enter image description here

as can be seen from the screenshot, I installed checkinstall and it came with lots of new dependent packages.

When I ran:

sudo apt-get purge checkinstall

only checkinstall was deleted. I then ran:

sudo apt-get autoremove

to delete the new packages but nothing was deleted.

Any ideas what I could be doing wrong? Thanks

PS. please ignore the folder ubuntu. it's just a directory name. I'm really using Stretch

edit1: output of aptitude why binutils build-essential

enter image description here

  • 3
    Presumably something else recommends the packages you installed (see Why did 'apt-get autoremove' not work properly?). What does aptitude why binutils build-essential say? – Stephen Kitt Sep 25 '17 at 15:10
  • @StephenKitt If something else recommended it, wouldn't it be installed already? – Faheem Mitha Sep 25 '17 at 15:22
  • Just checking, Is there any possibility that you installed them manually?, something like apt install binutils etc... – Thushi Sep 25 '17 at 15:57
  • 3
    @Faheem not necessarily; there are a number of scenarios that can lead to this situation. For example, a package might have acquired a recommends since it was installed (upgrades don’t install recommended packages); or perhaps the packages installed here have a recommend loop. – Stephen Kitt Sep 25 '17 at 16:20
  • @StephenKitt new Debian install. The only packages I manually installed are git, sudo and checkinstall (installed in this order). binutils/build-essential were needed by checkinstall. I'm getting the same issue. I edited the 1st post to display output of aptitude why package-here. Thanks! – mrjayviper Sep 26 '17 at 1:18

By default, apt-get autoremove is very conservative, which results in the behaviour you’re seeing. While apt-get install only considers direct dependencies and recommendations by default, apt-get autoremove also considers suggestions (very weak dependencies). This is asymmetric and means that by default, apt-get autoremove won’t necessarily fully undo a package installation.

Thus in your case, installing checkinstall pulled in a number of packages, all of which end up somehow considered non-removable by apt-get autoremove; for example, build-essential is kept because apt (which is definitely necessary) suggests dpkg-dev, which recommends build-essential. You’ll find relationships of this kind for every package pulled in by checkinstall.

To fix this, you can add

Apt::AutoRemove::SuggestsImportant "false" ;

With this setting, apt-get autoremove will find more packages to remove. Since your system is newly installed, it should be safe (by that I mean that the asymmetry mentioned above won’t cause many surprises, because you haven’t installed many packages); but do examine the list of packages it’s going to remove before actually removing them!

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