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As I understand it -devel packages are the headers and support files needed by developers. Can I safely delete these devel rpms from my Fedora installation? Being a newbie I have no intention of developing anything for Linux (nor do I have the skills to if I wanted to)
There are over 200 of these devel packages on my system, ranging from libcapplet0-devel to hesoid-devel. Can I remove these rpms?
I just don't want to delete stuff without knowing what I am doing.
Even if you're not a developer, having these devel packages is a good idea since they are required when you compile something from the source. If you're happy with RPMs, and have no intention to try out all the latest cool open source software from sourceforge.net and freshmeat.net, you can get rid of them.
Does that mean (for example) if I'm wanting to delete as many devel packages as possible, but I may want to complie some things from source, on occaision in the future, should I just delete the devel packages that are for packages that I probably won't be using?
For example, maybe I have httpd and I may want to compile that from source, so I would want to keep those devel packages, but on the other hand, if I'm not using this machine as a desktop, I could remove all of the gnome and KDE devel packages and not have to worry?
The devel package satisfies dependency when you compile from the source, for example if you don't have XFree86-devel installed, you won't be able to compile anything that requires X libraries. But you will still be able to compile XFree from the source, since it wouldn't make much sense if XFree needs its own libraries to compile its own libraries.
These development package are usually quite small, they shouldn't take more than few hundred megs of space even if you have all of them installed. But if you really want to get rid of them what I suggest is that you setup something like apt-get, and use it to install the development packages whenever necessary.
In my case, I installed RH9 and I realized that it loaded a whole bunch of junk that I probably will never need. I am running regular backups on my system, so I don't want to backup a bunch of wasted stuff I will never use. So I have been going through rpm-qa and looking at the stuff I have installed and then going to rpmseek.com and searching for the packages I don't recognize.
If you have a better way of doing this, that would be good, since there are about a thousand packages installed, and a better way of finding out what's what would be nice. rpmseek.com is a little slow and clunky for looking at the descriptions of each RPM. Is there a master list somewhere that would be easier to browse?