Ubuntu 24.04 Swaps Cheese for GNOME Snapshot
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 was notable for being an Linux alternative to Apple’s iBooth (later Photo Booth) software as it include a ton of real-time video effects powered by GStreamer — which may look pretty basic today but don’t knock ’em, kid: in 2010 they were super impressive!

While Cheese remains a fun tool its uniqueness has worn off. If we want filters on our selfies these days we turn to our smartphones. And with modern flippable, detachable, and discombobulate-able devices including multiple high-resolution cameras, quality over novelty is paramount.

This is why GNOME developers created Snapshot: it’s a proper camera app, not a “Photo Booth” clone. Its role is to take photos and record video clips. A live image fills the entire window, there’s a toggle to display composition-lines, and controls are overlaid.

Like Cheese, you are able to use Snapshot to take photos (on a timer, if needed) and record short video clips, but it has no video effects at all — I don’t think most people will miss those since other sorts of apps offer those sort of things built-in, powered by AI, etc.

One thing Cheese does have that Snapshot (to my knowledge) does not are camera controls. These let you can set photo and video resolution and adjust brightness/contrast/saturation before taking a snap — though in Cheese those changes only affects what’s seen in-app and not globally in other apps.

Arguably, a third-party tool like cameractrls is a much better fit for that use-case, anyway.

“I don’t want a webcam app!!”, someone will moan — so let me stress that this software swap only impacts those who opt for the full Ubuntu install. The standard, default minimal install of Ubuntu does not install Cheese at present and, in Ubuntu 24.04, won’t install Snapshot either.

“I want Cheese!!”, okay mouse, you got it: Cheese is still available to install from the noble repos or, if you mean the other variety, from the nearest supermarket.

If you plan on test-driving the Ubuntu 24.04 beta due next week, look out for this!


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