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Thread: Mint 15: I am scared to uninstall packages

  1. #1
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    Question Mint 15: I am scared to uninstall packages

    If I mark some packages (hit or miss) in Synaptic Package Manager (or even if using 'sudo apt-get remove somepackage') the system will say that several or many other packages will also be removed-- and sometimes that just does not look like a good thing to do. For example, uninstalling something as simple as a media player might say that gnome will also be removed. Gnome? wtf, GNOME? Why would the gnome desktop need to be removed just to uninstall a media player?!? I have to say I have diminished confidence in uninstalling any app that also wants to uninstall a desktop manager like gnome. Am I missing something here other than the obvious which feels like synpatic or apt-get have deep problems with this? I sincerely hope I am wrong and that somehow some way it is actually safe to remove apps that also choose to remove what would seem like critical additional apps like gnome.
    Last edited by philinux; September 9th, 2013 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Mint added to prefix and title

  2. #2
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Note what is being uninstalled.
    There are meta-packages for the different desktop environments.
    These meta-packages only install the applications to run that complete environment.

    If you uninstall a package that is deemed to be part of that environment it will also uninstall the meta-package.
    eg if you uninstall a component of the Gnome desktop environment it will also uninstall the gnome meta-package.

    Re-installing the gnome meta-package will pull in all the default packages for Gnome desktop environment.
    ubuntu-desktop is also a meta-package.
    Last edited by stinkeye; September 8th, 2013 at 03:03 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Quote Originally Posted by stinkeye View Post
    Note what is being uninstalled. There are meta-packages for the different desktop environments. These meta-packages only install the applications to run that complete environment. If you uninstall a package that is deemed to be part of that environment it will also uninstall the meta-package. eg if you uninstall a component of the Gnome desktop environment it will uninstall the gnome meta-package. Re-installing the gnome meta-package will pull in all the default packages for Gnome desktop environment.
    ubuntu-desktop is also a meta-package.
    So for example I selected Abiword (word processor) for removal in Synpatic Package Manager and am notified that gnome will also be removed. Wtf?!? Why would the gnome desktop system need to be removed just to remove a word processor that has nothing to do with the gnome desktop system? This makes no sense to me and I suspect to others, and only can cause grief for unsuspecting linux noobs who think removing Abiword should cause no more damage to the desktop system than e.g. using the MS Windows control panel to remove Abiword for Windows. The elephant in the room seems to be that there is an inherent flaw with the package (app) removal system.

  4. #4
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    From CommonQuestions
    A meta-package is a package that doesn't contain applications within itself, but simply depends upon particular versions of other packages, so that when it is installed, it drags all of them in too. The package manager uses it to know which particular packages to install. For example, the ubuntu-desktop metapackage installs the full GNOME desktop environment, with all the other packages that are in a default Ubuntu install. The existence of meta-packages makes it very easy to install other Ubuntu derivatives on your desktop; see below for more information.

    It is technically just fine to remove a meta-package, if required, and this shouldn't necessarily cause any problems. However, it is strongly recommended that you reinstall that package if you decide to manually upgrade to another version of Ubuntu. The package manager requires those packages to be installed for it to successfully perform the upgrade.
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MetaPackages
    Last edited by stinkeye; September 8th, 2013 at 03:20 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Hmm. I have to admit I am not ready to execute the removal of Abiword given that it wants to remove the gnome metapackage-- not until I do a full backup of my Ubuntu system. Maybe someone with more faith in this could give it a try-- remove Abiword and report back that your gnome desktop is still intact and that nothing else is broken?

  6. #6
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    -
    A meta-package is a package that doesn't contain applications within itself
    A meta-package is basically just a list of applications that it depends upon.
    So when you uninstall one of the applications on the list, the meta-package is
    uninstalled also, because you no longer have the complete list.
    Want the complete list again, simply reinstall the meta-package.
    Last edited by stinkeye; September 8th, 2013 at 04:06 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Difference between a meta package and a package?... click below to find out...

    http://askubuntu.com/questions/66257/what-is-the-difference-between-a-meta-package-and-a-package


    Knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle.
    Last edited by Petro Dawg; September 8th, 2013 at 03:46 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    I can see Coder88's point of view, it is annoying that some programs have been packaged in such a way to have completely bizarre dependencies, for example on Xubuntu which already has lightdm and all of its required libraries installed, you try to install the unity-greeter package which is essentially just a different theme for lightdm, and shouldn't require hardly any dependencies that are not already installed, yet it pulls in the ubnutu-desktop meta package which in turn pulls in the likes of gnome-control-centre and the entire gnome3 libraries, even rhythmbox is pulled in as a dependency of unity-greeter, yet if you were to claim that unity-greeter needs rhythmbox to be installed to function, you would be a fool.

    Unfortunately its just the way that canonical have built the packages and there is very little that can be done about it. Apt-get is very good at balancing all the necessary packages unfortunately it's not up to apt-get as to what is classed as necessary.
    Catch me on Freenode - imark

  9. #9
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Anybody using Gnome up for removing their Abiword (install it if you do not have it), and letting me know if your Gnome desktop system stays intact? I read all the theory here, but (apt-get remove) trust needs to be earned, I just don't have the faith yet to remove Abiword when it hints of losing my Gnome desktop which would be disastrous. If I hear Abiword removal does not damage Gnome from someone who takes that leap of faith, then I might actually believe it. so who wants to do an Indiana Jones and step out onto that invisible walkway over (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)?

  10. #10
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    Re: I am scared to uninstall packages :)

    Well the simple way is to test it yourself but use this little trick. So on my Linux Mint system if I try to uninstall gnome-settings-daemon you'll see it tries to remove cinnamon, which is my desktop environment, just like gnome
    Code:
    mark@desktop ~ $ sudo apt-get remove gnome-settings-daemon 
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    The following package was automatically installed and is no longer required:
      gnome-control-center-data libgnome-control-center1 python-gpgme
    Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove it.
    The following packages will be REMOVED
      cinnamon cinnamon-control-center cinnamon-screensaver gnome-power-manager gnome-settings-daemon mint-meta-cinnamon nemo nemo-dropbox
      nemo-fileroller nemo-share
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 10 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
    After this operation, 13.6 MB disk space will be freed.
    Do you want to continue [Y/n]?
    So if before I try this I copy and paste everything just after the line "The following packages will be REMOVED" and before the line "0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 10 to remove and 4 not upgraded" and save it to /home/mark/Desktop/packages.txt
    Lets say I go ahead and remove this package and everything goes wrong and I can't log in, I can merely switch to a Ctrl+Alt+F6 terminal log in and run
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install $(cat /home/mark/Desktop/packages.txt)
    sudo reboot
    and bam, everything is back exactly as it was, no harm done
    Catch me on Freenode - imark

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