How to clean up unnecessary dependencies?

Steve Turnbull steve.turnbull at
Thu Dec 1 09:01:43 GMT 2005

On Thursday 01 December 2005 00:02, Simon Rönnqvist wrote:
> On Thursday 01 December 2005 01:27, Scott wrote:
> > Simon Rönnqvist wrote:
> > >   Hi!
> > >
> > > Thanks for the answer...
> > > I also happened to find another solution, which should de about exactly
> > > what I was asking for. Aptitude seems to have this kind of
> > > functionality... aptitude seems really cool... I need to see if it'll
> > > replace my use of synaptic, adept and apt-get alltogether... ;-)
> > >
> > > Does anybody have any experiances and opinions to share about aptitude?
> > >
> > >   cheers, Simon
> >
> > I tried using it in place of apt-get and often found about a bajillion
> > packages started being held back and it only got worse.
> >
> > I went back to using apt-get and the problem went away.
> >
> > However, I'm sure I wasn't using aptitude correctly or wasn't taking
> > advantage of other features that would have solved my problem.
>   Hi!
> Aptitude has a feature called "resolver" which suggests certain
> combinations of packages, sometimes it suggests downgrades (I think usually
> to resolve possible conflicts with obsolete configurations, but I'm not
> sure). If one agrees to let it perform a downgrade the package becomes held
> back.
> When it comes to my question about unnecessary dependencies I found out a
> little more from my research. ;-) It seems like the functionality to mark
> which packages were manually added and which were automatically added as
> dependencies only works with packages installed by aptitude. One can of
> course change already installed packages' states manually, but that's no
> fun if you've got a couple of hundred dependencies. ;-)
> In that case it's probably better to remove orphans (as described before or
> with synaptic's filtering), but I found that it's not as efficient as
> aptitude's marking system. I think also think it only affects libraries,
> but I'm not sure. Knowing this I think it seems like a good idea to stick
> to aptitude only. This shouldn't be too hard since it has both a menu and a
> command-line interface, so it seems to be a good option for anybody who can
> do with an ANSI-GUI instead of Gtk/Qt. ;-)
>   cheers, Simon
> PS. Well, if you're using a really slow system apt-get might be a better
> option. (Like about Pentium 100MHz... ;-) But then again you're not using
> Kubuntu... ;-) ...and then you're not unpatient anyways...

Just one thought to add to this thread...

If one day you install a package and all of its dependencies, say three or 
four of them. Then a month later you install another package. One of the 
dependencies of the second package also happens to be one of the dependencies 
of the first package from a month ago, hence this will just 'be there' and 
not required a re-installed.

If you manually kept a track of all dependencies from the first package, and 
then removed all of them when you decided to remove the package, you would 
then break the second package you installed a month later - you have removed 
one of its dependencies.

All of the front end apps (Synaptic, Kynaptic, Aptitude et al) all track these 
dependencies for this reason. I personally use apt-get and Synaptic, they 
seem the simplest to use and don't break things. On my laptops/PC I don't 
worry about having a few 'extra unused' packages kicking around. On my 
servers (Debian, but all the same), I build them with absolutely no packages 
installed except the base system. Because there is no X windows running, I 
have to use apt-get (don't like aptitude) or go direct to dpkg...

I have never used deborphan, but will look into this. Has anyone else had any 
bad experiences with it?

Sorry to waffle...

Steve Turnbull

Digital Content Developer
YHGfL Foundation

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