On Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 8:22 AM Richard Hughes <hughsient(a)gmail.com> wrote:
In Fedora 31 I'll be disabling the snap plugin from GNOME Software.
It's never been enabled in RHEL and so this change only affects
Fedora. It's also not installed by default and so this change should
only affect a few people. It's also not really a FutureFeature, it's a
RemovalOfFeature but I'm happy to write something for the process and
release notes if required.
Recently Canonical decided that they are not going to be installing
gnome-software in the next LTS, preferring instead to ship a "Snap
Store by Canonical" rather than GNOME Software. The new Snap store
will obviously not support Flatpaks (or packages, or even firmware
updates for that matter). The developers currently assigned to work on
gnome-software have been reassigned to work on Snap Store, and I'm not
confident they'll be able to keep both the old and new codebases in
the air at the same time.
This is completely news to me. As far as I knew, Canonical was still
actively committed to maintaining the snap plugin upstream and
advancing it as a solution for distro integration for snaps in
My understanding of the situation was that Canonical is working on a
separate experience tailored for Ubuntu because they have extra needs,
but all of it was built on GNOME Software in the first place.
As you might know, enabling the snap plugin also enables the
Store" which seemingly violates the same rules which prevent us
installing Flathub by default (enabling access to nonfree software,
and software with patent restrictions). Without the Snap Store the
snap support is pretty useless, as snapd is so tied to the snapcraft
ecosystem, and because you can't actually run your own instance of the
snap store, unlike Flatpak.
My opinion on this is that because we don't ship the plugin or snapd
by default on any variant of Fedora, we don't really run counter to
the rules. If there's something more specific you'd like for the snap
integration in Fedora to do, that can be discussed separately and
please talk to me off-list about it.
The existing snap plugin is not very well tested and I don't want
be the one responsible when it breaks. At the moment enabling the snap
plugin causes the general UX of gnome-software to degrade, as all
search queries are also routed through snapd rather than being handled
in the same process. The design of snapd also means that packages just
get updated behind gnome-software's back, and so it's very hard to do
anything useful in the UI, or to make things like metered data work
correctly. There's also still no sandboxing support years after it was
promised, which means on Fedora running a snap is no more secure than
"wget -O - URL | bash", again much unlike Flatpak.
This actually hasn't been true for almost a year (snapd has seccomp
and other filters in place), and in the last few months, we've rolled
out *very basic* SELinux support into snapd. Today, snaps are
sandboxed through the snapd-selinux policy, which generally confines
snaps to only interacting with each other, and select holes for system
We've been working very hard upstream on improving this story for
Fedora, and we've made tremendous progress.
I appreciate this is going to be controversial, and that some people
want snap support turned back on in GNOME Software. My answer there
would be that I'm perfectly happy with someone creating a new
gnome-software-snap top-level package (plugins in gnome-software are
just runtime loaded .so objects, rather than all compiled together)
and then they're responsible for keeping it up to date with any plugin
ABI breaks in gnome-software upstream (usually once per GNOME cycle)
and for any API or behaviour changes in snapd-glib. Basically, as long
as it's not my email that gets pinged by bugzilla when it breaks it's
fine. There was some suggestion that upstream we'd remove the snap
plugin completely, but I think it will remain until we see if snap
support improves or deteriorates further.
Would it make sense for Zygmunt and Maciek (CC'd to this email) to be
added as CC contacts on Bugzilla, so they can address snap plugin
issues when they arise?
Comments welcome, but anyone who insults me or insists I do more
than I'm doing now will be ignored.
I'm just generally confused about this, and somewhat blindsided...
I wish someone had looped *me* into these conversations, as one of the
snap support maintainers in Fedora, I'm relying on these things to
provide a good experience for Fedora users of snaps...
真実はいつも一つ！/ Always, there's only one truth!