Thunderbird in SnapStore on current Ubuntu release

Installed this snap earlier this morning, using the desktop Software app on Ubuntu 18.10.

Right out of the box, this snap didn’t pick up my previous accounts, already configured by Thunderbird from the default Ubuntu standard repos. It also didn’t pick up the default Gnome Address/Contact applications data.

In my opinion this is poor release quality, especially considering I’m installing this on Ubuntu’s own distro. Additionally, what’s going on with the Store itself? Couldn’t even comment in the comment section of the default Software Center in Ubuntu, despite being logged in with that application to the store! Gave me an error after attempting to submit the post.

The snap store has a concept of ‘channels’ which help users to determine the risk level or stability of software they install. You may notice the Thunderbird snap is only in the edge and beta channels. It’s not in the stable channel. What you might gather from this is that it’s not ready for prime time, or not ready for users who are expecting stable, reliable software.

OIC Well didn’t notice the ‘beta’ marking before - You sure it was there prior? In any event Ubuntu should be putting a disclaimer there in the comment section. It seems to be even worse than the usual beta quality Ubuntu puts out.
For this reason alone and not having a good user experience with a few other snaps I’ve tried, will stick to your official distro repositories that use .deb packaging.

If I remember correctly, Ubuntu (Canonical) themselves do not actually publish the snaps. Even Snapcraft (the group) while organised by the Snapcraft team - is a group of volunteers. The idea is to help the upstream developers package and develop the snap package. Sometimes the Snapcraft group may maintain a snap if there is value or demand to have the application available as a Snap (case by case basis). And even then - as Snaps prove themselves - my assumption is to hopefully still move it to the developer.

If you would like to see what the package is available as (channel), and who is publishing it, you can use the following command syntax ( I know not everyone wants to use the terminal though admittedly. ) snap info [pkg name].

So for example, the Thunderbird package would be, and return the following:

$ snap info thunderbird

name:      thunderbird
summary:   Mozilla Thunderbird email application
publisher: Ken VanDine
license:   MPL-2.0
description: |
  Thunderbird is a free email application that’s easy to set up and customize
  - and it’s loaded with great features!
snap-id: k1Ml1O9GzSO2QftV0ZlWSbUfQ78nN460
  stable:    –                 
  candidate: –                 
  beta:      60.3.0 (29) 145MB -
  edge:      60.3.0 (29) 145MB -

Canonical maintains the tool itself (CLI for packaging and package usage), but the GUI’s themselves are usually from whatever upstream project built the GUI tool (i.e. Gnome Software).

If you do want a visual tool, the snap store itself does in fact show this information. If you go to Install Linux apps using the Snap Store | Snapcraft and search for your app (I will use Thunderbird again for the example), you can see:

The Snap publisher is listed right under the package name, and the channel is listed in the drop down to the right of the package name (defaults to the “most” stable option). If you click it, it shows the list of channels available (see other screenshot).

I just had a peek at gnome-software, looks like it also shows this info.


In the snap info command, if there was say an older version in the stable store - it would show there as well.

NOTE - if you install a snap from a specific channel, all of your updates will come from that channel going forward unless you change it with the snap command. So I’m pretty sure this is not a case of installing an older version and moving to an unstable version.

I genuinely hope this helps you and may also help others who pop across this thread.

Have a great new years.

P.S. - apologies if I explained anything you already knew. :grin:

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This is because that the snap application are confined and has a different directory as its home directory etc. Currently you have to migrate the files manually.

A better mitigation might be showing a dialog to help with the migration, but that’s up to the snap publisher.