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12 May 2010 Howto remove orphan packages in Ubuntu

There is usually some orphan packages left on the system after upgrading Ubuntu from one major version to another. These packages can cause strange errors like Ubuntu bug #151045. The solution to this problem is a package named deborphan. deborphan removes orphan packages that are left on your Ubuntu installation and you should run this program after any major Ubuntu upgrade.

Install and run deborphan

# sudo aptitude install deborphan
# sudo deborphan

Result

liblzo1
libdb4.3
libsasl2

These files were listed on one of my Ubuntu 8.04 installations. This installation had been upgraded from a previous LTS version.

All we have to do now is to remove those orphaned packages

# sudo deborphan | xargs sudo aptitude purge -y

This howto has not been tested on a Debian distribution, but I guess it will work there also.

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25 Mar 2008 aptitude cheatsheet

aptitude is a great alternative to apt-get and the best way to install, remove, upgrade, and otherwise administer packages on you system with apt. aptitude solves orphaned dependencies and has a curses interface that blows the doors off of dselect. Finally, and most importantly, it takes advantage of one tool, doing many many operations:

Syntax Description
aptitude Running it with no arguments brings up a curses based interface to search, navigate, install, update and otherwise administer packages
aptitude install Installing software for your system, installing needed dependencies as well
aptitude -d install Download packages to the package cache as necessary, but do not install or remove anything.
aptitude remove Removing packages as well as orphaned dependencies
aptitude purge Removing packages and orphaned dependencies as well as any configuration files left behind
aptitude search Search for packages in the local apt package lists
aptitude update Update the local packages lists
aptitude upgrade Upgrade any installed packages that have been updated
aptitude clean Delete any downloaded files necessary for installing the software on your system
aptitude dist-upgrade Upgrade packages, even if it means uninstalling certain packages
aptitude show Show details about a package name
aptitude autoclean Delete only out-of-date packages, but keep current ones
aptitude hold Fix a package at it’s current version, and don’t update it

aptitude uses many of the same commands as apt-get. It is not a good idea to use both, you should either use aptitude or apt-get exclusively, or your dependencies might get confused.

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24 Mar 2008 Advantages using aptitude instead of apt-get

apt-get is a command-line package handling utility while aptitude is a high-level interface to the package manager. There isn’t much difference between the two except aptitude will remove unused package dependencies automatically whereas with apt-get you have to do it manually. Neither removes dependencies as that would cause problems. Dependencies are packages that are depended on by other packages. You don’t want to remove them.

To remove unused packages with apt-get use

sudo apt-get autoremove

With aptitude there is nothing to do as it’s automatic.

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15 Sep 2007 aptitude – high-level interface to the package manager

aptitude is a text-based interface to the Debian GNU/Linux package system.

It allows the user to view the list of packages and to perform package management tasks such as installing, upgrading, and removing packages. Actions may be performed from a visual interface or from the command-line.

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