Change Snap Application Privileges In Lubuntu

In today’s article, we’re going to learn how to change Snap application privileges in Lubuntu. With Ubuntu, it’s a bit more straightforward. In Lubuntu, you have to dig around a little bit. Don’t worry, ‘snot hard – it’s just not all that intuitive. 

Snap applications come with their own privileges. This is useful because sometimes you may want to change them, to enable something that was disabled or to disable something that was enabled. I think it’s sorted now, but at one point you even had to change the permissions to let the Firefox browser access removable media.

In Ubuntu it’s pretty straightforward and there are a ton of tutorials already out there that will help you change Snap application privileges. It’s just one of those things that comes with Snaps, so we’ll cover Lubuntu.

I’ve written about Snap applications before, including sharing how to disable Snaps completely. However, the reality is that they’re going to be a part of the Ubuntu ecosystem for the foreseeable future.

Like them or not, they will be a part of Ubuntu and official Ubuntu flavors. I suspect trying to avoid them will get more difficult. With the new Lubuntu, for example, the Firefox browser will come as a Snap application by default.

So, well, even we folks using Lubuntu must come to grips with Snap applications. This can be a pretty painless process, if you’re armed with some information. That’s what this article is meant to do. This article is meant to teach you how to …

Change Snap Application Privileges In Lubuntu:

This is actually pretty easy, but not necessarily intuitive. Unlike many of my articles, you don’t actually have to start with an open terminal. No, you need to start with “Discover”.

So, crack open your menu, click on System Tools, and then click on Discover. Once you have Discover open, you can use the search or installed option to find the application in question. In this article, I decided to just use Firefox – seeing as we Lubuntu users will be faced with a Snap app Firefox.

When you find the application, you just click on it. It looks like so:

click on Firefox to begin
See? I even started you off with a handy arrow! It’s a recurring theme!

Once you’ve clicked the application, then you just click on the obvious! You just click on “Configure permissions”. That looks like this:

click on permissions to continue
Yup. I gave you another handy arrow – but it should be obvious now.

Finally, you can adjust the individual permissions. That looks like this:

finally, adjust your permissions as needed
There are a bunch of settings you can change. Again, you get a handy arrow!

That’s about it, really. The thing is, you have to use Discover. While the Muon application is able to install applications, it doesn’t deal with Snap applications. Only the Discover application has these menus and it’s the only way (at least graphically, by default) for you to adjust the individual Snap application privileges.

So, while it’s not necessarily intuitive – it’s not dreadfully difficult. You just have to know where to look and then it becomes obvious.

Closure:

Guess what? As of tomorrow, a day where no article is scheduled, it will have been a full year that this project has been alive. That’s right! I’ve gone the full year without missing  a single publication date! If I can do it, so can’t you! 

So, am I done? No… No, I don’t think so. I still have articles that need to be written, things that need to be said. I’ve had a great deal of fun, though it has been a lot of work. I’ve learned some, you’ve learned some, and I’d say it’s a net benefit to the Linux community – though I suppose I’m a bit biased. (Feel free to agree with me!)

I may take a few days off. I’m not actually sure. I haven’t decided. I have decided that this can’t be the last article, so there’s that. Which is nice… If nothing else, I’ll see you again in a few days. I might enjoy taking a break. Then again, I kinda suck at taking breaks. I truly suck at retirement.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Install The Snap Version of Chromium

Today’s article will teach you how to install the Snap version of Chromium – the opensource browser from Google. It’s akin to Chrome, but without all the proprietary bits and bobs. This isn’t a difficult article to follow, but may have some information that was easy to miss along the way.

Chromium is also the source for many other browsers, from Brave to Opera, they’re all Chromium underneath – including the Edge browser from Microsoft.

You’ll find things like syncing your passwords and history isn’t really possible with Chromium’s default configuration. Those bits are proprietary, and Google doesn’t want third parties using their resources, so those bits have been disabled for some time now.

However, it’s still very much a usable browser – and I’d know that sorta thing. After all, I’ve made it pretty clear that I’ll try any browser at least once! I’m often checking out the browser market and trying new browsers. With that, I can say that Chromium is generally easy to work with, has the features I use, has great support, and has a ton of available extensions.

Snap Version?

Snap? Yes, this article is about installing the Snap version of Chromium. I actually wrote an article about how to install the non-Snap version. (It was a horrible article written while I was very ill – I need to go back and edit it.)

Snaps are Ubuntu’s (will work on most every distro, with a little effort) ‘new’ package management system. It’s meant to be easier for both you and the developer, as the developer needs to only package one version. As for it being easier for you, it’s meant to avoid needing dependencies and does things like run in a secure container. It has some differences to, and some similarities with, both AppImages and Flatpaks

Snaps are happening. If you don’t like them, you’re going to have to put some effort into not using them – if you want to use Ubuntu and official Ubuntu flavors. Mint is an exception – currently. We’ll see how long they hold out and which side of history they end up on. Still, if you want to use Ubuntu, you might as well adjust and start using Snaps.

In fact, in Lubuntu 22.04, you’ll find that Firefox defaults to a Snap version. That’ll likely be mentioned in the release notes that nobody ever reads, so, we’ll have to see how folks deal with that change. I wonder how many won’t even notice the change?

