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When investigating this question, I discovered that many GNOME applications' packages depend on the libunity9 package.


If I try to uninstall libunity9 on Precise, it tries to uninstall lots of GNOME applications:

Uninstall everything

MiJyn said in a comment,

how could the ubuntu developers possibly think that would be a good idea? Ubuntu is starting to be more and more like windows :(

The libunity9 package is described as:

binding to get places into the launcher - shared library

libunity is a shared library to be able to interact with the launcher and add places in Unity environment.

This package contains shared libraries to be used by applications

So obviously it's a component of Unity. It is odd that GNOME applications depend on Unity. Since Unity is an Ubuntu-specific addition, upstream GNOME apps shouldn't be depending on it.

Why these dependencies?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

In the case of Shotwell and Geary (and probably many other apps), libunity support is a compile-time option set when you run ./configure. That way it's enabled when Ubuntu builds it, but other distros can leave it off if they want to.

Unfortunately that means Ubuntu derivatives that don't use libunity either have to rebuild the .deb without Unity support, or use the official Ubuntu-compiled package and accept that it requires an unnecessary package.

Keep in mind that libunity is not Unity. For example, Elementary OS uses libunity for their own custom dock to display badges on top of the icons.

What any of this has to do with making Ubuntu "more and more like windows" is beyond me, particularly since Windows has no package management system.

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I assume MiJyn was referring to the Windows components like Internet Explorer that you had to keep installed even if you didn't use them, due to seemingly unrelated Windows components needing them. – Mechanical snail Feb 8 '13 at 20:45
In that case it's the opposite of Windows, since Microsoft doesn't allow you to install "libinternetexplorer.dll" separate from IE itself. – MrEricSir Feb 12 '13 at 19:34
This is correct. Shotwell's Unity support option is here. – Mechanical snail Feb 14 '13 at 1:33
Windows does have a package management system. Windows Installer installs MSI packages (.msi files are not executables, they correspond to .deb files), installed software is kept track of in the registry, and you can repair and remove installed packages in the control panel. Windows doesn't call it a "package manager," but it is one. The central feature of most package managers in contemporary GNU/Linux OSes that Windows lacks is that Windows doesn't have a facility like APT for downloading packages from the Internet and automatically resolving their dependencies. – Eliah Kagan Mar 22 '13 at 11:01
$ apt-cache rdepends libunity9
Reverse Depends:

All of the applications that depend on libunity9 actually use the library for Unity specific integrations like launcher badges, progress bar and urgency animation. If I am not wrong, the dependency on this library is actually Ubuntu specific modification to each of the GNOME application and probably has nothing to do with the upstream versions.

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The Ubuntu packaging of Psensor is depending on Unity to provide some integration features:

  • display the highest temperature directly in the application launcher icon as a badge
  • provide a quick access to sensors values in the application indicator
  • when a sensor raises an alarm, the application indicator color is red

You can recompile psensor and rebuild the .deb without this dependency. That's the case of the debian packaging.

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