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Re: Return a Debian system to a pristine state

On 01.06.20 04:52, Tom Dial wrote:

On 5/31/20 03:28, Victor Sudakov wrote:
David Wright wrote:
On Fri 29 May 2020 at 21:57:06 (+0700), Victor Sudakov wrote:
David Wright wrote:
Finally,   pkg delete -a   sounds like something from the abattoir,
rather than anything you'd do to a pet (to use your analogy).

It's not as terrible as it sounds ;-) It's more from a vet clinic than
from a slaughterhouse. You don't lose configs, you don't lose network
connectivity or remote access during this procedure. You can save a list
of installed packages before deleting them, and reinstall only those you
know you need.

Unfortunately, the FreeBSD package system is not as mature as DEB or
RPM, therefore until very recently the "pkg delete -a" procedure has
been required to get rid of the dependencey hell.

OK, that sounds more like what people do on Windows systems, where
there's a reset option, except that on Windows you can, ISTR, lose
all your own files if they're under C:.

Since what version does Windows have a reset option? For dozens of
years, literally, Windows has been notorious for leftovers of removed
programs remaining in the "base system" and causing unexpected effects.
There were even commercial products on the market to purge those leftovers.

FreeBSD is different in this respect. No part of third-party software
ever gets into the base system (unless you install something manually
and incorrectly). And of course you don't lose any user data if you run
"pkg delete -a"

Debian doesn't work that way: you can remove packages from the system
at will in a controlled manner. Isn't that what sysadmins do?

Well, I was not feeling particulary sysadmin-ish about the desktop
system I wanted to cleanup.

"apt has a bug, cannot believe it!"

Well, I must admit, I can sympathize with this person's frustration. He
just got confused among those AutoRemove* advanced options.

I think it's much more than that. The OP appeared to regard the
--no-install-recommends option as a *property* that is applied to each
package installed under that recommendation regime, and that
that property would be preserved for all time. But as the "-install-"
in --no-install-recommends shows, it's just an option for the install
command itself.

Dare I say that one needs knowledge beyond a regular user to understand
these subtleties?

I, too, was surprised by some Debian features like its tendency to start
daemons with a vanilla configuration right after installation. Still
can't say I like this decision.

This has been discussed in the past. Using the term "vanilla" suggests
that an ordinary upstream configuration is applied to the daemon,
which is not true: the Debian developers apply what they consider are
sensible secure defaults, designed to integrate with the distribution.
This work is usually documented in changelog.Debian.gz or various

Is the /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d method still the official supported one of
disabling this behavior when it is not desirable?

In the fairly large number of posts in this thread I don't recall seeing
file system snapshots suggested. My current preference is ZFS, which I
know from experience to be up to what I understand to be the goal here.

I understand the OP to be in search for the uncomplicated removal of installed packages considering package installation dates. A fs snaphot tool is likely to return to a general system state which would include also the return of the user data and system configurations to a point of time in the past, instead of only treating package installs. And if having to prepare sophisticated steps like requiring special partitioning schemes, then this wouldn't be uncomplicated anymore.

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