Popular snaps per distro

by Igor Ljubuncic on 19 September 2019

From a distance, Linux is one big, confusing ball of passionate users and hardcore technical jargon. But as you zoom in, you can start seeing patterns – and differences. Indeed, the individual and vastly varied choice of a favorite distribution has played a major part in shaping the community conversation in the Linux space. But does this also reflect on the application usage patterns?

We wanted to have a look at how users on different distributions consume snaps. So we crunched some numbers and checked the top five snaps for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Arch Linux, and Manjaro users.

All snaps are equal, but some snaps are more equal than others.

Sir Francis Drake

Top five snaps per distro

Let’s start with a simple table detailing the differences:

Arch LinuxCentOSDebianFedoraManjaroUbuntu
spotifywekanspotifyspotifyspotifyvlc
codelxdlxdvlccodespotify
skypemicrok8sfirefoxcodeslackskype
discordspotifynextcloudpostmandiscordchromium
slackhelmpycharm-communityslackskypecanonical-livepatch

Everyone loves music

While there are some notable differences among the distributions, spotify features in the top-five spot in all of the cases. This makes sense, as the enjoyment of music is a pretty universal thing, and it applies to Linux users across the board. In the same vein, VLC is also a top choice with Fedora and Ubuntu users, but curiously, not Arch Linux or Manjaro users.

Staying in touch

Similarly, we all have friends and family everywhere across the globe, and that’s why discord, slack and skype are common among the users of Arch Linux, Fedora, Manjaro as well as Ubuntu. Whether you’re old school or new school, communication remains an important, inseparable element of your work. The technology changes, but the need is there, so it’s quite likely messenger apps, VoIP tools and alike will be popular no matter which distro you pick for your daily use.

Home versus work

Typically, CentOS will be used in a business environment rather than a home setup, which explains why its list of popular snaps differs significantly from the others, and why containers technology features prominently among its users, including helm, microk8s and lxd. Similarly, Debian is also used in the workplace, putting the collaboration software like wekan and nextcloud and an IDE like pycharm-community in the priority list.

Browsers

It is also interesting to see that both firefox and chromium snaps show in the list, even though technically, every distribution ships with a default browser (usually Firefox). And yet, Debian users are using the firefox snap, while among the Ubuntu folks, chromium is also a popular choice.

Security

Among the Ubuntu users, the Livepatch rebootless service is also quite popular, as it gives people the convenience of security patching without having to disrupt work sessions. In the business world like data centers and cloud environments, this carries even more weight, because quite often, it is impossible to schedule reboots in 24/7 mission-critical setups.

Summary

As we can see from the data, the diversity that exists in the Linux distro world also propagates into how people use their software. Snaps offer an interesting insight into the specific needs across distributions. We do see that there are some common, universal cases, but also specific, custom things that are tied into the distribution choice. We hope you enjoyed this short piece, and if you have comments or feedback, please join our forum for a discussion.

Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash.

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