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deborphan: find packages you don’t want

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Software

If you’ve been reading debaday for a while, chances are you now have a heap of packages installed that you’ve tried out, some of which you want to keep installed, and some of which you have forgotten.

Those forgotten packages can cost you. They might contain setuid binaries or running daemons that could compromise your security. Future upgrades take longer, and there will be more to download. Your backups have grown. You are doing backups, right? That’s what duplicity was for.

If you’ve been using aptitude to install packages, then the autoclean command will remove a few things you don’t want.

An example using deborphan on a Debian Etch system:
# deborphan
libssl0.9.7
libstdc++5

In this example, deborphan discovered two fairly small packages that were superfluous, and so they can be removed. Since deborphan gives you only package names in this mode, they can be used in a command:

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