It's just as important to know how to remove packages from your Ubuntu system as it is to add them. Whether you're tidying up, freeing up space, or addressing software conflicts, package removal is a vital skill. In this article, we'll delve into the process of package removal using various tools available in Ubuntu.
Listing Installed Packages Using
Before removing, you may want to see a list of installed packages:
This command provides a comprehensive list. To find a specific package, you can
pipe the output to
dpkg --list | grep [package-name-or-search-term]
To see if the text editor "nano" is installed:
dpkg --list | grep nano
Listing Installed Packages with
dpkg provides a way to see all installed packages, if you're looking for
a more user-friendly and concise output, you might prefer using
Displaying a List of All Installed Packages:
apt list --installed
This command will show you a list of all packages that have been installed on your system. Each entry will include the package name, version, and architecture.
Searching for a Specific Installed Package:
You can also combine the
apt list command with
grep to search for a specific
apt list --installed | grep [package-name-or-search-term]
To check if the text editor "nano" is installed using
apt list --installed | grep nano
This will return the nano package entry if it's installed, along with its version and architecture details.
Removing a Package
To remove a package but leave its configuration files (in case you might want to reinstall it later):
sudo apt remove [package-name]
To remove the text editor "nano" but keep its configuration files:
sudo apt remove nano
Completely Removing a Package
If you wish to remove a package and its configuration files:
sudo apt purge [package-name]
Or you can use:
sudo apt --purge remove [package-name]
To completely remove "nano" and its configuration files:
sudo apt purge nano
Removing Unused Dependencies
When you install packages, they often come with dependencies—other packages that need to be installed for them to work. When you remove the original package, the dependencies don't automatically get removed. To remove these unused packages:
sudo apt autoremove
Cleaning the Package Cache
APT keeps a cache of downloaded packages. Over time, this cache can grow significantly. To clear out the package files (.deb) of the old versions of apps:
sudo apt autoclean
For a more aggressive cleanup, which removes all downloaded package files from the cache:
sudo apt clean
apt autoclean vs.
In Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems, the Advanced Package Tool (
provides mechanisms to manage installed packages and their cached versions. Two
useful commands in this context are
apt autoclean and
apt clean. Here's how
- Function: This command clears out the local repository of downloaded package files, but it only removes package files that can no longer be downloaded (due to being outdated or removed from the repositories). This helps free up space while ensuring that you still have access to recently used package archives in case they're needed again.
- Use Case: When you want to perform a moderate cleanup and remove only obsolete package files but retain the ones that might still be useful.
- Function: A more aggressive cleanup command,
apt cleanclears out all package files from the local repository, regardless of their status. This means every downloaded
.debfile in the cache will be removed, leaving the cache directory empty.
- Use Case: When you want a comprehensive cleanup, freeing up maximum space, and you're okay with re-downloading any package files in the future if needed.
In summary, while both commands serve to clean up the package
apt autoclean is a more conservative approach, removing only obsolete
package files, whereas
apt clean clears everything, providing a complete
cleanup of cached package files.
Regular maintenance of your Ubuntu system includes being aware of the software installed and ensuring that you remove unnecessary or outdated software. By mastering the commands mentioned above, you can keep your system lean, efficient, and free from clutter.
What Can You Do Next 🙏😊
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