back to article Xubuntu 24.04: A minimal install that does what it says on the tin

Xubuntu 24.04 is out, and offers a minimal installation option that is considerably more minimal than the other official flavors. Look mum! Ubuntu with Firefox and not a single snap package in sight! Look mum! Ubuntu with Firefox and not a single snap package in sight! (click to enlarge) The various editions and flavors of …

  1. Bent Metal

    Resizing windows.

    Nice rundown of Xubuntu - most interesting to a longtime fan of that respin.

    Regarding "We've also heard from people who find the very skinny window borders of Xfce make windows hard to resize." - In Xubuntu (and possibly others), the standard method I use to move and resize windows is with the mouse, though I get that some folks will object to having to press a key as well.

    - To move, with LeftAlt + LeftMouseButton click & hold anywhere within the window to drag it around.

    - To resize, with LeftAlt + RightMouseButton click & hold anywhere within the window to resize. The particular window edges that move depends on where you click, try it and see.

    The borders themselves are really hard to hit with the mouse, though the top-left and top-right corners are a smidgen easier. But the Alt+Button combo is great...

    I await with interest getting some time at the weekend to try Xubuntu Minimal!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. johnandmegh

    Oh, Snapcraft!

    The examples given of why the move to Snaps is a bad thing are A) a niche issue, known for years (and that exists with Flatpak as well) with a well-documented workaround, and B) the hyperbolic rantings (just like Microsoft!!!) of a blog poster that their Microsoft Windows software installation workflow - download a file from a random website and double-click it to run the installer - isn't working.

    To each their own, but as a mere user - what I care about is that when a Firefox update is released, I will be running it by the next morning (given the number of security concerns with any browser engine). I have that where the Firefox Snap is installed, I don't have that on the main distros that use "traditional" packages for the browser. I suspect the majority of folks are actually well served by the change.

    1. Grogan Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Snapcraft!

      I'll be running the latest version of Firefox before it's even announced to you, because I have a good dev environment. I'm sick of these whiners, if I can do it so can your distributor.

      That containerized packaging systems are becoming a thing is because of lazy, commercial developers! They want to put the onus on packagers to support dependencies, not themselves.

      They are actually doing users a great disservice by promoting a horrible kludge as the greatest thing.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Snapcraft!

      If you have any snap packages which include a dependencies in which a security problem is found and fixed, you better pray that the snap package maintainer is on the ball and cares, because if not you will be insecure until they wake up. Meanwhile, every other package which uses the normally distributed version will be automatically running the safe version.

    3. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: Oh, Snapcraft!

      For packaging desktop apps, it's probably fine. System tools, not so much.

      As an example of snap breakage, have a look at what happened to lxd in the last couple of weeks - and it's not the first time lxd has broken in this way.

      People following the lxd "stable/latest" branch were auto-upgraded to 5.21 (note "stable" in that channel name). That upgrade removed the zfs-0.8 userland tools; snaps have to carry all their own binaries and libraries, rather than use the systemwide-installed ones. This broke anyone using lxd with zfs storage running a kernel with zfs-0.8, which includes Ubuntu 20.04 with its default kernel, and Ubuntu 18.04 with HWE kernel.

      So, just rollback the snap to 5.20 then? No... at the same time they also made a change to the lxd database schema, which is applied on 5.21 upgrade and is irreversible. Oops.

      The solution for users on Ubuntu 20.04 was to upgrade to the HWE kernel and reboot, giving them a kernel with zfs-2.1. Canonical also released 5.21.1 which reinstated the zfs-0.8 userland tools - and retrospectively nominated it as an "long term support" release (more stable than "stable") - which means that Ubuntu 18.04 HWE is now also fixed.

      However, this caused breakage across the world, and it wouldn't have happened if lxd were still packaged as deb packages: the deb packages declare their dependencies and are built to run on a particular version of the OS; and it would have been using the zfs tools which were installed on the system, and which matched the kernel in use; and they wouldn't have been silently updated in the background by a *daemon* trying to be your auto system administrator.

