In addition to software from its own repositories, Ubuntu now provides some software as instant packages. While the Flatpak alternative package format is booming in the rest of the Linux world, Canonical is sticking to the Snap format developed in-house for Ubuntu.
Thus conditioned, the distributor currently provides mainly server services and software which receives frequent updates. The lightweight Ubuntu Core even exclusively uses snap packages.
As with its competitor Flatpak, it’s easier to provide software as an instant package instead of creating a separate package for each distribution and version. The package then contains everything in the correct version that the software needs to run. This has another advantage: multiple versions of software can be easily installed and used in parallel. While Flatpak is particularly popular for desktop applications, Snaps are also explicitly suitable for server services. Canonical offers the Snapcraft builder tool specifically for creating your own snap packages.
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