I'm using LXDE and when I installed gnome-screensaver, it had a bunch of dependencies including pulseaudio. I then immediately uninstalled it with autoremove (no intermediate steps), but nothing of the dependencies was removed. Why is that?

This my from /var/log/apt/history.log:

Start-Date: 2014-07-05  18:49:28
Commandline: apt-get install gnome-screensaver
Install: gnome-sushi:amd64 (0.4.1-3, automatic), python-packagekit:amd64 (0.7.6-3, automatic), gnome-power-manager:amd64 (3.4.0-2, automatic), libcogl9:amd64 (1.10.2-7, automatic), python-aptdaemon.pkcompat:amd64 (0.45-2, automatic), libgtksourceview-3.0-0:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), libao-common:amd64 (1.1.0-2, automatic), libcogl-pango0:amd64 (1.10.2-7, automatic), nautilus:amd64 (3.4.2-1+build1, automatic), libgmime-2.6-0:amd64 (2.6.10-1, automatic), libgnome-desktop-3-2:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), gnome-session-bin:amd64 (, automatic), gir1.2-clutter-gst-1.0:amd64 (1.5.4-1+build0, automatic), pulseaudio:amd64 (2.0-6.1, automatic), gnome-settings-daemon:amd64 (3.4.2+git20121218.7c1322-3+deb7u3, automatic), gir1.2-json-1.0:amd64 (0.14.2-1, automatic), libburn4:amd64 (1.2.2-2, automatic), pulseaudio-module-x11:amd64 (2.0-6.1, automatic), libmozjs185-1.0:amd64 (1.8.5-1.0.0+dfsg-4, automatic), gnome-desktop3-data:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), gir1.2-coglpango-1.0:amd64 (1.10.2-7, automatic), libexempi3:amd64 (2.2.0-1, automatic), libclutter-1.0-common:amd64 (1.10.8-2, automatic), gir1.2-gtksource-3.0:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), libgtksourceview-3.0-common:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), libclutter-1.0-0:amd64 (1.10.8-2, automatic), libao4:amd64 (1.1.0-2, automatic), libgnomekbd7:amd64 (, automatic), nautilus-data:amd64 (3.4.2-1+build1, automatic), cdrdao:amd64 (1.2.3-0.3, automatic), libtotem-plparser17:amd64 (3.4.2-1, automatic), libquvi7:amd64 (0.4.1-1, automatic), libwacom2:amd64 (0.6-1, automatic), gnome-screensaver:amd64 (3.4.1-1), libpackagekit-glib2-14:amd64 (0.7.6-3, automatic), brasero-common:amd64 (3.4.1-4, automatic), libclutter-gst-1.0-0:amd64 (1.5.4-1+build0, automatic), libquvi-scripts:amd64 (0.4.21-1~deb7u1, automatic), brasero:amd64 (3.4.1-4, automatic), libwacom-common:amd64 (0.6-1, automatic), libmusicbrainz5-0:amd64 (5.0.1-2, automatic), libjte1:amd64 (1.19-1, automatic), libisofs6:amd64 (1.2.2-1, automatic), libtracker-sparql-0.14-0:amd64 (0.14.1-3, automatic), libjson-glib-1.0-0:amd64 (0.14.2-1, automatic), libcogl-common:amd64 (1.10.2-7, automatic), gir1.2-evince-3.0:amd64 (3.4.0-3.1, automatic), libgjs0b:amd64 (1.32.0-5, automatic), libbrasero-media3-1:amd64 (3.4.1-4, automatic), gir1.2-cogl-1.0:amd64 (1.10.2-7, automatic), libclutter-gtk-1.0-0:amd64 (1.2.0-2, automatic), gir1.2-clutter-1.0:amd64 (1.10.8-2, automatic), hwdata:amd64 (0.234-1, automatic), gir1.2-gtkclutter-1.0:amd64 (1.2.0-2, automatic), libgnomekbd-common:amd64 (, automatic)
End-Date: 2014-07-05  18:49:45

Start-Date: 2014-07-05  18:49:59
Commandline: apt-get autoremove gnome-screensaver
Remove: gnome-screensaver:amd64 (3.4.1-1)
End-Date: 2014-07-05  18:50:01
  • Perhaps another package you installed at another time requires PulseAudio ? – Lawrence Jul 3 '14 at 3:40
  • Check for reverse depends for pulseaudio. – Faheem Mitha Jul 3 '14 at 5:18
  • @Lawrence But it was downloaded and installed as part of gnome-screensaver's installation. If it was already installed, that wouldn't have happened, right? In any event, isn't the answer correct - that some package recommends/suggests (as opposed to requires) PulseAudio? – sashoalm Jul 3 '14 at 9:37
  • @sashoalm Did you install gnome-screensaver, and then remove it again straight away ? Sorry, I assumed the 2 events weren't straight after another. – Lawrence Jul 3 '14 at 13:55
  • @Lawrence Yes, exactly. There were no intermediate steps. – sashoalm Jul 3 '14 at 16:33

If any of the dependencies has some other previously installed packages that recommend/suggest them then apt would not remove them.

There should be another package that you already have installed that either suggests or recommends that package. If you check with apt-cache rdepends pulseaudio the packages that recommend/suggest pulseaudio then there's the reason.

I normally don't use autoremove since I prefer to actually type out what packages I want to remove, but in your case you should be able to achieve what you want specificing all the packages you want to uninstall that normal autoremove won't:

sudo apt-get autoremove <Z> <dependency of Z>

This way you could be sure your package get removed.

You can also use deborphan to remove some dependencies but I doubt it would help in this specific case.

  • I added the log from /var/log/apt/history.log. You can see what is installed and removed. – sashoalm Jul 5 '14 at 15:56
  • @sashoalm as I explained on my post, you have other packages that depends on those. You have to manually remove them one by one. – Braiam Jul 5 '14 at 16:42
  • By "depend" you mean recommend/suggest, not require, right? Otherwise wouldn't they have been downloaded before gnome-screensaver? – sashoalm Jul 5 '14 at 17:16
  • @sashoalm for me dependency is whatever depends/recommend/suggest. Just find out the reverse dependencies of those packages or uninstall them manually. – Braiam Jul 5 '14 at 17:26

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