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Re: Return a Debian system to a pristine state

David Wright wrote:
> On Sun 31 May 2020 at 16:28:34 (+0700), 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?
> No idea. The last version of Windows that I used was IIRC 3.11.
> I parted company when W95 came with "DOS" 7 rather than a
> successor to DOS 6.22.

Ah, I thought you knew something I did not. Then no, Windows still does
not 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.
> You're way ahead of me on Windows, then. I just know what I've seen,
> and what I saw was this:
> Chapter 3. Lenovo OneKey Recovery system
>   The Lenovo OneKey Recovery system is software designed to back up and
>   restore your computer. You can use it to restore the system partition to its

Such things are present in some laptops, but they are not part of
Windows per se, they are developed by equipment manufacturers. Usually
they just extract an OEM image of Windows from some recovery partition
in case a user renders his/her system unbootable, as was verbosely
quoted below.


> > 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).
> This has already been pointed out, that Debian's installed system is
> an individual outcome, not some sort of mandated selection.
> > And of course you don't lose any user data if you run 
> > "pkg delete -a"
> I didn't know we were discussing user data at all.

Apparently we were. Let me quote your own words among others: 
"... ISTR, lose all your own files if they're under C:"

> > > 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.
> How you feel about it can't alter the fact that reverting a system by
> removing packages is a sysadmin-ish process: you administering the
> system.

This is more of a terminological question. Is a user installing or
removing GIMP of FireFox really administering a system? Some
administrative tasks are easy enough to be performed by users, and maybe
(just maybe) the removal of extra software should be easy enough
to be user-serviceable (i.e. not carry the risk of killing the system
itself, or require sysadmin knowledge and reading of manual pages).


> > 
> > Is the /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d method still the official supported one of
> > disabling this behavior when it is not desirable?
> It's many years since I ran servers in what one might call "hostile"
> environments, so the current situation suits me, and I don't keep up
> with discussions like those in
> https://manpages.debian.org/experimental/policy-rcd-declarative/policy-rc.d-declarative.8.en.html

It's an interesting development, I'm positively interested. Do you know
if I can somehow subscribe to see what's happening in this direction?

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN
2:5005/49@fidonet http://vas.tomsk.ru/

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