Gnome-Software stor vs Synpatic

Aravisian wrote this in response to guinness1's post

The Gnome-Software store:
I have long voiced my opinions about the Gnome Software Store. I understand that it is easier to use for a new user than Synpatic

Now my question is what is the difference between Gnome Software Stor and Synpatic? I thought that the packages was fetched from the same server.

Gnome Software has plugins (which Zorin OS includes by default) to include sources that allow managing different types of packaging formats, i.e.: flatpak and snap.
Synaptic only works with Zorin OS's native package format: deb.

This has both advantages and disadvantages. One the hand one there are more options available, but on the other hand it's more confusing to people who are not aware of the, admittedly complex, package format available in Linux. For example here you can see that the same software has 4 different available options:

Sometimes there are differences in how these programs are labeled in one store and there are duplicate entries:

If you are interested you can read about the difference between packaging formats here.

Another difference between Gnome Software and Synpactic, as pointed out by Aravisian, is there's better feedback as to what will be installed or uninstalled. Most programs have dependencies: other programs that it needs to run properly. In general you shouldn't need to think much about it, if at all, but it can be useful to understand what's going on and it helps with troubleshooting later.


Thank you very much, I will read the link you showed and try to understand. I've only used Zorin for a half year so I have a lot to learn

In Zorin 16 Gnome Software was unstable, so I used Synpatic. In 17, Gnome Software has been improved and I managed to use it.

Flatpak and Snap are sandboxed, which is inconvenient from the user's side, as they cannot freely access the system. However, it is convenient for some developers, so they have been implemented in some software. I prefer native packages (.deb/apt), but when they are not available, I consider Flatpak or Snap.


I have to admit that I am confused, on the one hand I read that you should not use "snap" but "Flatpack", but if you open Synaptic and want to install Firefox, it is snap. It's possible it's because I don't understand linux complicated system

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Ah, yes. Well, there's a bit of politics involved here....

Canonical, the company that develops the Snap package format, made the decision to replace certain software from their repositories with their respective Snap versions. Firefox being one of the most notorious examples, and was seen as a very controversial move.
Since Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu (Canonical also develops Ubuntu) it's finding it that way. You can verify this is you search for Firefox on the terminal:

You probably read about don't use Snap because it has been recently in the news due to some vulnerability. In general, it seems that Flatpak is more mature, although I still prefer to use the native format whenever possible.

As for Firefox I don't really know how well does the Snap version work, you can try it if you like, but if you want to avoid this situation you have a couple of options:

  1. Remove Snap entirely from your system. This is entirely up to you but if you don't use other Snap packages it's probably best.

  2. Install Firefox directly from Mozilla (company behind Firefox). As they've recently released a repository for this purpose it may be a good solution if it's the only non-Snap package that you want installed.

By default, starting with Zorin OS 17, Firefox comes preinstalled as a Flatpak package.


Hmmm it depends on how I choose to install firefox. If I use Synaptec I get errors, but if I use Snap Store it works perfectly and I can even edit the Firefox background.
Firefox is the only one I have through the Snap Store, so I don't think I have the big security problems. You just get confused when you read the various posts for and against

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If you want to try it and see if You ''feel'' a Difference in Usage you could simply download the .deb Firefox Installer from and install it and test it. You can add the Repo (I did that too) but when You only want to make a Test the direct Download from the Website is a good Thing I would think.

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I chose to try it to install firefox, and it went really well, I hope I learn more ways to install programs rather than just using Software in Zorin. Time will tell.
Thanks for the link


The biggest difference between synaptic and software store is how apps are presented.

Synaptic is no nonsense, text. There is no question in what you are getting. It will even prompt you and tell you what dependencies are included and need to be installed.

Software store is similar to your phone's app store and ms store. There is a pretty visual, some text, but really doesn't give you much info on what you are getting. There is even confusion on what package manager you are installing with, though this has improved some.

Native applications will use system available libraries while both flatpak and snap come prepackaged with what that app needs. Doesn't sound bad, until you have 15 copies of the gtk3 library on your drive because every snap/flatpak brought its own copy.

One thing I forgot to mention: Synpatic handles all APT packages, including system software, not just applications. That is a big difference from Gnome Software.