Removing Default Programs - it should be possible to permanently remove non-critical packages in the default installation without causing problems when the distribution is upgraded.


Ubuntu uses meta-packages for the default software selection. This means that removing a dependency of the meta-package requires the meta-package to be removed as well. This is undesired; the user should have the option to have only certain core packages installed and remove some of the optional ones.

Use cases

  • Hidde could do with only abiword, but is forced to keep openoffice installed in order to keep ubuntu-desktop.
  • Peter uses lvm, but not evms. He thinks that keeping evms installed (since ubuntu-standard depends on it) is silly, and is a burden to faster booting.


We use Recommends in the meta-package and modify apt to support installing recommends by default (see RecommendsSupport).

We will add a piece of syntax to the seeds that allows us to mark particular package as optional. This is done by enclosing it into brackets: '()'; this would be expanded to recommends by germinate, and expanded into Recommends by the *ubuntu-meta update scripts.


For the apt part, see RecommendsSupport. Germinate needs to support the new syntax, ubuntu-meta needs to be modified to support the new Recommends notation.


For apt, see RecommendsSupport. This is implemented for edgy in the way that only packages in the section 'metapackages' will install recommends by default. It is still be possible to turn on recommends-by-default for every package with --install-recommends.

The germinate and ubuntu-meta changes are implemented in edgy as well and the new mechanism is used for some dependencies of the meta-packages.

Outstanding issues

This spec depends on RecommendsSupport.


RemovingDefaultPrograms (last edited 2008-08-06 16:14:07 by localhost)