Ubuntu Desktop will eventually switch to "snap" packages by default, while continuing to provide deb-based images as an alternative, at least for a while. I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise for some of you, but further details regarding this have been revealed today.
Will Cooke, Ubuntu Desktop Manager at Canonical, posted a notice for Ubuntu Desktop Next (a Unity 8 desktop build used for testing) users which mentions that for 15.10, the plan is to have "a build based on Snappy Personal and so the current .deb based Desktop Next image will be going away and will be replaced with the new Snappy version".
Since Will's notice was pretty vague, it raised quite a few questions, especially regarding the future of Ubuntu Desktop and Michael Hall from Canonical tried to answer some of them on Reddit (/r/Ubuntu). Here's a quick summary (copy/pasted from Reddit):
Q: Will all of Ubuntu be based on snappy packages in the mid-/long term instead of deb/click?
A: All Ubuntu will use snap packages eventually, yes. But the system images and even some of the snappy apps will be built from debs.
Q: What happens after Ubuntu 16.04 (assuming Mir and Unity 8 land as default)? Are there going to be two branches, one with click packages, one with deb?
A: That is the plan, yes, but the details still need to be worked out at UOS.
Q: Is Ubuntu moving away from dpkg and apt altogether? What does that mean for its relationship with Debian?
A: Our system images are still built from debs in the archive, our relationship with Debian isn't going away anytime soon.
Q: How does Snappy (or click--whatever) improve updates on the Desktop? Does it bring improved security & privacy in any ways so there is less chance of installing harmful software or more secure delivery methods?
A: Snap packages are more secure, yes, and they can be updated by their upstream at any time, they don't get frozen to the Ubuntu release. So you get newer apps, safer apps, and the upstream gets more control over it's distribution.
Q: Snappy Personal = *.click?
A: Snappy is an evolution of click, which will eventually replace clicks on the phone. Snappy Personal is to phone and desktop what Snappy Core is to cloud and IoT, it's the base install image that provides the minimum functionality needed for you to get started.
Q: Could you briefly explain the advantages of snappy packages over click packages?
A: Snappy packages can provide platforms or services that other snap packages can depend on, something clicks could not. Otherwise they are the same. The snappy tool can also update your system image, where that was a separate tool from click.
Q: What about the impact of that in other ubuntu editions (kubuntu, xubuntu)? Everyone is supposed to move to snappy and abandon apt/dpkg?
A: The flavors won't be affected unless they choose to add snappy support themselves to get its benefits.
Q: In this future scenario, will we see ppa's moving from apt/deb to snappy too? If yes, will we have both versions running?
A: With click/snappy you really don't need a PPA anymore.
Check out the full Reddit conversation HERE. You can find more information about Snappy and snap packages in our Snappy Ubuntu Core post (Snappy Ubuntu Core is a cloud-optimized Ubuntu flavor, but the article also explains what Snappy packages are).
The Ubuntu Online Summit, which will take place between 5th and 7th of May, should reveal more information about this.