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As I look around on askubuntu I frequently see that programs intended for ubuntu are suggested not to be used because they could break Ubuntu. Such as janitor,compiz and I am sure there are also others.

On one hand you have people raving about ubuntu tweak and on the other you have people saying stay away from janitor.I personally came over to ubuntu thinking it was customizable. Does anyone have a list of things that could break ubuntu ? Or is this just a hit and miss based on different hardware configurations?

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2 Answers 2

This will always depend on the level of skills and understanding a user has about Linux in general and Ubuntu.

Like everything in computers doing stuff around were you have no idea what is going to happen is never a good choice. It can happen with Linux, Windows, Mac OS and all the rest.

The thing is most people will see all packages that run in Ubuntu as something that is part of Ubuntu and should be Ubuntu's responsibility to support them and fix everything related to then in case something happens.

At the same time if a Windows user crashes a system because he remembered to install some random software that clean up his registry, he will probably blame the software he installed. This is just an example.

Ubuntu tests in Alpha and Beta stages of a release for problems with packages, it is not in anyways responsible to what happens to your system by using them. The same goes for guides and random commands you see in the Internet. If you do not know what you are doing or what a package will do to your system the best choice will be not to use them.

A clear case of that is CCSM, normally people will recommend it every time someone asks Is there a way of customizing X in Compiz. CCSM is great! But a very elaborate and complex tool because Compiz is elaborate and complex. People need to realize that using it can break your system if you do not know what you are doing. People still want to use it to customize X and Y, but that is their choice. You cannot blame Ubuntu for what you do to your system using it.

Unless you know what you are doing or you know how to revert back I would stay away from anything that involves:

  • Random PPAs with improved versions or bleeding edge versions for your system;
  • Random packages that promise automation of of cleaning and managing packages;
  • Customization software that is proven to be unstable or has a red tag on it saying This might break stuff up!;
  • Random commands that promise to turn your computer in to a super dupper Unicorn powered system, which you don't understand or you have no idea how to revert them in case something goes kapot.

Make sure you learn your system and make sure that what you are using is really required, most of the times it will prove not to be the case. In the end it up to the user, low are the cases were a actual package breaks stuff around just because it is installed.

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Or is this just a hit and miss based on different hardware configurations

For that matter , ubuntu has a Cautionary warning ( Could break System Components) for the use of third party PPA's . Ubuntu Tweak being one of them , Specifically i won't trust use of ubuntu Tweak Janitor, Neither Computer-Janitor ( for it being dropped since last version).I believe Ubuntu architects and programmer know the design and interface of Ubuntu better than Third Party providers, perhaps they also have better CLI tools for that ,such as

For clearing up of the packages from the apt-cache which are no longer downloadable:

sudo apt-get autoclean

For clearing up of the apt-cache :

sudo apt-get clean

For cleaning up of any unused dependencies:

sudo apt-get autoremove

Although i tried Bleachbit till Oneric , but it was somehow not recommended for 12.04 LTS version , so i tried using the above alternates which are seriously safe .

As far as Dangers from such programs are concerned , it highly depends on the Choice of User based on his Os and its inner working-understanding Knowledge.

Even Compiz is being dropped from next Ubuntu Version ( I guess so).

Basically if third Party or not recommended programs are used for system cleaning , tunning ( Not tweaking), some imbalances are bound to occur availing End-User to be Responsible for it.

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