In yet another highly controversial move, Canonical announced that future Ubuntu flavor editions would not support Flatpak by default.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, Ubuntu = Linux for human beings. Surely, however, in some other life, on some different planet, in some really far, far away galaxy. Canonical never stops to amaze, adding another bright shining star to their rich collection of unpopular decisions. In short, starting with its upcoming April 20 release Ubuntu 23.04 “Lunar Lobster,” Ubuntu flavors will no longer include default support for Flatpak apps.
But let’s see what the official announcement says first, and then I’ll give my thoughts on it.
As part of our combined efforts, the Ubuntu flavors have made a joint decision to adjust some of the default packages on Ubuntu: Going forward, the Flatpak package as well as the packages to integrate Flatpak into the respective software center will no longer be installed by default in the next release due in April 2023, Lunar Lobster.
We think this will improve the out-of-the-box Ubuntu experience for new users while respecting how existing users personalize their own experiences.
Let’s start with some necessary clarifications. First, by relying on and trying to force the internally developed Snap format on users, Ubuntu has never included Flatpak support in the default installation of its releases. So there are no surprises here. However, there are some surprises in the Ubuntu flavors segment, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, etc.
These are mainly independent distributions that make their own decisions about the software they include. However, according to the official statement, they unanimously decided that to improve the user experience, they needed to deprive their users of Flatpak support at the expense of Snap. And this is where things get ugly.
Because we’re not talking Flatpak vs. Snap here anymore, we’re not even talking about the fact that there will be no Flatpak support in the default installations. This is about much more than that. It’s about Canonical’s autocratic approach to everything with their brand, slapping people who believe in words like community, open source philosophy, and so on in the face – addendum – once again.
The lack of Flatpak support is not even something to comment on from a technical standpoint. Any user with even basic knowledge can add it in seconds with a single APT command. About Flatpak itself, in the case of Canonical, they are trying to make the river flow back, washing away the already plummeting number of devoted Ubuntu supporters.
Think that’s too bold a statement? Every “best Linux” list began with Ubuntu only a few years ago. But that is no longer the case these days. Other distros listen more to the voice of the community around them and not taking sharp turns, like Linux Mint and Fedora, for example, are now recommended as the best Linux desktop for new users.
And there is a reason for this, which is more ideological than technical: Ubuntu acts autocratically to its community, with no way to predict the next served surprise. But the phrases “autocracy,” “open source,” and “community” never could and never will be put together meaningfully in the same sentence.
Nearly 19 years ago, the Ubuntu wave changed the open-source world forever by attracting millions of followers to its cause. But unfortunately, it is now rapidly losing followers, albeit at the expense of many new business clients, which has been Canonical’s ultimate goal in recent years.
So, in yet another bold move, Ubuntu has spectacularly shot itself in the foot by forcing its opinion on all flavors to remove Flatpak support by default in its releases at the expense of Snap. Sometimes I even think that the desktop version of Ubuntu has become some annoying add-on for Canonical to their server edition, around which much of their business revolves and where all efforts are focused.
Anyway. Only time will tell where Canonical can get with its cannonade of unpopular decisions soon. However, all indications point out that we haven’t seen anything yet and that the best is yet to come.
Goodbye Ubuntu and good riddance Ubuntu. You never learn.
I remember when Ubuntu changed the software store to hide the amount of stars an app had because they didn’t like how their favorite apps were not rated number one.
Will we see an article of yours claiming how terrible is RedHat support for snaps? Oh, wait a minute: it’s exactly the same as Ubuntu support for flatpak. Duh…
OMG I have to enable Flatpak!!! What am i going to do? Get over it. So many Linux drama queens. Ridiculous. Snaps are better. Read the facts before you answer. Ubuntu – Ride or Die. It justs works. Rock solid.
Canonical forcing their buggy snap package management instead of using the widely adopted flatpak solution which works well on many other distros. Time to move to Linux Mint.
Flatpak will still be there as a ton of other software that is not installed by default.
`sudo apt install flatpak` and your “problem” is solved. Do you complain that Ubunutu doesn’t come with 4 office suites or 6 browsers installed?
Yawn! No biggie. Flatpak is in the repo. Install iso. Delete the bloat. Install synaptic and gdebi. Delete the snaposphere. Open synaptic. Install flatpak and install repo. Install gnome software with flatpak support package. reboot. Install a bunch of other missing packages. Good to go.
Ubuntu is a commercial entity. Being purely snap by default better insures reliability and stability for corporate customers. Makes it possible for them to be certified for a bunch of professional regulations that corporations are required to comply with. So what if I have to take a few steps when I install it. At the end of the day, I still find Ubuntu is attractive and pretty much stone cold stable.
I get it. I hope the awfulizing and reactivity will pause for a minute. Different is not bad. And it’s not personal.
Forever Ubuntu Canonical Chief CcC Snap CcC