Clear Linux Developers Weigh Supporting Snaps

Written by Michael Larabel in Clear Linux on 7 November 2018 at 06:47 AM EST. 31 Comments
While Clear Linux augments their package/bundle archive with Flatpak support on the desktop, they are currently deciding whether to also support Snaps that are commonly associated with Ubuntu Linux.

In responding to a user feature request to add Snap support to the performance-optimized distribution in order to support more desktop software, the response was initially rejected. The basis was that they would rather ship optimized versions of these source-based programs in Clear itself, "Our goal isn't to make desktop applications less optimized and include these in clearlinux natively (as much as possible). If software is only available as snap and not as source code, than that is a problem on the upstream side of things."

The matter of Snap support on the Intel OTC operating system was then brought up on their mailing list. Among the highlights from that discussion so far:

- Some waiting on Clear Linux to properly support Chromium/Chrome with hardware-accelerated FFmpeg support... This does appear to be quite a common request on the Clear Linux desktop front. That FFmpeg support needed for Chromium has so far been blocked on legal grounds similar to other Linux distributions until having a cleaned-up / sanitized version to ship.

- The possibility to support Snap simply because many desktop applications that are closed-source end up only being distributed as Snaps rather than Flatpaks.

- Contributing to Snap still requires the Canonical Contributor License Agreement (CLA) and that is a turn-off to some parties.

- There's the possibility that Clear Linux developers could begin shipping "Clear Linux optimized" run-times for Flatpak that could help out other Linux distributions benefit from the countless optimizations achieved by these Intel developers.

It will be interesting to see what they end up deciding with regards to Snaps. Separately, the possibility of Clear Linux optimized run-times for Flatpak also is quite enticing given the many performance optimizations currently presented by this Linux distribution that could then be utilized easily for Flatpak-packaged software on other distributions. Of course, this wouldn't be as good as running the complete Clear Linux stack given the kernel differences, etc, but as we've seen from our Clear Linux Docker/container benchmarks even with just the optimized user-space can be a big deal in many workloads.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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