Two days ago, I ran into a strange problem with my email server which refused to send any more emails. It turned out my hard drive was full… I started by emptying the tmp directory and running aptitude clean and aptitude autoclean but that wasn’t enough to free enough space to allow me to breathe for long. Some Googling lead me to deborphan, a package that will list packages installed because they were once a dependancy but that are now useless to the system. Those packages identified, I just had to remove them all.

A few commands to do the same thing:

aptitude install deborphan


aptitude purge <packages listed by deborphan>

Now my server can breathe and so can I.

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3 Comments to "Debian: remove unused packages"

  1. Trackback on samantha on April 16, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Debian: remove unused packages

  2. Comment by Nabu on September 26, 2010 at 8:02 pm Reply

    I’ve used just orphan -sz to see the list, and then apt-get remove –purge $(deborphan).

    But if orphan -a used, the list is extended to some actually needed packages (for instance Skype, Transmission or even more drastic: linux-headers).

    So, I was careful with -a command.

    But I wanted to ask U what these sub commands mean:
    &lt and &gt? Because when I try that (after the regullar orphan removal) it shows some other packages to be removed.

    • Comment by shalfon on September 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm Reply

      Sorry the characters didn’t come out right. I just meant to run the command aptitude purge with the name of the packages listed by deborphan. Good luck

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  • About Me

    photo of Samantha Halfon Samantha Halfon
    Software Engineer
    blueKiwi software
    Paris, France
    I enjoy playing with my computer(s), listening to Bob Dylan (and related artists) and watching movies (especially if they were directed by Martin Scorsese or John Cassavetes). Sometimes, I play a little guitar... If not doing any of the above, I am either riding a small red bike around Paris, or, making videos. About my videomaking please check out World Wide Angle and its blog.