gnome software leaves dependencies installed

Bug #1552792 reported by Kev Bowring on 2016-03-03
This bug affects 12 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
GNOME Software
Release Notes for Ubuntu
gnome-software (Ubuntu)
packagekit (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Using gnome software (or another PackageKit or aptdaemon based UI) to install an application - removal of that package leaves behind dependencies

Installing an application with ubuntu software centre only leaves behind config files (seen in synaptic labelled for complete removal).

After installing and then removing alarm clock with USC -

sudo apt-get autoremove
[sudo] password for wolf:
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 1 not to upgrade.

After cleaning up and then reinstalling with gnome software, followed by the removal

sudo apt-get autoremove
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED
  libappindicator1 libindicator7
0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 2 to remove and 1 not to upgrade.
After this operation, 184 kB disk space will be freed.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.04
Package: gnome-software 3.19.92~git20160303.26a927d-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.4.0-10.25-generic 4.4.3
Uname: Linux 4.4.0-10-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20-0ubuntu3
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: XFCE
Date: Thu Mar 3 16:23:45 2016
InstallationDate: Installed on 2015-10-29 (126 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Xubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" - Alpha amd64 (20151029)
SourcePackage: gnome-software
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Kev Bowring (flocculant) wrote :
Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Does USC do an autoremove afterwards or does it explicitly remove dependencies?

Changed in gnome-software (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Medium
Kev Bowring (flocculant) wrote :

to be honest - I have no idea what USC actually does.

Given that the dependencies aren't there to autoremove I would assume that it does do that.

Robert Ancell (robert-ancell) wrote :

Michael Vogt confirmed that USC automatically removed unused dependencies. We should do the same.

See aptdaemon/worker/ _check_obsoleted_dependencies()

Changed in ubuntu-release-notes:
status: New → Fix Released
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Any progress regarding this issue?

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Still the same issue in 17.10

tags: added: artful
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Any news?

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

This issue is there since Ubuntu 16.04. There is not any user-friendly (for regular users) way to remove the dependencies. It is a problem since many applications depend on other applications, parts of other desktop environments etc. and removing the applications leave users with many unwanted applications/packages they are not able to remove. Please, fix this issue.

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

For example uninstalling Steam is a problem because of this issue:

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) on 2017-11-09
tags: added: bionic
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

I really hope that this bug will be finally fixed in Ubuntu 18.04.

Changed in gnome-software:
importance: Unknown → High
status: Unknown → Confirmed
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

I have created a separate bug report for the Steam issue:

Changed in gnome-software:
status: Confirmed → Invalid
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) on 2018-02-02
summary: - gnome software leaves dependencies installed
+ PackageKit leaves dependencies installed
description: updated
summary: - PackageKit leaves dependencies installed
+ gnome software leaves dependencies installed
AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

The aptcc PackageKit backend developer told me that autoremove is already supported for more than 5 years, since this commit from 2012:

But it still does not work when using pkcon or GNOME Software. Maybe it is not enabled by default?

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

More information from Julian Klode (

"Sure, it's an option given to backends, see pk_backend_remove_packages() - it's a parameter in the Dbus API's RemovePackages() method. In the client API, you can specify it as a boolean parameter for pk_client_remove_packages_async.

But it's not the kind of autoremove that would be correct for gnome-software - gnome-software needs to remove "new garbage", that is only packages that become unused as a result of the removal and not any other unrelated garbage that has accumulated over time."

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

It would be great if the correct autoremove method could be implemented in PackageKit or GNOME Software.

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

As I wrote in the github PackageKit bug report: I offer 1 ETH (currently ~852 USD) to anyone who manages to implement (and gets upstreamed) a working autoremove support for packages that are uninstalled using GNOME Software on Ubuntu/Debian. ;-)

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

I don't have the ETH anymore, but I will send $600 via PayPal to the one who fixes this issue.

AsciiWolf (asciiwolf) wrote :

Still no progress regarging this issue?

no longer affects: aptdaemon (Ubuntu)
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