Removal of ubuntu-desktop needs a stronger warning

Bug #49524 reported by Conrad Knauer on 2006-06-12
16
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu)
Wishlist
Unassigned

Bug Description

Binary package hint: ubuntu-desktop

The summary for ubuntu-desktop in Synaptic reads:

"It is safe to remove this package if some of the desktop system packages are not desired. However, it is recommended that you keep it installed, because it is used to carry out certain upgrade transitions (such as adding new packages to the system)."

But "recommended" is not strong enough; apparently (as per https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/sounder/2006-June/007465.html) the reason Ubuntu Dapper got a bad review on tectonic was that ubuntu-desktop had been uninstalled before the upgrade, causing some serious usability issues.

I suggest a rewording of the comment to something like:

"While it is safe to remove this package if some of the desktop system packages are not desired, it is recommended that you keep it installed because it is used to carry out certain upgrade transitions (such as adding new packages to the system). If you use the Ubuntu Desktop, attempting an Ubuntu upgrade (e.g. from Breezy to Dapper) without this package may result in significant problems with the upgraded system."

Richard Johnson (nixternal) wrote :

Don't know how this is a bug, but however, it is a Wishlist item which I actually find viable. I have come across removing the "Kubuntu Desktop" which the warnings are similar. Of course further investigation by me saved me from head aches. Thank you for your posting as I am posiitive it will be reviewed.

Changed in ubuntu-meta:
importance: Untriaged → Wishlist
Matt Zimmerman (mdz) wrote :

It is perfectly safe for expert users to remove this package, with the understanding that they are taking responsibility for their own package selections, and won't receive any automatic help with this.

I think the wording suggested in the original report is rather severe, but I would appreciate a pointer to the technical analysis of the upgrade experience which went wrong because of this issue.

Conrad Knauer (atheoi) wrote :

The problem is not expert users; I certainly do not consider myself such, but I have removed and then later readded ubuntu-desktop on several occasions for very specific conflicts.

However, this warning is not for experts, but for novices to specifically warn them away from uninstalling it if they can help it. Experts will simply ignore the warning because they know what they're doing :)

As for details, I have only the ones from the thread I linked in my first post, which are not very detailed.

bernstein (bernstein) wrote :

this change should really be made !! i never really knew what the ominous "recommend you keep it" means.... it's just useless info, as all but advanced users should not remove standart packages. however an advanced user (like me) might think, a its recommended.... but why exactly? ...ok what the hell i'll remove it as i want package xy no longer. this just leads to frustrated users and useless bug reports, because advanced users will remove this package without knowing what get's broken... i for instance just removed most recommended packages by ubuntu-desktop, will this break an upgrade? i've no clue but i after reading this bug description i certainly know exactly where to look if something stops working

Changed in ubuntu-meta:
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
drgoplayer (tsuki190) wrote :

I am definitely not an advanced user.
We installed feisty on a 3 gb partition and had very little space left.
I had successfully removed many apps from breezy so thought feisty might work the same.
We tried removing various apps and they all said they would remove ubuntu desktop and other
frightening things.
Finally we removed a few things assuming that it wouldnt remove critical dependencies. The box would only reboot in safe mode (as root) and the wifi card wouldnt work so no access to any repostories except thru the live CD. When I tried reinstalling thru the live CD, it either said the package wasnt available or was already installed. Finally donwloaded a cd image for dapper and installed that. only 780 mb free but that is more than feisty left. Again all the packages say they will also remove ubuntu-desktop.

Is it possible to remove apps without breaking the desktop? Even removing a font such as ttf-arphic-ukai will remove ubuntu-desktop. We would like to remove most of these but with dapper
and feisty they seem to be tied to ubuntu-desktop.
aspell
bicyclerepair
blt
busybox
cdrecord
contact lookup
diveintopython
eog
evolution
fd utils
foomatic
gaim
gcalctool
gettext
gnome-games
gnomemeeting
groff-base
gthumb
gtk2 themes
gucharmap
j2re1.4
irrsi-text
metacity
rhythmbox
rss-glx
samba-common
smbclient
ttf-arphic
ttf-baekmuk
other foreign fonts
x-fonts

On Sun, Jul 08, 2007 at 03:51:31PM -0000, drgoplayer wrote:
> Is it possible to remove apps without breaking the desktop? Even removing a font such as ttf-arphic-ukai will remove ubuntu-desktop. We would like to remove most of these but with dapper
> and feisty they seem to be tied to ubuntu-desktop.

ubuntu-desktop was already changed in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy, October 2006) so
that many of the default packages, icnluding the one you mention above, can
be removed without disturbing the metapackage.

--
 - mdz

Markus Majer (mpathy) wrote :

>ubuntu-desktop was already changed in Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy, October 2006) so that many of the default packages, icnluding the one you mention above, can be removed without disturbing the metapackage.

But there should be much, much more of such packages, who can be removed without disturbing the metapackage!

For example, there are so many packages which have real good or better alternatives, or are heavily depending on the users liking.

For example, there are many people who absolutely favour Gnome as their desktop, but thinking that Evolution really sucks as a mail client, at least when it comes to filtering etc., and on stability.
(Evolution crashes very often..)

So when someone wants Thunderbird instead Evolution (because he uses it also on Windows and it is more stable than Evolution), Kopete instead Pidgin (because of the missing Webcam feature in Pidgin aka Gaim), and Tomboy, the ressource-sucking (because of mono?) notes client completely deinstalled, he cannot do without harm his "ubuntu-desktop".

How many packages are really needed to do a proper upgrade?

Matt Zimmerman (mdz) wrote :

On Sat, Dec 29, 2007 at 10:04:58AM -0000, Markus Majer wrote:
> For example, there are many people who absolutely favour Gnome as their desktop, but thinking that Evolution really sucks as a mail client, at least when it comes to filtering etc., and on stability.
> (Evolution crashes very often..)
>
> So when someone wants Thunderbird instead Evolution (because he uses it
> also on Windows and it is more stable than Evolution), Kopete instead
> Pidgin (because of the missing Webcam feature in Pidgin aka Gaim), and
> Tomboy, the ressource-sucking (because of mono?) notes client completely
> deinstalled, he cannot do without harm his "ubuntu-desktop".

Evolution, Pidgin and Tomboy can all be easily removed without removing
ubuntu-desktop.

--
 - mdz

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

FWIW, in Ubuntu Software Center I specified that the equivalent alert should say: "{title} is a core item in Ubuntu. Removing it may cause future upgrades to be incomplete." (<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwareCenter#removing> step 3)

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