      As it happens, there's another issue in play here: last year Canonical decided to take lxd away from the linuxcontainers project, and subsequently changed the license and required a CLA from contributors, so linuxcontainers made their own fork called incus (by the primary developer of lxd, who also left Canonical). This is all nicely packaged up as a proper deb package. As a result, by migrating from lxd to incus, you can de-snap your life - whoohoo!!

      Debian had actually imported a deb-packaged version of lxd, but they are planning to abandon it now in favour of incus.

      1. NATTtrash
        Alert

        Re: Oh, Snapcraft!

        For packaging desktop apps, it's probably fine. System tools, not so much.

        Very true and, as it looks, exactly the next step Canonical wants to take. The suggestion (sorry, can't confirm, maybe @Liam can?) on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Ubuntu/comments/1chilj4/completely_remove_snap_from_ubuntu_2404/) is that the next one to be snapped is CUPS, which would make snap removal disable base OS usability significantly.

  3. danielfgom

    Surprised

    I'm surprised they are allowed to ship without Snaps. I thought it was a Canonical requirement.

    Maybe not....?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Surprised

      [Author here]

      It _does_ ship with snapd. So it has Snap _support._

      But it ships without a browser at all, and that means that it does not include the one package that it is mandatory for remixes to ship as a snap. It's interesting to me because it looks like the maintainers found a loophole that seem to allow them to side-step the rules.

      I do not know if this is because what in Noble is called "Xubuntu Minimal" seems to be exactly the same as what has for the last 9 years been called "Xubuntu Core". The only way to install Core was either:

      * Use the "minimal/netboot" installation image

      Or

      * Install Ubuntu Server

      ... and then manually install the "Xubuntu Core" metapackage.

  4. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    Very nice. It sounds to me that Kubuntu and Xubuntu (minimal) are better than the main edition. Xubuntu minimal with no Snaps preinstalled, and Kubuntu with Discover that fully supports Snap, DEB and Flatpak formats in one tool.

  5. corb

    Know How To Install A Browser Before Installing Xubuntu Minimal

    Worth emphasizing that if you're motivation for installing Xubuntu Minimal is avoiding Snaps then you need to know how you're going to install your favorite browser before you install Xubuntu Minimal. A browser is not available after the install and "apt install firefox" will get you the Snapped Firefox.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Know How To Install A Browser Before Installing Xubuntu Minimal

      Yes it is important people know this.

      OA mentions

      "You can install Mozilla's native Debian-packaged Firefox directly – the project has full instructions."

      and the Firefox download page allows selection of the current stable, the ESR version and the various development versions (my link is to en-GB version because the Firefox Web site detected my $LANG setting)...

      https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/all/#product-desktop-esr

      That page also mentions the Firefox apt repository which I'm assuming would over-ride the Ubuntu snap if enabled.

      On low-spec machines I quite like Seamonkey (I actually prefer the Seamonkey mail client)

      https://www.seamonkey-project.org/releases/

      Google appear to provide a .deb based binary release for Chrome (the full one) as well.

      Icon: choice is good

      1. NATTtrash

        Re: Know How To Install A Browser Before Installing Xubuntu Minimal

        Or go Librewolf..?

  6. guiverc

    as close as you can get from the official flavors???

    > It's not a completely snapless Ubuntu, but it's as close as you can get from the official flavors.

    Is this accurate?? A number of flavors will install a system without snapd infrastructure if you select a minimal install option... That has been available for some time too, eg. https://debugpointnews.com/lubuntu-24-04-snap/ is from last year & that applies with the beta and released ISOs too, and Lubuntu isn't alone there as I understand it (though I've not tested the others); it was just the first.

    Part of the QA for 24.04 (with a snap-free install) is to issue the `snap list` command, and expected output is an error that `snapd` isn't installed and thus no `snap` command is available (ie. no message that no snap packages are installed; the snap command is the expected error). I'd have considered that install option a more snapless option that what you write about.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like