Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 06-03-2007, 10:18 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Billerica, MA
Posts: 114

Rep: Reputation: 15
Keeping track of installs and where everything goes...

I think it's probably true that since I'm so new to Linux this stymies me so much...

I have been playing a lot with setting things up, taking things down, and moving things here and there. I am getting nervous about system cruft.

For instance, when I install a package in Ubuntu, the package installer doesn't really tell me all that it's doing and while I can remove it, I never know if it removes _everything._

And what about make installs? I know how to remove the temp files, but what if I want to remove a compiled application? How can I be sure I'm removing all of it.

I'm curious as to how others deal with these things?


Old 06-03-2007, 10:28 AM   #2
LQ Veteran
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Annapolis, MD
Distribution: Arch/XFCE
Posts: 17,802

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
I'm curious as to how others deal with these things?
Mostly, I don't worry about it. When things get too balled up, I just move to a different distro ......

For those who are a bit tidier:
First, the package manage SHOULD maintain order--eg automatically deleting /overwriting the old stuff.

searching on the name of the application usually reveals all the relevant files.
Old 06-03-2007, 10:53 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Billerica, MA
Posts: 114

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Aaah, but how does one even keep track of stuff they installed, say, eight months ago?

I suppose the easy answer is a text file named, "System Changes."

Old 06-03-2007, 02:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: London
Distribution: Arch - Latest
Posts: 1,522

Rep: Reputation: 45
Arch uses pacman, i can run
pacman -Q > packages.txt
to get a list of installed packages, i can also use it to install/uninstall and i can check the website for dependencies. Works fine for me. Also has the AUR to create packages from source and install via pacman, to keep track of em.

Depends on your distros package manager
Old 06-03-2007, 02:22 PM   #5
LQ Guru
Registered: Aug 2003
Distribution: CentOS, OS X
Posts: 5,131

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Every package manager should be able to list contents of a package, in Ubuntu it's very easy trough Synaptic for example. If you know which package you want to query, you can query it to see what files are inside, and if the system is smart enough, it tells where the files were installed. This is true for binary packages, if it was unclear. If you remove a package in Ubuntu, the basic removal doesn't remove config files (usually); that's because if you later install it again, you don't lose your settings. To remove everything the package installs, use the purge option (that's the way to go with other package managers too than apt, I guess).

Source code software is another thing. With binary packages the tracking and removal of installed files is easy, as that all can be done and set in the package information, and since it's a binary package, it stays so. A list can be created during the package creation and that list can be used when the package is removed. If you compile source code, however, the result depends on multiple things like prefix and other configuration options. There's no one single way to remove everything; "make uninstall" works for some, some have an uninstallation script of their own. Then there is software that you use when running the final step, usually "make install", of a source code project: I don't remember it's name (but you'll find it with google or altavista or something) but basically it keeps an eye of what "make install" step does, creates a "log" about it and when you want to remove the installed stuff, you run the program with the created "log" file and it uses that information to remove all stuff no matter where on the system they were copied. Basically a reverse "make install", except that it's "third-party", not something that comes with every source code project. Also I'm not sure where it's limits are, i.e. what kind of compilation+installs it can handle, but last time I read it sound great.
Old 06-03-2007, 06:34 PM   #6
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: North America
Distribution: Kubuntu 7.04 - Feisty Fawn
Posts: 296

Rep: Reputation: 30
Just a brief note - you're right, removing a package leaves some things behind, like configuration files. If you want to remove everything, drop the the command line and issue an 'apt-get --purge remove <package>'.

And what about make installs? I know how to remove the temp files, but what if I want to remove a compiled application? How can I be sure I'm removing all of it.
Look into the 'checkinstall' package which makes your package manager aware of things you install by compilation, allowing you to easily uninstall it.

Last edited by sumguy231; 06-03-2007 at 06:36 PM.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Keeping track of process CPU % dive Linux - Software 5 03-30-2006 02:45 PM
Keeping track of logs mijohnst Linux - Software 1 03-29-2006 08:02 PM
Keeping track of my threads? une LQ Suggestions & Feedback 4 04-10-2005 10:35 PM
Volunteer needs help keeping track. mimsmall Linux - Software 1 10-10-2004 02:03 PM
Keeping track of packages NSKL Slackware 2 06-28-2002 10:23 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:41 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration