sources are incorrectly configured.

I agree. Like that of Ubuntu Software Center did, the design of GNOME Software seems to present the repository as a "store". This already is confusing for beginners who are not used to how packaging works in a GNU/Linux distribution but are used the Micro$oft Store, crApple Store, or Screwgle Play. It gets even more confusing when software from the Snap Store is mixed in with software that has been packaged by the maintainers. The malicious, proprietary version of 2048 I linked to in my last comment could easily be confused with the free version in the Ubuntu and Trisquel repositories.

nadebula.1984
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se unió: 05/01/2018

I installed a copy of Debian testing with Gnome 3.28 in a virtual machine. Both contrib and non-free repositories are disabled.

Even with gnome-software-plugin-snap installed, Gnome Software in Debian doesn't recommend any non-free software, as previously reported. So in a correctly configured distribution, gnome-software-plugin-snap by itself does neither good nor harm.

However, when I tried to search snap packages using "snap find" command, it DOES return (suspected) non-free software such as spotify. I also tried to run "snap find google" and got a long list of suspected non-free software related to Google's SaaSS.

Though Debian users cannot install such non-free software from the Gnome Software's graphical front end, it's still considered a potential freedom issue, because users can be lured to try to use those non-free software.

Note: output for command "snap find spotify"
spotify
tizonia
vsslagent
magnesium

chaosmonk

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> However, when I tried to search snap packages using "snap find" command, it
> DOES return (suspected) non-free software such as spotify. I also tried to
> run "snap find google" and got a long list of suspected non-free software
> related to Google's SaaSS.
>
> Though Debian users cannot install such non-free software from the Gnome
> Software's graphical front end, it's still considered a potential freedom
> issue, because users can be lured to try to use those non-free software.

Thanks for checking. It was certainly considered a freedom issue when the same problem was discovered in Trisquel. However, unlike the GNU FSDG[1], which prohibits guiding users toward non-free software, the DFSG[2] only seems considered with the license of software included in Debian. Although it is a tool for installing proprietary software, Snap itself is under a free license, so Debian might accept it as they do Pocket and Firefox's recommendation of non-free addons.

[1] https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html
[2] https://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

chaosmonk

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se unió: 07/07/2017

Crap. I just realized that my somewhat long message never went through. Resending:

It looks like Debian testing introduces a plugin[1] for Snap integration, which Ubuntu has included[2] since 17.10. If this means that Ubuntu has removed Snap integration from gnome-software itself, then p
erhaps this will not be an issue in Ubuntu 18.04/Trisquel 9.

In the meantime, I was interested to see what would happen if I installed gnome-software without libsnapd-glib1, so I modified the deb package to no longer require libsnapd-glib1 and installed.

$ apt download gnome-software
$ tar x gnome-software_3.20.5-0ubuntu0.16.04.11_amd64.deb
$ tar -xzf control.tar.gz
$ sed -e s/"libsnapd-glib1 (>= 0.9), "//g -i control
$ tar -cvzf control.tar.gz control
$ ar rcs newpackage.deb debian-binary control.tar.gz data.tar.xz
$ sudo apt install libappstream-glib8 libfwupd1 libgtkspell3-3-0
$ sudo dpkg -i newpackage.deb

gnome-software was successfully installed. Upon launching it, I found that it no longer recommends proprietary software as it did before libsnapd-glib1 was removed from the repo. However, it also does not display any software that has not already been installed.

This bug has also appeared in Fedora[3] and Ubuntu[4]. If I recall correctly, prior to the removal of
libsnapd-glib1 gnome-software only showed installed packages and Snap packages, so it could also be
related to this[5].

None of the workarounds suggested in these threads worked for me. After messing around with packagekitd for a while I gave up. I also found many threads about gnome-software not displaying any programs at all, which is the problem I ran into with gnome-software when I tried Fedora. I tried some of those workarounds, even though it's a slightly different issue, and had no luck.

TL;DR: If libsnapd-glib1 were removed as a dependency of gnome-software, then gnome-software would be installable again and no longer recommend proprietary software, but it would still not work do to another bug that seems to be from upstream.

[1] https://packages.debian.org/buster/gnome-software-plugin-snap
[2] https://packages.ubuntu.com/artful/gnome-software-plugin-snap
[3] https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/307983/gnome-software-packagekit-lists-only-installed-packages
[4] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-software/+bug/1548933
[5] https://askubuntu.com/questions/1050694/the-gnome-software-center-shows-few-apps/1050938