User experience report on Snappy Doc

Bug #1448686 reported by Samuel Cozannet on 2015-04-26
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu Developer Portal
Alexander Sack

Bug Description


Starting with some background in sysadmin, I have tried to use Ubuntu Snappy not from a developper perspective but rather from a user / admin perspective.
The experience is very poor.

My experience is to run Ubuntu Snappy Core on a BBB. First thing that happens is that the image that is burnt on the SD card is not bootable. You need to update uEnv.txt for it to be OK.
Secondly, it's written or indicated nowhere that you need to press the "User boot" button on the board for it to work.
On a side note, a quick explanation of how to plug the debug cable would have been nice for example.

Assuming you get past the installation, now you want to understand what you can do with it. That is:
* Now that there are no more repositories (apt), how do I hook myself to a store?
UX: when you do "sudo snappy list -v" on a vanilla image, there are less than 10 apps. Not even the simple ones one would expect.

* How to I create a store?
UX: the doc explains how to send an app to a store, "so that it's shared with others". Really? Assuming I do that, how do people know about my app? How do they update their local repo or list available apps? I mean people are used to PPAs, and now there is nothing to explain how we replace it.

* How do I install a snap from the .snapp file?
UX: Beside the ssh remote install command, there is absolutely no reference to any kind of other installation for .snap files. Isn't there a command to install a snap from the CLI for the local machine?

* How do I interact with service? (start, stop, restart)
UX: there is no documentation at all about services. Not a single line! This is very confusing.

* How do I discover the name of services (the only reference of service I could find on the doc is for the webcam stuff: sudo systemctl status -l webcam-demo_webcam-demo_1.0.1.service). Isn't it a shorter way to get the status of the device? What when the version changes? Where do I find that name? Can I create shortcuts?

* Next steps?
UX: in the docs, if you're not a developer, once you have your device installed, there is nothing else to do. And absolutely no information on Google or other engines. It's very very frustrating.
Giving examples about how to change network settings, change the hostname, all the basic things that people want to do... None is documented.

* Docker info?
UX: Docker is the only software in the store that is not a demo / tutorial somehow. It's also a very cool way of running apps. Why not add a short tutorial to explain how to install a docker container and run it? Like the wordpress example of Juju, a sort of hello world to have something to do.

* Copy to eMMC??
UX: the BBB has an internal 2GB eMMC. Other systems are usually flashed to that memory so that you don't need the SD Card anymore. Where is it? Why can't I burn the snappy image to the eMMC?

* Access to GPIO / i2c...
UX: BBBs, Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi... All those systems are to play with Arduino, build projects, interface with the world. The documentation doesn't mention any experience using something else. What happens when I plug a USB device? How do I get info about it as I used to with Ubuntu? How do I send a GPIO impulse? How to I setup UART stuff?
On this note, for example one thing that is key to IoT is to access the serial number of a device, because it gives you a way to ID it / register it. Well, the standard methods to get access to that info are not valid anymore. Why is that?

Sorry if this sound negative. The fact is that the user experience (not the developer experience) is very poor with Snappy. One get stuck immediately. If I wasn't a Canonical employee, I would immediately re-install my beloved Ubuntu 14.04 armhf image that works so well and give me a real app ecosystem and a real access to the system. At least it does something.

Changed in developer-ubuntu-com:
assignee: nobody → Alexander Sack (asac)
Daniel Holbach (dholbach) wrote :

Can we reassign this bug to something else? developer-ubuntu-com is just about the developer site and I don't know quite how to fix all the small individual points you're mentioning on the developer site.

The only thing we could stress on the developer site is that Ubuntu Core is a *minimal* system, which is supposed to be used on devices which run services independently, etc.

Daniel Holbach (dholbach) wrote :

Alex: what do you think?

tags: added: snap-docs
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