It is probably a naive question, but why should someone install Snappy Ubuntu to a Raspberry Pi? I did not get the advantages over Raspbian Wheezy.

Maybe somebody has some experience or a case...

5 Answers 5


I have not used Snappy Core, but here's a few objective reasons:

  1. Snappy Core is compiled for ARMv7, which means the software will better exploit the Pi 2's processor. Whether this makes that much of a difference I don't know; according to Diederik de Haas' comment below, Rasbpian's ARMv6 is almost the same as Debian's ARMv7 anyway (presuming that is the base of Snappy Core). I haven't seen any explicit benchmarks.

  2. Ubuntu have a less conservative policy with regard to versions and updating than Debian. This means more recent versions of software will be available from their distro.

  3. Snappy Core is set up to use a read-only filesystem. I do not think this is a great idea and it is a shame that this is what Ubuntu and the Foundation have decided to promote for the pi, especially since Ubuntu have more normal ARMv7 distributions that could be run on it. However, some people may appreciate and desire this.

  • 1
    Your statement is not (entirely) accurate. The Pi 1 has more then just the ARMv6 architecture, but not enough to qualify for Debian's armhf architecture. Raspbian does take advantage of those extras on top of ARMv6, otherwise they could've just stuck with Debian's armel port (as they used in the very beginning). The difference between Debian's armhf (i.e. ARMv7) and Raspbian's armhf will only be seen in a (very) select amount of packages. Furthermore the "6x faster" claim is based on benchmarks with Raspbian. Dec 16, 2015 at 12:29
  • 1
    @DiederikdeHaas Sure, ARM1176JZF-S is ARMv6, including some extensions, and a VFP coprocessor. I would guess that almost all existing/in use ARMv6 implementations are this. This makes it more optimizable than Debian's armel distro because armel isn't optimized for ARMv6, it supports ARMv5 and v4. It runs on ARMv6 systems because ARMv6, like ARMv7, is backward compatible.
    – goldilocks
    Dec 16, 2015 at 13:41
  • Some confusion is created by the VFP as well, because Debian's armhf ("hard float") distro is ARMv7. I presume Snappy Core uses the same binaries, but I don't know. I'll take your word for it that the benchmarks were done with stock Raspbian software; I think the Foundation announcement page just says it was done on Raspbian, which is not necessarily the same thing. Anyway, I've edited that out, etc.
    – goldilocks
    Dec 16, 2015 at 13:41

I must admit to being totally confused by Ubuntu Snappy core.

I think it is meant to be an Internet of Things application. That is a minimal core system without desktop support. I don't think it is usable as a desktop system on the Raspberry Pi. I don't think there is currently even a working way to add further applications to the core system.

If you want to use Ubuntu on the Rapberry Pi I'd suggest you try https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/RaspberryPi

If anyone can find an understandable explanation of Snappy core please let me know,

  • 1
    +1 For that link to Ubuntu's own page with a normal version for the pi! I dunno why that isn't on the rpi.org download page...
    – goldilocks
    Apr 15, 2015 at 16:08

I think the best reason someone could install Snappy (in the Raspberry Pi, or any other arch) is the isolation that every Snappy package will have.

If you are trying to use your Raspberry Pi for a project that could handle deployable software components, then the Snappy packages (like Docker packages) are a really good way to maintain those components and their life-cycle.

In other words, every software you have installed as a Snappy (or Docker) Package (in difference with DEBs or RPMs) is that none of them, nor the OS share dependences. So you can have every library and software with their respective versions as your choice. If some package depends on a library A with version 1.x, and another package uses the same library, but version 1.y, then both packages can share the same system, run at the same time, and never interfere each other. And you can upgrade or maintain versions knowing that each one has their own "space". Their own "isolated sandbox".

You can try Docker in Debian if you want to have a similar "software life-cycle philosophy".

That's my opinion. I hope it is useful.


Snappy is console-based Ubuntu to test and run programs under Ubuntu (versus Debian, and both are different). If GUI is your need, go with Raspian.

  • I see, console based. But is there any difference to to raspian ecosystem? I cant recall any ubuntu console application that does not run under debian...
    – jaromrax
    Apr 17, 2015 at 8:25
  • Why is Raspbian better than Ubuntu Mate? Oct 24, 2016 at 0:49

Snappy Core is for developers at this point. I dont believe it is ready for everyday use yet. It appears to lack repos for downloading packages. If you want to tinker I'd go with Raspbian for now.

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