Removing single program from multi program packages

Loïc Martin loic.martin3 at
Mon Mar 23 13:43:41 UTC 2009

Mike Jones wrote:
>     Is there just no way for a package maintaner to not have extra work 
> piled on their already hefty load while at the same time we allow a user 
> of Ubuntu to remove most traces of a program in a package with multiple 
> programs without having to also remove the rest of them? Is it worth 
> doing even if its possible? I think I'm in a somewhat unique position of 
> having extreme distaste whenever my system tells me I can't do something 
> in a counter intuitive way.
You can remove the program and keep the other ones in the package 
actually - nothing is preventing you to do so, even the system. The 
cleanest solution would be for you to repackage gnome-games (or whatever 
name the package is called) for your personal use, while excluding the 
programs you don't want.

Quite a lot of work for absolutely no gain, but could we expect Ubuntu 
developers and package maintainers to spend days doing that for us while 
we wouldn't spend the same amount of time ourselves (including the time 
googling for howtos and such)? Especially when they already have far 
more critical bugs to address (like when the programs don't even run, or 
when people can't install Ubuntu or run it on their machines ;) ).

But all in all, nothing is preventing you to do what you want to achieve.

Fact is, the way it's done now allows easy upgrades for millions of 
people who are quite please to see the selection of programs updated for 
each release, while said programs only take a few kb of space on their 
drives. And to be fair, when people are complaining they can't remove 
foo without removing bar or ubuntu-desktop, I always wonder why they 
point to programs that only takes a few kB of space while being 
oblivious to the hundreds of MB taken by fonts, translations, libraries, 
system utilities, drivers... they'd never use in a lifetime, but that 
are invaluable because they make peripherals, foreign languages 
documents and other things work out of the box in Linux.

For space-constrained drives, there's Damn Small Linux, and if we were 
shooting for that goal I'm not so sure you'd find so many developers and 
packagers in Ubuntu.

If unused programs are really an issue but you're not so tight on space 
to use DSL, the Ubuntu server install could probably address your needs 
better - just chose all the programs that you need one by one, and you'd 
  end up with far less programs than you'd have just trying to get rid 
of individual programs in multi-program packages that show in the menus. 
Such a difference it wouldn't be funny.


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