Snaps are rapidly gaining popularity. So much so that pretty much every Linux distribution has support for them — except Linux Mint. The reason for this is that the developers behind the Linux Mint operating system feel that Snap technology doesn’t meet their needs fully. They’ve instead decided to disable Snaps by default. In fact, even though the last few versions of their operating system are based on Ubuntu 16.04 (an OS with snaps turned on already), it is disabled. Instead, Linux Mint has fully embraced Flatpak. It’s a solid alternative to Snaps, as Flatpak also has a lot of packages available for it. That said, the overall excitement seems to be behind Snaps, with companies as large as Microsoft advertising it officially. If you’re a Mint user who’d like to keep Flatpak but use Snaps too, there is an easy way to enable Snap package support.
Snapd On Linux Mint
To enable Snap package support on Linux Mint, you need to install the package because the Linux Mint team chooses to remove the Snap tools and processes by default. To install the software on Linux Mint, you’ll need to open up a terminal window. Once the terminal window is open, enter: sudo -s to gain root access. Using a root shell rather than individual sudo commands can come in handy if you’re going to interact with the system a lot.
After gaining a root shell, use the update command to get your system running the latest software. This is important so that the Snapd tool runs correctly. Keep in mind that if you’re not comfortable using the commands to update Linux Mint, the Mint Updater tool is also available for use and will work just as well.
First, use the apt update command to refresh the Linux Mint software sources. This will also determine if there are any updates available for the system.
Next, use the apt upgrade command to install the new updates that the system says are available. Be sure to also add -y to the end, so that the command will automatically say “yes”. This saves time from having to press “y” on the keyboard later on.
apt upgrade -y
With the software updates installed, we can install the software required to run Snap packages on Linux.
apt install snapd
The system should automatically enable all of the systemd services on Linux Mint that Snapd needs to function properly. If for some reason there is an error in enabling these, try:
apt purge snapd
Running the purge command is a great way to fix any issues with the Snap runtime, as purge will delete and completely remove all references to snaps on the system. Hence the name “purge”. When the purge command finishes, it’s safe to re-install snapd on the system. Since you purged everything, Linux Mint will be forced to re-download and re-setup everything and should fix any issues that pop up.
apt install snapd
Snaps On Linux Mint – Terminal
Now that Linux Mint has snap support, there’s something you should know: it won’t be as good as it is on Ubuntu. The main reason for this is that Linux Mint 18.3 (and other 18.x versions) run on top of an Ubuntu 16.04 base. Ubuntu LTS is a solid base for an operating system, but it has its drawbacks, mainly the fact that versions of software may be a little outdated.
On Ubuntu 17.04, and 17.10 users can easily browse and install snaps in Gnome Software, thanks to the Software snaps plugin. Unfortunately, that plugin requires version 3.26 of Gnome, and Mint only has 3.22. This means that all snaps you install under Mint must be done with the terminal.
To install a snap package under Linux Mint, open up a terminal and do:
snap find "program name"
This will output a list of packages that are installable, related to your snap search. To install a snap, look at the list and copy the exact name of the package. Then, use this command to install it on the system.
sudo snap install programname
Often times Snaps require updating. To update your list of snap packages to the latest version, you’ll need to use the “refresh” command. Each time the refresh command is used, Snapd will go out and get the newest possible version of the app from the store and replace it with the old one.
sudo snap refresh
Snaps are easy to uninstall from Linux Mint. Users can do it at any time by using the remove command.
sudo snap remove programname
Lastly, if you’d like to list all available snaps in the snap store, try using search command without anything after it.
Want to save the entire list of installable snaps to a file for later reading? Try outputting it.
snap search >> ~/snap-list.txt
Access the saved file at any time by opening snap-list.txt in /home/ on your Linux PC.