The combination of dpkg and apt (and excellent package maintenance) make
installing packages on Debian powerful and elegant. However, I think
there are a few shortcommings with the removal of packages. I have a
feature suggestion that I think will enhance the package removal
process. I'm only a humble user, so forgive me if this has already been
discussed (and dismissed) or doesn't make sense.
If tools like apt and dselect could note the fact that a package was
installed to meet a dependency of another package, then when later
removing a package such tools could scan the list of dependencies for
that package for any packages that were marked as 'installed to meet a
dependency' and remove any that no longer have any dependents.
This would work better than using deborphan because it would be
automatic and more accurate. Deborphan isn't really usable for anything
but lib packages. Further there are reasons to have lib packages
without dependencies installed, such as plugins or developement
libraries. Those are false positives in deborphan.
This mechanism would be useful for more than just cleaning up unused
libraries and utilities. Consider the package "kde". With this scheme
if I did "apt-get install kde" followed by "apt-get remove kde", my
system would have the same packages installed that it did initially.
The "remove" operation would be a true inverse of the "install" operation.
- jason kraftcheck