KDE and too many programs

Tez binary_y2k2 at blueyonder.co.uk
Wed Nov 22 06:25:17 UTC 2006

Rob Blomquist wrote:
> I usually don't take the time to install KDE the way I want, but now I am 
> getting very interested in paring down all those programs to the ones I want 
> and need, and those I don't.
> A big part of the problem are the metapackages and how they control the need 
> for all the tools. 
> Are metapackages safe to remove? Then customize the package choice as I wish, 
> while paying, of course, close attention to the dependancies involved? Ubuntu 
> seems to act as if they are crucial to the upgrades being handled properly.
> Rob
For general upgrades, that is just upgrading packages and installing
security updates, metapackages aren't really important. You can remove
them safely, in fact if you look at the description for the metapackages
it will say something like "It is safe to remove this package if some of
the desktop system packages are not desired." at the bottom (from
One of the best part of the packaging system ubuntu uses (dpkg/apt), is
that dependences are taken care of for you. That's why metapackages work
in the first place. Where you can run in to some trouble is with
distribution upgrades, e.g. Dapper to Edgy.
This is because there may be some packages that are added to the
dependences of the metapackages, like when the "upstart" package
replaced the "sysvinit" package. Without the metapackage you won't get
these updates. That's why you'll see the upgrade guides say "make sure
you have (k,ed,x)ubuntu-desktop installed.
So you can remove the metapackages without any trouble, it's just
upgrading to the next release that can cause problems. It's a trade-off
between making sure you have all the recommended packages and
customisation. Also it may be more difficult to get support, because
when you say, "I'm running Kubuntu Dapper", then we have a good idea of
what packages and configuration you have and version they are.
If you don't plan on upgrading to a new release for a while, like with
Dapper LTS, then you can remove the metapackages along with the packages
you don't want.

(Sorry for the essay)

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