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Very long time user of Linux on all my computers (servers included, well at least since Linux is usable around 1992/1993), I have to confess that last evolutions of one of the most famous distributions: Ubuntu looks to me quite far of Linux spirit and move more and more into same IT bullshit company as Micro$oft.

Since ever in Linux and whatever the distribution, we can use a very efficient and easy tool for minor and major updates that is named repository. That tool allows to distribute very easily software updates used by your distribution. Nevertheless, it has a little inconvenient. Due to large number of different distros, you need multiple version of package for a same application to make it compatible with different distros (not even speaking the different package formats: deb for debian based distros, rpm for redhat ones and so on).

With this in mind, Canonical decides to develop a new package format that would be universal: SNAP (a unique package working on all distros) but in IT most of time that sort of concept ends up with a messy system. The concept is to allow application developers to release only one version of their application that would work on all Linux distros supporting SNAP 🙂 But this little advantage has a lot of very annoying side effects:

  • no warranty of any updates of the app as it’s still the task of developers to maintain app
  • “sandboxed” system which implies a lot of difficulties/issues when app needs to interact with filesystem or peripherals for example
  • mandatory to install a SNAP manager to be able to run applications in that format
  • none protection at all against forged apps or non legitimate modification
  • serious lack of performance as app is no more optimised for your distro
  • app is isolated from system making notifications and interactions with host system impossible or very restricted
  • visual integration of app no more possible (running in a sandbox, app can’t use system theme for example)
  • automatic updates of apps out of control of user (Canonical reuses the great ideas of Micro$oft…)
  • total non respect of open-source as there is only one SNAP server, centralised at Canonical, non open-source and in full control of Canonical (yes again it reminds Micro$oft habits)
  • explosion de la taille des app sur le disque dur car du coup au lieu de télécharger une version optimisée pour votre système vous chargez une version générique avec toutes les dépendances possibles et imaginables pour la faire tourner sur toutes les distributions supportées

Considering all advantages and as Canonical follows same rules than some big IT companies (they don’t work to optimise tools for the users/customers but push some marketing and bling/bling features), Ubuntu 21.10 contains by default Firefoy in SNAP version and no more as a deb package because nothing better than to force users to use the new bullshit sorry feature you developed ! So now, thanks to that shitty work, you have to use Firefox with these features thanks to SNAP:

  • impossible to get Firefox as default browser (at each startup it tells you it’s not default browser, you have to reconfirm and when you do you get a popup of ubuntu to do system modifications, and it restarts the whole process at next startup 🙁
  • temp folder of Firefox in your downloads directory and no way to change that
  • system integration is no more possible so no more Firefox notifications neither capabilities to interact with Firefox neither uniformity of system theme
  • each time you download a file you get a notification from system to choose app to open it with, as automatic associations are not working

It’s true that web browser is not really an app used often so Canonical has decided it’s ok to go this way… It’s really behaviour of a commercial company such as Micro$oft where they know they produce shitty code but as marketing is pushing for new “features” they release it as it is… And don’t forget it has been done in agreement with Mozilla fundation that has forgotten open source spirit since quite a few years already :(….

My task in next few days/weeks is going to find a new distro to use that respects open-source spirit and that doesn’t follow a pure commercial and marketing non sense spirit that messes everything including open-source unhappy !


PS: if you made the mistake to install Ubuntu 21.10, here is the simple way to get back at standard Firefox:

sudo snap remove firefox
sudo apt install firefox

PS Bis: article explaining how to get rid of that nasty snap tool in distros based on ubuntu:

PS Terce: an other confirmation that Canonical is not interested to promote the tools they sell !! They use Google tools instead of open-source existing equivalents…