Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will bring snap packages for up-to-date apps

Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, has announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will come with support for the snap packaging format and tools. As a result, end users will get more up-to-date apps, something that proved tricky in the past due “the complexity of packaging and providing updates”, which prevented updates to some apps being delivered.

Currently, deb packages are used to install software on Ubuntu. Deb packages are also the main means of installing software on some other Linux distributions including Debian and Linux Mint. Canonical says that installation of deb packages in Ubuntu will remain unchanged, noting that the "two packaging formats live quite comfortably next to one another" for software distributions beyond the release of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but will also support snaps (snappy apps). Derivatives of Ubuntu such as Linux Mint will be able to run snap-packaged software too.

Snaps will make the Ubuntu platform more unified, programmers will more easily be able to create software for PC, Server, Mobile, or IoT devices. Once an app has been written, developers use a tool called Snapcraft to package their apps and dependencies, finally, the app is uploaded to the app store where users can download the app, and get updates that the developer can easily push out.

The other major benefit of snaps is that that they're more secure than software installed through deb packages. Snaps are isolated from the rest of the system, meaning that malware packaged with a snap won't be able to affect your Ubuntu installation.

Although snaps are primarily targeted at Unity7, the desktop environment shipping with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, they will also work on different desktop environments including but not exclusive to: Unity8, KDE, XFCE, Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE, and more.

Source: Ubuntu Insights

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