Set up classic confinement for an autotools project

Some snaps need to have access to system resources outside the scope allowed by strict confinement, and are unable to do this via the available interfaces. These snaps are configured to use classic confinement and will need to be reviewed before publication in the Snap Store.

This guide shows how to enable classic confinement for a snap built with the autotools plugin. The example project used in this guide can be found in this repository.

Change the confinement to classic

Starting with an existing snapcraft.yaml file, change the confinement setting to classic:

confinement: classic

This will cause the snap to be built in a way that gives it access to system resources.

Use linters to identify problems

Snapcraft uses linters to check for issues during builds. Linters can only be specified in snaps that use the core22 base. Warnings are still reported for snaps that use older bases.

Run Snapcraft to build the snap. This may produce warnings like the following:

Lint warnings:
 - classic: usr/bin/autotools-classic-example: ELF interpreter should be set to '/snap/core22/current/lib64/'.
 - classic: usr/bin/autotools-classic-example: ELF rpath should be set to '/snap/core22/current/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu'.

If there are many warnings about libraries you can disable the library linter so that only classic linter warnings are shown. See the linters documentation for details.

Fix linter warnings by patching ELF binaries

The easiest way to handle warnings about the ELF interpreter and rpath is to let Snapcraft automatically patch the binaries using patchelf.

This is enabled by default for core20 classic snaps, and can also be enabled for core22 classic snaps if you are using Snapcraft 7.3 or a version from the edge channel. Pass the enable-patchelf build attribute to the plugin:

    plugin: autotools
     - enable-patchelf

This can be removed when automatic patching is enabled for core22 classic snaps in stable releases.

Fix linter warnings with linker flags

In this example, the warnings about the ELF interpreter and rpath can be handled by adding options to the linker:

  • -Wl,-dynamic-linker=/snap/core22/current/lib64/
  • -Wl,-rpath=/snap/core22/current/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu

If the LDFLAGS environment variable is used by the project, the snapcraft.yaml file can be updated to pass these options to the autotools plugin, using the autotools-configure-parameters keyword for projects using the core20 base or later:

    plugin: autotools
    source: .
     - LDFLAGS="-Wl,-dynamic-linker=/snap/core22/current/lib64/

This will only be useful for projects where the LDFLAGS variable can be used to influence the build process.

Rebuild the snap

Run Snapcraft again to rebuild the snap, consulting the Classic linter documentation to resolve further issues.

See also this article for an overview of the classic linter and a discussion of the issues involved in building snaps for classic confinement.

Last updated 2 months ago.