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Boris Quiroz
Boris Quiroz

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Ubuntu: Remove disabled snaps

In October 2015, Ubuntu 15.10 was shipped with something called snappy, which is the "software deployment and package management system developed by Canonical" (copy/paste from Wikipedia).

By now, most of Ubuntu users are not aware of snaps until they run a df -h and they see something like:

/dev/loop1                   174M  174M     0 100% /snap/spotify/34
/dev/loop4                    55M   55M     0 100% /snap/core18/1049
/dev/loop3                   141M  141M     0 100% /snap/gnome-3-26-1604/88
/dev/loop5                   4.2M  4.2M     0 100% /snap/gnome-calculator/406
/dev/loop7                    89M   89M     0 100% /snap/core/7270
/dev/loop8                   2.8M  2.8M     0 100% /snap/telegram-cli/25
/dev/loop9                   1.0M  1.0M     0 100% /snap/gnome-logs/61
/dev/loop10                   36M   36M     0 100% /snap/gtk-common-themes/1198
/dev/loop11                  436M  436M     0 100% /snap/libreoffice/133
/dev/loop12                  150M  150M     0 100% /snap/gnome-3-28-1804/63
/dev/loop13                   89M   89M     0 100% /snap/core/7169
/dev/loop14                   57M   57M     0 100% /snap/snapcraft/3059
/dev/loop15                   15M   15M     0 100% /snap/gnome-characters/292
/dev/loop16                  181M  181M     0 100% /snap/spotify/35
/dev/loop17                  3.8M  3.8M     0 100% /snap/gnome-system-monitor/95
/dev/loop20                  141M  141M     0 100% /snap/gnome-3-26-1604/90
/dev/loop21                  419M  419M     0 100% /snap/libreoffice/134
/dev/loop2                   3.8M  3.8M     0 100% /snap/gnome-system-monitor/100
/dev/loop22                   15M   15M     0 100% /snap/gnome-characters/296
/dev/loop23                  150M  150M     0 100% /snap/gnome-3-28-1804/67
/dev/loop24                   43M   43M     0 100% /snap/gtk-common-themes/1313
/dev/loop0                    55M   55M     0 100% /snap/core18/1055

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The thing is, when an snap is installed the previous version is not uninstalled or removed, and you manually need to do that. Also, keep in mind that "updates" are, in fact, the install of a new version... So by doing the math, in a few months your df -h will be a mess.

To identify with more detail snaps installed in my computer, the best option is:

$ snap list --all                      
Name                  Version                     Rev   Tracking  Publisher       Notes
core                  16-2.39.3                   7270  stable    canonical✓      core
core                  16-2.39.2                   7169  stable    canonical✓      core,disabled
core18                20190627                    1049  stable    canonical✓      base,disabled
core18                20190704                    1055  stable    canonical✓      base
gnome-3-26-1604             90    stable/…  canonical✓      -
gnome-3-26-1604             88    stable/…  canonical✓      disabled
gnome-3-28-1804       3.28.0-10-gaa70833.aa70833  67    stable    canonical✓      -
gnome-3-28-1804       3.28.0-10-gaa70833.aa70833  63    stable    canonical✓      disabled
gnome-calculator      3.32.1                      406   stable/…  canonical✓      -
gnome-characters      v3.32.1+git2.3367201        292   stable/…  canonical✓      disabled
gnome-characters      v3.32.1+git2.3367201        296   stable/…  canonical✓      -
gnome-logs            3.32.0-4-ge8f3f37ca8        61    stable/…  canonical✓      -
gnome-system-monitor  3.32.1-2-ga7c19eaeff        95    stable/…  canonical✓      disabled
gnome-system-monitor  3.32.1-3-g0ea89b4922        100   stable/…  canonical✓      -
gtk-common-themes     0.1-16-g2287c87             1198  stable/…  canonical✓      disabled
gtk-common-themes     0.1-22-gab0a26b             1313  stable/…  canonical✓      -
libreoffice                      134   stable    canonical✓      -
libreoffice                      133   stable    canonical✓      disabled
snapcraft             3.6                         3059  stable    canonical✓      classic
spotify           35    stable    spotify✓        -
spotify           34    stable    spotify✓        disabled
telegram-cli          1.4.5                       25    stable    marius-quabeck  -
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And here's something interesting: The Notes column. Maybe we can use that column to filter and remove unused or disabled snaps? Yes, we can! And I do it with the following script:

set -eu

snap list --all | awk '/disabled/{print $1, $3}' |
    while read s r; do
        sudo snap remove "$s" --revision="$r"
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As usual, I hope it helps :)

Top comments (4)

mohbra profile image

Hi Boris, thanks for this great tip, once you have executed the batch how long should it take before taking effect ?

boris profile image
Boris Quiroz

Hi mohbra,
It really depends on how many snaps you have. This is the time it took me to remove 13 old snaps a few minutes ago: clean-snap 0.54s user 0.59s system 7% cpu 15.392 total

mohbra profile image

It’s weird when I ran the command to view the list it sort of hanged on me. So cancel the request created the batch and run it. It’s still going on. The thing is I have executed the batch from ssh. Any advice on what I can do next

Thread Thread
mohbra profile image

It’s been over an hour now.