In the new release of Linux Mint, the developers have decided to make it impossible to install Snaps out of the box. The reason? The developers feel that the Chromium package provided by Ubuntu is malicious. Why? When you install the “chromium-browser” package from the Ubuntu software sources (which Linux Mint heavily relies on), it no longer provides a DEB package for the browser and instead installs the Snap version of the browser.
The reason that Ubuntu has transitioned Chromium from a Debian-based package to a Snap package is pretty understandable. They’re maintaining Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS, as well as 18.04 LTS, and 20.04 LTS. Chromium is time-consuming to build, especially on releases of the OS that are severely out of date. To save time, they’ve decided to just provide a single Snap that will work across releases.
While many Ubuntu users might see Linux Mint’s views on this, it’s their operating system, and they view this package as a violation of users’ privacy, as Snaps are not entirely open-source, and only the Ubuntu developers have control.
Linux Mint has a good reason to shut off Snaps in Mint 20, but Ubuntu also has good reasons for providing Chromium as a Snap. Luckily, in the open-source community, there are ways of getting around the disabling of Snaps in Mint 20, and in this guide, we’ll show you how!
Removing the nosnap.pref file from Linux Mint
Linux Mint hasn’t banned the “snapd” package from Linux Mint user’s operating systems. After all, this is an open-source operating system, and they would never do that. However, they have included an Apt configuration file that will tell Linux Mint to not allow the installation of the “snapd” package. This configuration file is very easy to disable. All it takes is a little tinkering.
To start the process, open up a terminal window on the Linux Mint desktop. You can easily launch a terminal on Linux Mint by searching for it in the Mint app menu. Or by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.
Once the terminal window is open, you’ll need to make use of the cp command to create a backup of the
nosnap.pref file. This file is what is preventing the installation of “snapd” on your Linux Mint PC. The nosnap.pref file must be backed up, in case you wish to re-disable Snaps later down the line. Using the following cp command, make a backup of the file.
sudo cp /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref.bak
After creating a backup of the file, you will be able to take a look at the backup with the ls command below.
Once you’ve confirmed that the backup file is in the /etc/apt/preferences.d/ directory with the ls command, it’s time to delete the
nosnap.pref file. To remove it, make use of the following rm command.
sudo rm /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref
nosnap.pref file is deleted from Linux Mint 20, your system will no longer be prevented from setting up the Ubuntu Snap runtime. Move on to the next section of the guide to learn how to enable Snap support on Mint.
Enabling Snap support on Linux Mint 20
Snap support has always been discouraged in Linux Mint. Ever since Snaps were introduced, the developers have gone out of their way to remove the package, and the user needs to manually set it up if they want to use the Snap store. On Mint 20, setting up Snap packages is quite simple. To do it, open up a terminal window and use the Apt command to install the “snapd” package.
sudo apt install snapd
When you install the “snapd” package, Linux Mint will configure the Snap runtime, and enable several systemd services that allow you to interact with Snap packages. Sit back; this configuration will take a couple of seconds. When the process is complete, run the snap refresh command to check and see if the Snap runtime is working.
Are you having trouble setting up Snap support on your Linux Mint PC? Need more guidance than what is provided in this tutorial? Check out our in-depth guide on how to enable Snap packages on Linux Mint. It breaks down in detail how to set up Snaps on Mint, as well as how to use it.
Turning Snaps back off in Linux Mint 20
If you’ve enabled Snap support on Mint 20 only to find out that you’re not a fan of it and want to turn it back off, follow the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1: First, uninstall any Snap packages you may have installed from the Snap store.
Step 2: Follow our guide on how to disable Snaps in Ubuntu. As Linux Mint is built upon Ubuntu, the guide will help you learn how to disable it.
Step 3: Restore the
nosnap.pref file from the backup made earlier with the command below.
sudo cp /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref.bak /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref