Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

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Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

Postby MorayJ » 2010-04-05 23:11


I've been using Ubuntu for some time, but have recently come to Debian and am using Debian 5 (Lenny).

One problem I've been getting is that apt seems to want to autoremove stuff that it has no reason to be autoremoving. Out of bloody-mindedness the first time I let it do it and it took out gnome.

This time it has offered a list, most of which may be fine to go, but I notice it includes Rhytmbox and Serpentine. I'm using Gnome and don't see why it would think that I don't want these anymore.

Is there something I'm not understanding here?

Here is the list of things it wants to remove:
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
bluez-gnome python-notify libmtp7 aspell python-4suite-xml rhythmbox python-gnome2-extras gnome-themes-extras evolution-exchange
transmission-gtk transmission-common libgdl-1-common gnome-vfs-obexftp gnome-spell libopenobex1 system-config-printer libgda3-common
libgksuui1.0-1 python-eggtrayicon libgksu1.2-0 libgda3-3 libgdl-1-0 serpentine


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Re: Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

Postby Absent Minded » 2010-04-06 00:28

When something is installed that requires certian packages to run they are added as dependancies to that package. If that package is removed then it is seen as no longer needing those packages any more (even if you use them). One way to trigger apt to keep a package is to run "apt-get install <package>" This will tell apt that it is a primary package and not one installed to satisfy other dependancies.
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Re: Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

Postby ComputerBob » 2010-04-06 02:54

Here's another possibility:

A couple of days ago, Synaptic offered to autoremove a package that I knew it needed (sorry, I don't remember what it was).

Anyway, it turned out that, at some point after I had originally installed that package in the past, either I unwittingly disabled/deleted the repository that held that package, or someone moved the package itself to a different repository.

So I did some research to determine which repository currently holds that package; enabled that repository in Synaptic; and discovered that not only did Synaptic no longer list that package as "autoremovable," it offered me a newer version of it for me to install.
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Re: Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

Postby Telemachus » 2010-04-06 12:05

When you get this sort of problem with a large desktop, it's often related to what many people call the "metapackage problem."

There are discussions of that in a number of places here (and elsewhere on other Debian-related sites), but here's one I like ok (probably because I wrote it): http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=39045

Also, it's usually not a good idea to be "bloody-minded" about package management. Don't say yes unless you full understand what is going to happen (and ideally why).
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Re: Apt wants to autoremove programs I still use

Postby MorayJ » 2010-04-06 13:31

Thanks for all the tips and possible explanations - I've followed the link in the last post and I think that's what was going on the first time and something related to any one of the posts this time round.

Bloody-mindedness was not the way to go the first time, but I was just rather amazed it was asking me that and wanted to see if it really would mindlessly delete my gnome environment. I'd only just installed so it wasn't too much of a problem.

May look into disabling the autoremove feature as loose threads really annoy me and I don't want to see a list of things it's suggesting I should autoremove that I may then have to check if they are important or not.

Thanks for the help.

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