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Re: Is gnome-core *really* the gnome minimal install?

On Sun, 12 Apr 2015 18:19:35 +0000
Rodolfo Medina <rodolfo.medina@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all.
> According to documentations, gnome-core package is considered to be
> the very minimal gnome installation in Debian.  But in my personal
> experience it is not so.  Just after installing Debian, I installed
> gnome-core just to have the minimal gnome installation.  Then I
> noticed that totem, the video player, was also installed even though
> I hadn't.  Since I use mplayer, I did `aptitude purge totem' and was
> surprised to see that gnome-core depended on totem, so that removing
> totem would also remove gnome-core.  I did so, and now gnome desktop
> environment, even without gnome-core package, seems to work well.  So
> I ask to myself what gnome minimal install should really be.  I have
> Sid.

I think the answer to that depends on how long your piece of string is.
What do you mean by 'gnome'? The bit you see is gnome-shell, which
depends on themes and backgrounds and a large number of libraries. But
gnome, the desktop environment, also contains a recommended file
manager, image viewer, sound and vision player, and so on. All of these
are integrated better than the non-gnome equivalents. Are they part of
a minimal gnome? Your call.

The gnome-core which you have removed is a metapackage i.e. it contains
no code but exists to bring in the set of components which the gnome
developers consider to be a minimal gnome. Once installed, along with
the dependencies, it is redundant and can be removed without affecting
anything current. But an auto-remove will now see the dependencies of
gnome-core as not having been manually installed nor being needed, so
you had better not use that facility in future. Also, if the gnome
architecture changes in future, without gnome-core being present to be
upgraded, your system will not bring in any new dependent components.

But you have already differed from the gnome developers in the matter of
totem, and there may be other dependencies of gnome-core which you wish
to remove. I left gnome behind when it went to version 3, but there are
still a few gnome components I use, and I have just installed them
individually. Therefore I don't have gnome-core or many other

You can take this approach: don't install gnome at all, just the
components you want, and they will bring only their required
dependencies. I suspect gnome-shell will bring in a very large number,
but not including totem and perhaps others you don't need. The
disadvantage of this approach is that for maybe a year you will look
for something and not find it, and need to install it individually.
Taking the core metapackage means that most of what you're likely to
need will already be present.

Hard drives are sized for Windows (at least a 50GB installation these
days), and any drive you have bought in the last few years will be
large enough that a couple of gigabytes of rarely-used stuff will not
be an inconvenience. There is also the philosophy that you can't have
too many image viewers or sound and video players or web browsers. Two
days ago I found an audio file which vlc (my default player) wouldn't
play, nor would mplayer, but kaffeine would. I don't actually have
totem installed, I recall a significant disagreement with it a year or
two ago, which is probably no longer relevant, but I haven't reinstalled
it. I might when I find a file that neither vlc, mplayer nor kaffeine
will play...


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