Ubuntu 18: Getting started with snap

Snap is a software and package management tool described as “the app store for Linux” and is quickly growing in popularity. In Ubuntu 18.04 LTS some utilities have been switched to the snap format, such as the Calculator and System Monitor. A snap is a containerised software package that is simple to install. You can discover more about snap at the official website: https://snapcraft.io/

This article provides a quick introduction to snap commands and usage in Ubuntu 18.04.

Basic snap commands in Ubuntu 18.04.

Snap is included in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS so you can start using it straight away.

List installed snaps

You can find out which snaps are already installed in your Ubuntu system with the following command.

snap list

As you can see, there are several snaps already installed in Ubuntu, such as Calculator, Characters, and System Monitor. These snaps are all published by Canonical, which is the Ubuntu team.

The green check beside the publisher name indicates the publisher has been verified. This is important to know because anyone can create a snap for existing software.

snap list

Search for snaps

You can easily search the snap store for available snaps from the command line using snap find [search-term]. For example, to search for the Mozilla Firefox snap:

snap find firefox

snap find

In this example, the first result is Firefox v65.0.1-2. The listed version will always be the latest. If you are interested in another version, you can use snap info [snap-name] (see below).

The green check indicates that the snap publisher Mozilla has been verified.

View snap information

To see more information about a snap, use snap info [snap-name]. This will show details like the snap name, publisher, license, and software description. If there is are additional versions available these will also be listed.

For example, for the Mozilla Firefox snap:

snap info firefox

snap info

Snap help

To see the usage details of snap and available commands, use snap help:

snap help

snap help

You can also see more detailed usage information about individual snap commands with snap help [command].

For example, for the info command:

snap help info

snap help info

Install the hello-world snap

To demonstrate installing a snap, we’ll install the hello-world snap published by Canonical.

You can see the details of this snap with the snap info command:

snap info hello-world

snap info hello-world

Install this snap with the snap install command:

snap install hello-world

The snap will be downloaded and installed.

snap install hello-world

Verify the snap was installed by running snap list again:

snap list

snap list

Run the hello-world snap

The hello-world snap can be run by using the hello-world command.

hello-world

You should see “Hello World!” printed to the terminal.

Running hello-world