Thanks for the bug and triage folks.

While this is confirmed/known behavior, I don't think cloud-init should
be automatically removing core configuration files that are not packaged
by cloud-init's deb package especially if removal of those config files
can have catastrophic consequences on the ability to connect to the
system.  If the networking service happens to be restarted outside of
the perview of the admin purging the cloud-init package it would be very
surprising for the unsuspecting admin to see the system drop.

Also we are aware of use-cases where folks may expect to use cloud-init
once, and have attempted to remove cloud-init deb package after initial
system configuration is correctly performed to ensure cloud-init no
longer acts to reconfigure the system in the future.

While this use-case above is probably less desirable that just disabling
cloud-init via `sudo touch /etc/cloud/cloud-init.disabled` it does allow
image creators to reduce the overall size of their image if they are
trying to generate customized images with cloud-init and remove cloud-
init and any other dependencies on which cloud-init relies.

I'd prefer we avoid addressing this in packaging specifically, though we could 
grow this functionality in cloud-init clean to clean up network config 
artifacts generated by cloud-init. This would at least make it easier for your 
use-case of cleaning up all network config files that cloud-init generated on a 

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  purging cloud-init doesn't remove its network configuration files

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