In debian the default configuration for installing recommendations in apt is set to true.

If you edit


and add the line

apt::install-recommends "false";

recommendations are not installed by default anymore.

You can also achieve this by adding the option

apt-get install --no-install-recommends ...

Why is this default set to true?

  • I believe this is essentially a duplicate of unix.stackexchange.com/q/77053/4671 though it is phrased a little differently. – Faheem Mitha Mar 30 '14 at 19:56
  • I don't have any better explanation of why than what @FaheemMitha linked to, but as for how to work around it, try: apt-get -o apt::install-recommends=true – cpugeniusmv Mar 30 '14 at 19:58
  • @cpugeniusmv: that was not the question, I wonder why that is the default – rubo77 Mar 30 '14 at 20:59
  • I see, It is answered in that question, although the question there is a bit weird. The Answer is what I was looking for though: unix.stackexchange.com/a/77076/20661 – rubo77 Mar 30 '14 at 21:13
  • Even more puzzling: why are suggested and recommended packages left behind (by default) when uninstalling a package? – Rolf Feb 8 '18 at 16:19

install-recommends is set to true, because those packages are usually needed for a useful installation. Only in unusual cases you don't need the recommended packages.

It is recommended to leave this on default as it is to get less problems, unless you are really low on disk-space.

for more info see this answer: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/77076/20661

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    It's mainly a gray area when it gets to graphical environments because they may install a conglomerate of high level front ends that make little sense to be installed by default, but, even then it's unclear because if for example you get the base KDE package, the option while it may install more desktop applications, if unset, it might not let the X server to install all its GPU specific libraries! (if an X wasn't installed) – j riv Feb 15 '17 at 1:30

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