....but what you are doing is exactly what I was doing, namely NOT using autoremove.
"Aptitude keep-all" issued before using aptitude will clear the autoremove list thus 'disabling' auto remove since it has nothing to remove.
So why not just disable it altogether? Suppose you remove something trivial that was installed at part of a big meta-package (like "kde") then just happen to forget to 'keep all' next time you use aptitude. All of a sudden EVERYTHING related to kde is history.
There is another thread on this http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...e-lies-698024/
wherein somebody suggests not using meta-packages.
Doesn't it make more sense to not use autoremove?
....and, as I said in my initial post, autoremove did manage to remove my operating kernel, which of course completely trashed the entire system. This was on an old laptop which needed a pcmcia insert internet card. Support for that card was lost beginning with kernel 2.6.25. All install disks I had available used newer kernels so could not be used for reinstall since there was no way to connect to internet. I finally found one very old knoppix disk that would work. I reinstalled using that system (knoppix 3.3, about 2004 vintage) but it broke every time I tried to upgrade it. I bought a "Retail Plus" usb wireless because it was supposed to work with linux....but it doesn't. It came with a linux driver source code but I could not compile it (googling tells me nobody else can either). I tried ndiswrapper but it must be compiled to match the operating kernel which was so old I could not find the necessary dependencies for compiling. I installed a newer system (newer kernel) but then couldn't get all the necessary dependencies for compiling with it either because no internet connection. I tried matching the kernel on my other computer, compiling ndiswrapper then transferring the file over but that didn't work either. I spent a long, very frustrating time (weeks) doing this but finally had to give up and scrap the computer.
If not for autoremove I would still have a laptop.
It IS a disaster waiting to happen.