[xubuntu-users] Question about the Software Center in 14.04

Benjamin Shadwick benshadwick at gmail.com
Mon Feb 17 21:15:16 UTC 2014

On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM, Peter Flynn <peter at silmaril.ie> wrote:

> I also do not understand any problem with Synaptic. I use apt-get for
> single installs or non-repo packages, but Synaptic wins with the ability
> to select multiple packages and have them installed together, and with a
> much easier interface than Software Center.

I feel the same way.

> The BIG missing feature in all package managers is the inability to list
> all packages which you have added/deleted since system installation
> which were NOT part of the system installation.

This is partly the fault of the people who maintain the distributions and
their installers. Most packages installed during system installation should
be listed as dependencies of a metapackage (e.g. xubuntu-desktop) and
flagged as automatically installed. Some distros are better about this than
others (Mint, for example, is absolutely terrible).

I believe it is possible to do this in apt, but I haven't found how.

One thing I've done in the past when I got fed up with not being able to
tell which "manually installed" packages were installed by the OS installer
and not by me, was to have a script call aptitude to find out what manually
installed packages are dependencies of other installed packages, and then
flag those packages as automatically installed. This usually leaves only a
couple dozen top-level packages in the "manually installed" list/category,
which is much easier to manage.

If you're interested, I can post the script. Note that it doesn't always
get things right (especially in the case of circular dependencies), so you
must check your "auto removable" list afterwards in case something should
actually be marked as manually installed (for example, I just ran the
script on my Xubuntu box, and it set the language-pack-en and bzr family of
packages as automatically installed).
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