The real-time chat and collaboration app, which is popular with major companies all around the world, has been packaged up and released as a Snap app on the Ubuntu Store.
What is Slack?
Wikipedia describes Slack as “…a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services”, a description that makes the platform sound painfully dull.
It’s anything but; Slack is vibrant, dynamic, and fast paced. Scores of well-known companies, teams, and creatives use it, as do many open source projects.
It’s sort of like e-mail mashed with IRC and WhatsApp. It lets distributed teams of all shades keep in touch and on top of what each other is up to, using text, emoji, hashtags, files and more in real-time.
One of the most compelling features of Slack is that every message and bit of communication is archived for future searching.
Companies get to create their own ‘slack’ space, and create separate ‘channels’ for discussion and oversight of specific topics, and so on. Third party apps bring integration with external productivity services like Dropbox, Github, Twitter, Gmail and more.
Over 6 million people use Slack every day so making the app easily available on Ubuntu is a great move. Even if only a fraction of those 6 million people use Ubuntu, it’ll be one less reason for them to dual-boot into their Windows or macOS partition.
“Slack is helping to transform the modern workplace, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the snaps ecosystem”, said Jamie Bennett, VP of Engineering, Devices & IoT at Canonical.
“Today’s announcement is yet another example of putting the Linux user first – Slack’s developers will now be to push out the latest features straight to the user. By prioritising usability, and with the popularity of open source continuing to grow, the number of snaps is only set to rise in 2018.”
Slack isn’t new to Ubuntu per se (it’s been available for Linux for a while) but you’ve needed to head out and download a package from the web and then install it manually.
But now an official Slack Snap app is available on the Ubuntu Store, meaning it’s deliciously simple to install the app on Ubuntu and (in theory) a slate of other Linux distributions too.
How to Install Slack on Ubuntu
To install Slack on Ubuntu from the Ubuntu Software app click this button:
If you prefer to install apps using the command line, or you’re using a Linux distro other than Ubuntu, you can run this command:
sudo snap install slack --classic
Whichever way you choose, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Once the package download and installs you will be able to find Slack in your applications menu and launch it.
Follow the on screen prompts to get set-up and join any Slack workspace available to you.
Download Slack (non-Snap)
You can still download Slack for Linux from the Slack website if you’d rather, but the Snap app will ensure you’re kept up to date with future releases as and when they’re released, automatically.
Open Source Alternatives to Slack
For the best Ubuntu experience on the Unity desktop you may want to consider using a third-party or unofficial Slack app.
Scudcloud is especially popular with users of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS because it neatly integrates with the Unity desktop. This means you get things like an unread message count on the Unity launcher, native notification bubbles, an indicator applet, and a Unity quicklist for fast switching between Slack channels.
You can download Scudcloud from Github, or install it from the a PPA by running these commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:rael-
sudo apt update && sudo apt install scudcloud
For an open source alternative to Slack that is self-hosted try Mattermost. It offers many of the same features as Slack, but is free, open-source software.