Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

Why Does apt Package Chromium-Browser Install Snap Package Instead?

Ubuntu 18

In this article, we will delve into the reasons why the apt package chromium-browser installs the Snap package instead of the traditional .deb package. We will also explore alternative methods to install the traditional .deb package or other stable versions of Chromium.

Quick Answer

When running the command sudo apt-get install chromium-browser on Ubuntu 19.10 and onwards, the apt package installs the Snap package instead of the traditional .deb package. This change was made by the developers to improve maintenance, updates, and security. However, if you prefer to install the traditional .deb package or other stable versions of Chromium, there are alternative methods available.

Understanding the Change

When running the command sudo apt-get install chromium-browser on Ubuntu 19.10 and onwards, you might have noticed that it installs the Snap package instead of the traditional .deb package. This change was announced in the release notes of Ubuntu 19.10 and is considered normal and expected behavior.

The apt command is a powerful command-line tool, which works with Ubuntu’s Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) to handle packages. The install command is used to install a new package, in this case, chromium-browser.

The switch to Snap package was made by the developers for several reasons. Snap packages are easier to maintain and update, and they offer better isolation, which improves security. They also include all the dependencies, eliminating the “dependency hell” problem.

Alternative Solutions

If you prefer not to install the Chromium snap package, there are alternative solutions available.

Installing Chromium from the Debian Repositories

Ubuntu and Debian are usually compatible, so you can install Chromium from the Debian repositories. To do this, you need to edit your sources list:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Then, add the following line to the file:

deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ buster main

After saving and closing the file, update the package list and install Chromium:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium

Using a Chromium Dev PPA

Another solution is to use a Chromium Dev PPA, which provides a stable version of Chromium. However, keep in mind that some features, such as Sync, may require an API key that is not included in these packages.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:saiarcot895/chromium-dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Using the phd/chromium-browser PPA

There is a PPA repository called phd/chromium-browser that provides the latest official .deb build for Ubuntu 20.04 and newer versions. This repository contains official Ubuntu packages that were originally released for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and are updated with each new version release.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phd/chromium-browser
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Conclusion

While the default behavior of installing the Chromium snap package may seem unusual to some users, it is a deliberate decision made by the developers for reasons such as improved maintenance, updates, and security. However, if you prefer to install the traditional .deb package or other stable versions of Chromium, there are alternative options available. Always remember to consider the compatibility and stability of your system when choosing an installation method.

Why does the `apt` package `chromium-browser` install the Snap package instead of the traditional .deb package?

The switch to the Snap package was made by the developers for reasons such as easier maintenance and updates, improved security through better isolation, and elimination of dependency issues.

How can I install the traditional .deb package of Chromium instead of the Snap package?

There are alternative methods to install the traditional .deb package of Chromium. You can either install Chromium from the Debian repositories by editing your sources list and using the apt-get command, or you can use a Chromium Dev PPA or the phd/chromium-browser PPA to install stable versions of Chromium.

Are there any disadvantages to installing the Chromium snap package?

While the snap package offers advantages such as easier maintenance and improved security, it may have some limitations. For example, some features like Sync may require an API key that is not included in the snap package. Additionally, the snap package may have different behavior or compatibility issues compared to the traditional .deb package.

Can I switch back to the traditional .deb package after installing the Chromium snap package?

Yes, you can switch back to the traditional .deb package by uninstalling the snap package and then installing the .deb package using the alternative methods mentioned earlier. However, it is recommended to carefully consider the implications and compatibility of switching packages before making any changes.

Will future versions of Ubuntu continue to use the Snap package for Chromium?

The decision to use the Snap package for Chromium may vary in future Ubuntu releases. It is best to refer to the release notes and official documentation of each Ubuntu version to understand the packaging choices made by the developers.

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