:: [DNG] Keeping unneeded packages of …
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Author: Olaf Meeuwissen
To: Dimitris
CC: dng
Old-Topics: Re: [DNG] Advice to migrate from Beowulf to Chimaera
Subject: [DNG] Keeping unneeded packages of your system (was Re: Advice to migrate from Beowulf to Chimaera)
Hi Dimitris,

Dimitris via Dng writes:

> Hey Olaf,
> Στις 22/4/21 11:55 π.μ., ο/η Olaf
> Meeuwissen via Dng έγραψε:
>> Is debfoster smart(er) about asking what you want to keep? As in asking
>> you about the packages that keep most of the other packages installed
>> first (rather than going through potential removals alphabetically)?
> yes.

OK, so I installed it to see it action ;-)

> debfoster only asks about installed packages : "Keep, Y/N" and keeps all
> dependant installed packages on "Y" , or adds another question about
> keeping dependencies on a "N".
> after first succesful run, you're only asked about newly installed
> packages from that moment on..

Ran it via `sudo debfoster` and answered all questions with `Y`. It
produced a list that was about 20 packages shorter than my list of
packages that I marked as manual (or installed afterwards). What I did
find somewhat weird is that it asked whether I wanted to keep all of the
xserver-xorg-video-* individually when I had already said `Y` to the
`task-desktop` package. With `apt-mark` I just marked
`task-xfce-desktop` as manual and didn't have to make up my mind about
all the video drivers.

Maybe it's just an issue of when I started using debfoster versus

Also, I prefer to mark certain packages as manually installed even if
one of those would keep the other(s) installed. That is to say that I
like to mark all of git, myrepos and vcsh as manually installed even
though the last of those keeps the others installed. Ditto for emacs,
emacs-el and mu4e. It's a matter of marking what I want installed,
independent of package dependencies.

I haven't really used debfoster in that sense and I don't know how it
works in conjuction with my `apt install` invocations. For apt-mark,
any packages that I `apt install` are automatically marked as manual.
There is no overhead for me. From a good glance at the debfoster man
page, it looks like I have to run it separately (or get used to using
debfoster for package management).

Also, seeing that debfoster has only been updated thrice in the last
decade I'm a bit concerned as to how well it has kept up with apt (which
has been updated 217 times in the same period). Not saying debfoster is
no use, just saying that I think that I'm fine with apt-mark even if it
takes me a few passes the first time around to decide what I want/need
to keep installed on my system.

> debfoster installation has no real dependencies (just already installed
> libc iirc) and it's just one command to run (=easy to remember).

I know but it's still an extra package. As such, it needs to prove its
worth :-)

Hope this helps,
Olaf Meeuwissen, LPIC-2            FSF Associate Member since 2004-01-27
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