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Ubuntu Devs Testing Chromium Browser Transition From Deb To Snap Package

Chromium snap Ubuntu

Ubuntu will soon offer Chromium browser as a snap package instead of a regular deb package. This is not only for the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine, but also for the already released Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo), and for LTS releases, like Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver).

For a fist step, the Chromium deb package in Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) has been updated to install the stable snap on both upgrade or a new install. Once the transition is fully tested, "it will be rolled out to stable releases, starting with disco and then the LTSes".

After this, Chromium will no longer be available as a deb package for Ubuntu users, installing the snap package being the only option.

Ubuntu developer Olivier Tilloy mentioned that the transition from deb to snap is not being debated though, as it's "a firm plan that will eventually save a lot of engineering, builder and maintenance resources by removing the need to build every new version of chromium on all supported Ubuntu releases".

A few users has expressed some concerns with the Chromium snap package having some issues, like the file picker opening in the wrong location, or that the application does not use the system theme when using the snap package. I wanted to see what's the current state of these issues in Ubuntu 19.04 (which I'm currently using), and:

  • the file picker opened in the correct location for me, using the stable Chromium snap. So if someone has an issue with this in some other Ubuntu version, it will most probably be fixed
  • the correct (Yaru) theme was used on my system using the stable Chromium snap. The file picker was not themed correctly though, having issues with the buttons, and using the wrong icon theme

About the Chromium snap package theming, I should mention that while it does support the Yaru theme (and the file picker dialog issues will most probably be fixed), that's not the case if you use some (Yaru, along with some other themes do work - Ambiance or Ark for example) third-party Gtk themes. In such cases, Adwaita Gtk theme is used.

If you are running Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine and want to help test this Chromium transition from deb to snap, visit the threads on the Ubuntu Community Hub or the Snapcraft forum.