Software Installation – Why Are Chromium and VLC Versions Different Sizes in Ubuntu?

chromiumsoftware installationsoftware-centervlc

If there is no difference between two Chromium options I see while installing, other than their developers, then why do their sizes differ? One is 212Mb and the other 224Kb. There's a similar case with VLC.

Best Answer

One is traditionally distributed in deb package form and the other is distributed as a snap package

See What is the difference between snaps and Ubuntu Software Center-based apps? for details.

The differences in size

This is because of how the two distribution systems handle dependencies. Linux apps (software) depend on a lot of common files.

deb packages

With a traditional distribution system like deb, you download and install files used by multiple apps only once. Sometimes two different apps may need different versions of one common file. This can cause conflicts. This is one of the reasons the apps in the Canonical-managed repositories for a particular version of Ubuntu, say 18.04, are not always the latest version. The advantage is small download and installed size and maximum compatibility with all the common files.

snap packages

The snap system puts all the files (common or not) in a sandbox. This makes the download and install size very big, but one app does not depend on any other files used by another app. This makes snap based apps very stable and secure. This also allows the maintainers of snap packages to update the app to the latest version without worrying about the new version of some common file breaking some other app. The advantage is always having the latest version.

Hope this helps