Nowadays, most Linux distributions come with a graphical software manager pre-installed. However, this Software center application will often vary significantly between different Linux distributions. To be quite frank I’ve seen distros where the Software manager was little more than I graphical equivalent to the APT command line package manager. In itself, there is nothing wrong with that. At least, even a manager with subpar search functions and unoptimized featured apps will let you install your app and all its dependencies correctly. Whatever the Software manager you end up using (including those providing additional features), it can be challenging to find the best Linux apps for your OS.
That is when the Snap Store (https://snapcraft.io/store) comes in. With it, you can easily browse featured content, discover newly developed apps, and get an overview of their characteristics before installing the program. And best of all, you can use it with any Linux distribution.
Finding the best Linux apps for your needs is intuitive with this free online resource. That is why I use it with whatever Linux distro I am currently running. I tend to use several distros at any one time, and I quickly realized that their default manager would sometimes be lacking.
Why Using the Snap Store Is an Excellent Way of Finding the Best Linux Apps for Your Distro
- With the Snap Store, you get not only a visually appealing app-searching tool but also one that often provides screenshots of the app. Using the APT package manager (or even some default Software centers) will not provide you with any screenshot of the app you are considering installing.
- The Snap Store will readily tell you which distributions are compatible with the apps that caught your attention. That also means that if you require a particular app, you might want to look it up on the Snap Store before installing a new Linux distro.
- Just as with traditional graphical software managers, the Snap Store provides a way of installing apps that ensures package-dependency resolution. Whatever programs you installed using snapd or the GUI version of the Snap Store, it will update just as with packages fetched through APT.
- The search feature of this online tool outshines most default GUI managers. You will often find dozens (if not over a hundred) “snaps” (apps) results. Each one contains interesting user stats, an overview and even sometimes embedded videos and other dev-provided content. I found the Snap Store an efficient way of quickly getting an idea of which apps to get within categories such as media editing, multimedia players, and document editors.
- The Snap Store is app-oriented rather than distro-oriented. That means that you will get an excellent overview of the best Linux apps available across the whole operating system. However, it is not because it doesn’t cater to a specific distro that this online tool isn’t adequate for your particular distribution. Quite the contrary! For any given “snap,” you can find installation instructions for distros such as Arch, Fedora, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, Debian, Manjaro, and many more.
- Instead of relying on arbitrary top ten lists, the Snap Store allows you to take an in-depth look at all the apps that exist within a given category. Instead of being left in the dark with one or two distro-specific featured apps, you can choose for yourself the programs that are the best for your needs.
Using Snapcraft’s Snap Store
All the advantages mentioned above will not weigh much if not backed up with an example. So follow this quick ITgirl.tech step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Snap Store to fetch the best Linux apps!
- Using the Snap Store is easy. First, go to the official website (https://snapcraft.io/store).
- From there, enter a search keyword or take a look at the featured applications (aka “snaps).
- Once you find something that catches your attention, click on the application’s icon to be redirected to its main page.
- Those using Ubuntu can click on the “install” icon. That is because the Desktop Store “snap support” is already pre-installed on Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS and later. Others can either get “snapd” and install the app from the command line, or get the Snap Store application.
- You can find instructions specific to each Linux distribution here: https://snapcraft.io/docs/installing-snapd, and for the Snap Store app here: https://snapcraft.io/docs/installing-snap-store-app.
As an example, I looked for an “image editor” in the search bar.
I opted for the GNU Image Manipulation Program.
First, make sure that you have installed the snapd package.
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install snapd
Then, you can install the application found on the Snap Store using the Terminal.
Finally, make sure that the name of the package reflects what you find under “Install using the command line.” You can access this information by pressing the “Install” button located on the application’s Snap Store webpage.
$ sudo snap install gimp
Voilà! Simple, isn’t it?