[Wishlist] Removing software+dependencies in Synaptic is currently more difficult than installing them

Bug #122064 reported by Conrad Knauer
14
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
synaptic (Ubuntu)
Undecided
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Bug Description

Binary package hint: synaptic

Consider the following example:

I want to install the package "alien" to convert a RPM to DEB. Synaptic also asks (in Hardy) to install eight dependent packages:
debhelper dpkg-dev gettext html2text intltool-debian libtimedate-perl patch po-debconf
It does this automatically (very nice! :) and I just have to push a single button to mark them too.

Now that I'm done, if I want to remove the package "alien" and its dependencies, its not quite as nice. If I set up an 'Automatic Removable' filter and mark alien for removal, the eight dependent packages then appear on the list as well and I can then mark those for removal. While easier than manually tracking down unused dependencies, this is still somewhat more difficult than installing them in the first place.

What would be nicer would be a reverse the install process similar to how running "sudo apt-get autoremove alien" works, perhaps by a new removal option in Synaptic along the lines of 'Mark for autoremoval'.

Revision history for this message
Matthew Woerly (nattgew) wrote :

I believe that the autoremove option for apt-get (and Synaptic) has fixed this, can you confirm that?

Changed in synaptic:
status: New → Incomplete
Revision history for this message
Conrad Knauer (atheoi) wrote :

I can confirm (in Hardy, post beta) that the command line version works beautifully; e.g. as per my example of the alien package, after doing a fresh install from Synaptic:

---
$ sudo apt-get autoremove alien
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  debhelper intltool-debian po-debconf gettext libtimedate-perl dpkg-dev
  html2text patch
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  alien debhelper dpkg-dev gettext html2text intltool-debian libtimedate-perl
  patch po-debconf
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 9 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 12.4MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
(Reading database ... 147198 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing alien ...
Removing debhelper ...
Removing dpkg-dev ...
Removing po-debconf ...
Removing intltool-debian ...
Removing gettext ...
Removing html2text ...
Removing libtimedate-perl ...
Removing patch ...
---

(which is very neat; I didn't know about that :)

But unfortunately, I don't see a Synaptic option for this.

Revision history for this message
Matthew Woerly (nattgew) wrote :

In the Settings > Filters dialog, one of the boxes is "Automatic Removable," which I think does the same thing.

Revision history for this message
Conrad Knauer (atheoi) wrote :

I wasn't sure exactly what that did, so I tried it with my "alien" example and here's what happened:

Before selecting anything , the Automatic Removable (AR) filter showed nothing.
After marking alien for complete removal, AR showed alien for complete removal as well as listed the other eight dependant packages.
I could now easily mark them all for removal.

This is closer to what I was after, but there's still that manual step between marking alien for removal and removing it and all its otherwise unused dependencies.

The primary goal of my wishlist bug was to create a reverse of the regular install sequence, so that you can mark a package for installation and it also does that for its dependencies. Perhaps if one were to add an option when right-clicking a package "Mark for autoremoval" to thus have Synaptic ask what apt-get autoremove would: if we want to mark the other eight packages for removal too...

Revision history for this message
Matthew Woerly (nattgew) wrote :

Basically, when it installs, it automatically pulls in the dependencies, and you want it to automatically pull them out when you uninstall, too?
I like the simplicity... but I think there are reasons for the way it is set up, so that it doesn't accidentally remove things you want. I think that would be worse.
Could you edit your summary and description to reflect this? I'd do it, but since you seem to have something in mind, go ahead.

Revision history for this message
Matthew Woerly (nattgew) wrote :

I'll set this to confirmed. I think there's potential for a Wishlist item at least.

Changed in synaptic:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Conrad Knauer (atheoi) wrote :

"I think there are reasons for the way it is set up, so that it doesn't accidentally remove things you want. I think that would be worse."

Indeed; but if its made an additional option, e.g. the "Mark for autoremoval" or such, and it behaves just like apt-get autoremove except in a GUI-way, it will explicitly ask before marking the other packages too. And then you also have to go through the confirmation step in Synaptic, so I think the chances of accidentally deleting important packages are low.

I will edit the description in a moment; thanks for considering this as a wishlist item :)

Conrad Knauer (atheoi)
description: updated
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