Snaps out-of-the-box.... a not so good idea?

I get what the intention was putting both flatpak and snap ship with the OS out-of-the-box, having a wider variety of software available without having to do anything seems like a great thing. However... as for snaps, not everything is as good as it seems. Having snaps auto-update in the background without even telling you can be compared with Windows' automatic updates. What if, for any reason, I don't want to update? What if I know I'm gonna have to turn off the pc in a minute or the laptop is running out of battery? What if I'm on an older system that doesn't handle too well doing some tasks while updating apps? What if the newer version of a program is already known for being a glitchy mess or having a horrible revamped UI?

Maybe there isn't a native package for every program out there, so I'm fine with having flatpaks, as those respect the user a bit more than snaps do

And no, auto-updating isn't the only problem I have with snaps. Zorin may be lighter than windows, but that didn't stop it from making my laptop loud for a minute or two after start-up. I didn't get that problem on linux mint and, after removing snaps on zorin, the laptop only stays loud for as long as the desktop takes to load (which funny enough, now seems to load faster after having removed snaps), and firefox seems to need heavier loads to make it loud than it did before. In my case, it's mostly about noise, battery health and a slight speed improvement. But, keeping in mind Zorin claims to be able to bring life to computers that are as old as 15 years old, this might have a big performance effect on those older computers. And snap doesn't really offer that much of a big amount of new programs if flatpak support is already installed.

But I can understand that some people do want to be able to use snaps on their system, so, a solution I thought about is giving the ability to install snap support in the same way you install wine in zorin: with an installation in the store that just requires two clicks. Another option would be the zorin installer having an extra section that gives boxes to check or uncheck so you can choose if you want flatpak, snap or both when installing the OS.

I'm fine having to get rid of snap manually, but people with slower computers who are making the jump from windows and have this as their first linux experience could get a better first impression if snap wasn't there

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As I said before and I say it again. The software Center should have the Zorin source (.deb) as default. The more experienced users can always switch the source. A lot of newbies gets frustrated with sandboxed apps that doesn't work as intended.

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The problem is whether users new to the Linux ecosystem will know how to choose between package formats. On the other hand, providing only .deb packages will cause some complains due to some packages being "outdated".

But I don't think we're going to have to worry about this situation much longer. The Flatpak vs Snaps competition seems to be settling, in favor mostly of Flatpaks on just about any distribution except for Ubuntu itself (and official flavors).

I would just make sure to offer the native .deb version by default as Storm said, and make it extra clear on the Software Store which version is being downloaded. Luckily this change has already been implemented in Gnome 40+, so next version of Zorin will likely be much better on this front.

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I think stability and workability are key to software ... That is why I only use:
Synaptic Package Manager
Gdebi Package Installer
Terminal

Snap and flatpak I will never use!

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The main reason I like Zorin OS is that it has all the package formats available thereby saving me a lot of time looking for software. I am sure some people won't like that but it is your prerogative to remove Snaps. Since Zorin's focus is on new Linux users transitioning from Windows, it makes sense to have things as easy as possible for their target market.

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However, based on the number of issues that have recently been posted I beg to differ. Let's face it, even Windows store has come in for criticism by Windows users. It makes more sense to stick with a trusted method (Synaptic Package Manager)/Apt etc than install something slickly only to find out it would have been better using a different method. This would also prevent criticism being raised against the OS!

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Again, your prerogative to do what you want. The developers can keep them or remove them. If Zorin did not have Snaps, I would just use Mint because it would be basically the same thing then but with a newer LTS base. I like Zorin because it is well integrated and their software store is superior to other distributions because it includes all the package formats for people "looking" for software and not knowing the name of the package. For those users that know what they want or the name of the package, there is the command line with APT which on occasion I use too. That is the beauty of Zorin. It is feature rich and a complete operating system. I use Zorin's software store all the time and it always works right.

A google search, gdebi and two clicks can sometimes offer more possibilities than the repositories of a distro

But I understand your point about zorin's software store being a nice-looking place to search for apps (that's, of course, when it works...). Though, as far as I can tell, you can use the software store without snaps

To each his own, right? Linux is about choice and Zorin offers me the choices I like/prefer.

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As with the Zorin tour, a short video describing the process of source changes in the store with apt as the default would be the most appropriate response to this.

Yes, having snapd software available next to the apt and flatpak versions makes things easier for new users.

The problem is that the software that requires other packages, in both snap and flatpak, in order to work correctly. The users won't and haven't understood the issues with the double sandboxing that containerized applications present. If nothing else, a warning that the software is problematic because of the double sandboxing and may not work as intended OOB. This would at least prepare them for possible issues with certain software.

Attempting to get the developers that only create snap packages, due to ease of development, to adapt their software to other formats would be the more difficult solution. Depending on the developer, they may not want to, or don't have the time to, support multiple package types. But this is where the adaptation needs to occur as it is not on the user to know or care what package manager was used. It's on the developer to ensure their software works the majority of the time as intended.

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My own take on this is that I appreciate and prefer that Zorin OS, like MX Linux, provides the means and the choice to the user.

I think that it is a presentable argument that new migrants to Linux can be confused by Snap or Flatpak packages being added on as an alternative to standard debian packages.
Many new users have said this directly.
However, many new users have also directly said that they are confused by the multiple desktops environments (Windows and Mac only have one.)
New users have said they are confused by having the option to pip install, ninja install, ./configure make sudo make install... and this is even more interesting since pip, ninja and source building are available options on Windows, but almost never used because everyone heads for the nearest .exe package.
Even the risky ones. This says more about what we need to teach them than what we need to make easy.

Snaps and Flatpaks offer some good advantages.
They also offer their own problems.
Here, we take part on this forum for the purpose of

  • alleviating confusion
  • answering questions
  • providing insight
  • giving suggestions
  • and most importantly, letting the new migrant know that they are not alone, in it to sink or swim only by their own merit.

If not Snaps, if not Flatpaks, if not pip, ninja or XFCE or Gnome or KDE, something about a new Operating System is going to be confusing...
WE can do something about that.
And ZorinGroup can do their part: To allow User Choice and User Control.

Here in Feedback , the @staff may well review and carefully consider the well presented O.P. of this thread.
But the words of John Kennedy come to mind. To paraphrase...

"Ask not what your operating system can do for you, but what you can do for your OS Community."

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This, along with Storm's suggestion to make .deb packages the default option (when available) would be my prefer solution. It doesn't take anything away from users, helps to keep them informed, and those who skipped the tour will most likely get the software they want without inconveniences.

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If not a video, if @swarfendor437 is considering a Z17 update (I hope) of his very useful Unofficial Manual, the pro's v cons of Snap, Flatpak, Appimage, apt, deb etc and alternative means of downloading/installing apps via Software Store, Synaptic and terminal can be outlined for new users.
Whilst I choose not to use Snaps or Flatpaks, the choice should be available, but should be an informed choice.

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Crosslinking a very good example of how the suggestion that .deb be default made by @Sorro & @Storm may be very helpful:

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