Curt <> writes:

> I think in the OP's case having asked for the whole Gnome kit and
> caboodle upon installation he's got lots of stuff he might not even be
> aware of necessarily that doesn't fall into the auto category (or the
> high priority required category either), but that he didn't expressly
> install. I guess I'm just repeating what you already said though. I
> suppose the confusion derives from the fact that the word manual
> connotes "requiring human effort," and certain manual packages appear
> on our systems effortlessly. 

The present thread has collected many replies whose I thank all that kindly
contributed.  But I unfortunately see no real solution to the general problem I
put to myself of which the uninstallation of Gnome is only an example.

Suppose that, during months and years, you have installed many packages in your
Debian system that you no more want and no more use, and that you want to free
some space on disk because your machine is old with a small hard disk.  The
problem is what packages you can be really sure and safe to remove.

First, you need knowing what actually you have installed with your hands
because you don't remember them all.  This information is not provided by
apt-mark because its meaning of `manual' is not yours.  That information is
stored here and there, in pieces and chunks, within /var/log inside apt-get,
aptitude an dpkg log files that is not so simple to grep.  Besides, those files
seem to go back in the past not further 12 months or so.  So the best way is to
take note, in future, with pencil and paper, of what you installed during time;
and, for the present, erase the disk and reinstall everything.

Now, suppose you know - thanks to pencil and paper - what packages you've been
installed on your system since its creation.  And suppose that you decide to
remove, say, package1 bcause you don't need it any more.  You do: `aptitude
purge package1' or equivalent command but here comes another problem: only
package1 is removed but not all those packages that were installed at its time
along with package1.  Then you use for this purpose deborphans.  But this
morning I did a little experiment (see thread `deborphan') and it came out that
neither deborphan seems to actually remove those orphans packages.  The
solution seems so to be that pencil and paper should take note *also* of those
children or configuration files and not only of the main packages - in future.
In the present, erase and reinstall.

It seems to me not very enthusiastical all this.  To you?



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