Yes, there are complaints about Snap applications – some of them even valid complaints. It doesn’t matter. This is the direction Ubuntu is going and there’s no stopping them. I will link to this page again, just to show you how easy they are to use. You might as well jump on the train, ’cause the destination is set for Ubuntu’s locomotive. 

On a personal level, I don’t really mind them. They’re a bit wonky when compared with traditional repositories or PPAs. They do things like save the previous version, so that you still have access to the application if the newer version is buggy. They also take up more space, as one would expect if dependencies are included with each Snap. Indeed, they even take longer to load. Much of that is mitigated by having more modern hardware or being just a little patience – they don’t take all that long to load, after all. They also have some pretty great features.

So, yeah… This article is about a Snap application – specifically Chromium. It’s not terribly complicated – but there’s a second step that many don’t realize and I want to bring attention to that step.

Install The Snap Version of Chromium:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once you have your default terminal emulator open, you can just install Chromium with the following:

That’s all well and good, but it’s actually just a limited version of Chromium. Perhaps for licensing reasons, I’m not actually sure, you’re probably not done at this point. Well, many people will not be done at this point.

If you, like those many people, want to play things like proprietary media (i.e. DRM encumbered media like Netflix) you actually have to install another package. This step isn’t really all that clear and you’re kinda left blind to figure it out for yourself. Hopefully this makes it a bit more clear for those seeking information about installing the Snap version of Chromium.

Again, it’s not hard. This is not a difficult article to follow. It’s just that it’s not all that clear. You next need to install chromium-ffmpeg. Your regularly installed ffmpeg is not adequate, you need a Chromium specific version. The command is pretty logical, once you know that you need it.

And, that’s actually all you should need to do. Having done that, you can restart your browser and you should be able to use DRM-protected music and video. Yes, you should be able to use Netflix – but not Peacock, ’cause they’re just jackasses.

Closure:

See? I told you that it wasn’t that difficult to install the Snap version of Chromium. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes before you’re watching videos and listening to the music. We can argue the merits of DRM some other time, but this is not the article for that.

Well, I mean, you can offer opinions in the comments and feedback, but no amount of opinion will stop me from telling folks how to do this. If they want to consume DRM-encumbered media, they are free to do so, and this is one way of doing so. No amount of opinions offered will sway Ubuntu from this course.

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Disable Ubuntu Snaps

People have a variety of reasons why they want to disable and remove Snap apps from Ubuntu. It’s relatively easy to disable Snaps and this article shows you how.

Let’s start with the basics. What is a Snap? It’s another form of packaging software and Canonical’s Snapcraft page describes it like this:

Snaps are app packages for desktop, cloud and IoT that are easy to install, secure, cross‐platform and dependency‐free. Snaps are discoverable and installable from the Snap Store, the app store for Linux with an audience of millions.

Canonical is the company that makes Ubuntu and if you’ve been using Linux for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of them and Snaps. The reality is that, if you want to use Ubuntu or official Ubuntu flavors, you might want to make your peace with them. They’re going to be everywhere.

Right now, you can find Snaps being more or less mandatory in current Ubuntu Core versions. If you want to use Livepatch to keep your running system protected then you’ll need to use snaps. The list of places Snaps are in use goes on, but more and more applications are being packaged exclusively as Snaps and that trend looks likely to continue.

To be frank, I can’t blame the developers. Package it once and it runs everywhere – or it can run everywhere. This saves time, presents a single point of contact, and helps to ensure uniformity across the myriad distros out there. It does away with things like ‘Dependency Hell’. It even makes it more secure.

In an ideal world, it’d be great!  Maybe you don’t live in that ideal world? Maybe you don’t want Snaps? I don’t need to know your reason. Let’s just disable them.

Removing/Disabling Snaps

Let’s start by cracking open your terminal. You’re gonna want to start there for this. It’s as easy as using your keyboard to press CTRL + ALT + T. Then, enter the following commands into your terminal, one by one and pressing ENTER after each one:

The first command will completely purge ‘snapd’ – the service that controls and installs Snaps. The next three commands remove any remnants of Snaps that you have on your system. The final command will reboot your system, so that everything is cleared out of memory and so that you start fresh and without Snaps.

And, there you go. You can disable Ubuntu snaps! You’re Snap free! Everything is now just as you wanted it. You no longer have any Snaps on your system, nor do you have to worry about installing them by mistake. 

At the same time, it may well be time for dedicated Ubuntu users to adjust and learn to use Snaps. They do have their benefits. They do things like auto-update, automatically revert to the previous version if it’s broken, and keep applications isolated from the rest of the system. For the most part, they just work, without you needing to worry about anything.

So, before you decide to completely remove Snaps from your system, you might just want to take a minute to make peace with them and learn to use them. Yeah, they take up more space, their permissions are wonky, and they’re still a work in progress. You’re probably going to end up using them eventually. The sooner you get used to managing them, the easier it’s probably going to be.

Anyhow, thanks for reading. I appreciate the readers and welcome you to contribute. There’s a whole host of ways you can do so, from joining to donating. You can even write articles without registering, share this article at your favorite sites, and you can sign up for the newsletter so that you know you’re getting these articles (and no spam) in your inbox.

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