Major Snap Bug Delays Ubuntu 22.04 Point Release

It turns out that the ability to install packages is kind of a big deal. How long will Ubuntu users have to wait to upgrade?

Ubuntu developer Canonical has decided to push back the “point release” of Ubuntu 22.04 to August 11, 2022, due to a bug affecting the ability to install Snap packages.

“Unexpected Issue” With OEM Installations

Senior software engineer Łukasz Zemczak explained the issue in a message to Ubuntu’s developer mailing list

During testing of our 22.04.1 release candidates, we were made aware of an unexpected issue regarding the OEM Installation feature of our Ubuntu Desktop installer images.

The issue affects installations that were done by PC manufacturers offering Ubuntu preinstalled. After the user accounts were set up, they would be unable to use Snap, Ubuntu’s newer package management system.

When Can Ubuntu Users Upgrade?

Because not being able to install packages is obviously a major issue, Canonical decided to push back the point release until August 11, 2022.

An Ubuntu point release typically features bug fixes and other small tweaks. They’re usually released a few months after a major version. Point releases are roughly equivalent to Windows Service Packs. Existing Ubuntu users are only offered the latest version as an upgrade after the first point release.

Dueling Package Managers

While there is a problem with Snap packages, the APT packaging system created by parent distro Debian is apparently unaffected.

Snaps have attracted criticism in the Linux community for their alleged bloat, as a Snap includes all of a program’s dependencies. Ubuntu 22.04 changes the default Firefox browser from an APT package to a Snap. Despite this, more applications appear poised to move to Snap.

Canonical also has a history of trying to buck the open source community by offering its own solutions, like the Upstart process management system, that are ultimately abandoned the way Upstart was for systemd.

Snap also competes with another distribution-agnostic packaging system, Flatpak. It seems that with the release delay, package management will be a source of friction on Ubuntu for a while.

Impatient Users Can Install Ubuntu 22.04 Anyway

Despite the delay, users can still download and install Ubuntu 22.04 directly instead of waiting to upgrade. It’s just a matter of obtaining installation media and booting the system.

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