Although the current help says we support Ubuntu Core, it doesn't say if we support installing and using snapd on other operating systems. My default assumption is that we do not--after all, using snapd on another OS is not a way of using Ubuntu, the help doesn't say it is on-topic, and I cannot find anywhere on our site where we have said this is something we support.
On the other hand, Canonical's official snapd site snapcraft.io seems to send people here regardless of what OS they're using. Near the bottom of the home page and several other pages, it says:
Want to know more about snaps, snapd, Snapcraft and Ubuntu Core?
There is no mention of Ask Ubuntu being just for questions about using those technologies on Ubuntu, and snapcraft.io itself encourages and gives information about using snapd on multiple non-Ubuntu operating systems.
In at least one case, that guidance has resulted in a non-Ubuntu snapd question being posted on Ask Ubuntu. (It promptly received five VTCs from community members, and was closed.) I expect there to be many more in the future as snaps become more popular.
I don't think we are obligated to support snapd on non-Ubuntu operating systems. We can report a bug about snapcraft.io sending users of all OSes here without qualification. But I wanted to post on meta before filing that bug report myself, because:
- I think this is really up to our community, and that we should make a clear decision about this.
- Personally, I am not totally decided about this, though my current view is that Ask Ubuntu should probably not support snapd on other OSes. (Of course, we will always support snapd on Ubuntu and official derivatives of Ubuntu.)
I think there are pros and cons, including precedent going both ways.
- We may be the best community for getting support for snapd, especially if one wants it in question-answer form.
- At least some aspects of snapd and snaps are services provided by Canonical, including the Ubuntu Store. We do support "Services provided by Ubuntu and Canonical."
- We supported the Ubuntu One client for Windows -- not just the service and the web interface for accessing it from multiple operating systems, but the actual Windows-specific client, too. (Though that was controversial.)
- At a technical level, snapd on non-Ubuntu systems is pretty similar to snapd on Ubuntu.
- Where will people get help with snapd, other than here? If there were another good place for this, wouldn't the authors of snapcraft.io have advised people to use it?
- Many questions about snapd on other OSes will apply fully to Ubuntu, more than with other technologies, because snapd is designed to better encapsulate a package's content and to allow its dependencies to be satisfied regardless of what else is installed.
- Most questions about installing and using snapd on other OSes are not mostly about accessing Ubuntu-related services, but are about installing and using software on OSes that we do not support here for any other reason.
- We don't support arbitrary Canonical technologies and projects on other operating systems. For example, various other operating systems have used Upstart (and some still use it in their latest releases), but we've only ever supported it here for Ubuntu.
- Can we really know at the outset if a problem is with snapd or another part of a system?
- Eventually there will be non-Ubuntu OSes built around snapd. Presumably we won't support them (though we would support the process of initially creating one from Ubuntu). Some won't share much in common with Ubuntu besides snapd. If we support snapd on non-Ubuntu OSes now, will we support snapd on those other OSes, with whatever intricacies that arise from those specific use cases?
- Even if we do keep supporting snapd on other OSes as it rises in popularity, other communities will have to start supporting it, anyway. For example, if Blah Blah OS uses snapd but is otherwise dissimilar to Ask Ubuntu, then Ask Blah Blah is really going to have to support snapd whether or not its users can also come here for support.
- If we decide to support snapd on other OSes (e.g., Fedora), then we should at least make sure we can clearly explain why that is on-topic even though the more similar unofficial derivatives of Ubuntu remain off-topic. That particular combination of policies may be non-intuitive to many users.