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Re: Ubuntu at MWC in Barcelona


On 02/28/2017 01:28 AM, Mathijs Veen wrote:
The additional move from click to  snap has slowed us down and that is
unfortunate. Canonical sort of shot themselves in the foot by
introducing .clicks first. Click has been nucleus of what snap is now
but the move from one to the other has obviously set them back. For
histories sake, i would be very interested to know whether or not it was
already decided in 2013 at the launch of the first ubuntu touch image
that .click was  going to be a temporary thing. Snap is an additional
improvement on Ubuntu but it doesnt say anything about the strategy for
phones/tablets one way or another.

Canonical has been pretty clear all along that snaps were basically click 2.0, and they took the lessons learned from developing a self-contained packaging format and decided that by extending that, they could create something that would actually fulfill a role on all Ubuntu devices in a universal manner.

We can see pretty clearly that while snaps have some issues to overcome (confinement is *really* hard to introduce in a way that doesn't cripple apps that were not designed with confinement in mind), the progress since April has been incredible, and today I can enjoy the latest version of LibreOffice or run Nextcloud on a server without worrying about my version of Ubuntu or what version is in the repositories.

This universal, Ubuntu Core-based developer story is what will allow a developer to package an app with very little regard to compatibility and let it run on any Ubuntu device, be it phone, tablet, desktop, or server. This has been slower progress on the architectural side, but because this allows developers to target Ubuntu 16.04 and package their dependencies, it means that as support rolls out to hardware and devices, any snap will run anywhere.

Even with Ubuntu Core images for different reference platforms, all of the hardware enablement is contained in a single snap. If you snapify the drivers and boot enablement for a platform, you only have to take the core snap and create an image and you have a system. This is radically simpler than the current "build a read-only image that wraps all the drivers and Ubuntu ecosystem and default software." It will be a case of a hardware enablement project handling the gadget snap that enables the hardware, throwing in the core snap, the unity8 snap, and whatever default applications they want to offer, and creating an image.

The road ahead is rocky, and I'm not happy that the Nexus 7 I bought specifically for Ubuntu is worthless for that now (although it makes a decent YouTube/Netflix player under Android 6.0). But the Ubuntu phones were always marketed as developer reference platforms, and in the end, the transition to snaps should make snap-compatible platforms effortless to support.

So yes, Canonical's promises to support devices for two LTSes is broken, and that's not pleasant. But the full-snap-based images of the future are going to be something that work across all Ubuntu form factors. Cloud, server, desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. And while it may be cold comfort for current device holders, it's going to bring that promise of full convergence to reality.

I'm looking forward to it.

Nathan Haines
Ubuntu - http://www.ubuntu.com/