Transition from Cheese to Snapshot: The New Webcam App in Ubuntu 24.04

Cheese (left) and Snapshot (right) in action

Ubuntu 24.04 is switching its default webcam app from Cheese to Snapshot, a modern GTK4/libadwaita camera tool that’s part of the GNOME Core Apps set.

Cheese has been part of Ubuntu’s default software lineup since 2010, having first been added in the Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix owing to the rise of diminutive, underpowered laptops that included dark, dire 0.3MP webcams (webcams weren’t super common in cheap laptops prior to this).

Indeed, once upon a time people (hi 👋) made heavy use of Cheese for their instant messaging profile pics, and the app included integrated plugins to upload what we’d now call selfies to stuffy, professional-leading photo sharing websites such as Flickr — oh, the gall!

Cheese stands out as a Linux alternative to Apple’s iBooth (which later became Photo Booth). This software included a wide variety of real-time video effects powered by GStreamer. Though these effects might seem basic now, they were very impressive in 2010!

While Cheese is still a fun tool, it’s uniqueness has faded. Nowadays, we generally use our smartphones for filtering our selfies. With current devices featuring multiple high-resolution cameras and different configurations, quality tends to trump novelty.

This is the reasoning behind GNOME developers creating Snapshot. Unlike a “Photo Booth” replica, Snapshot is a full-fledged camera app, designed to take photos and record videos. The live image covers the entire window, there’s an option to show composition lines, and the controls are overlaid for convenience.

Similar to Cheese, you can use Snapshot to take timed photos and record short video clips. However, Snapshot does not provide any video effects. But most people probably won’t miss those, as other applications often embed similar features, boosted by AI and the like.

One element Cheese has that Snapshot does not, at least to my understanding, are camera controls. These enable you to set the photo and video resolution, and adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation before capturing a photo. However, in Cheese, these adjustments only affect what is seen within the app and do not globally affect other applications.

Arguably, an external tool like cameractrls is a much better option for that specific use-case.

“I don’t want a webcam app!!”, someone might complain — so let me clarify that this software switch only affects users who choose the full Ubuntu install. The standard, default minimal install of Ubuntu currently does not include Cheese and, in Ubuntu 24.04, it will not include Snapshot either.

“I want Cheese!!”, alright mouse, you got it: Cheese is still available for installation from the noble repositories, or if you are referring to the other type, it can be found at the nearest supermarket.

If you are considering trying out the Ubuntu 24.04 beta which will be released next week, be attentive for this!



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