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I have zeitgeist daemon always in processes. I don't see the point of this zeitgeist, it logs my activity. i removed it from startup programs, but it is still there.

Can I uninstall this package? Why do I need it at all?

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

Run sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist* in a terminal. It might remove a few related packages, but so long as you don't see anything suggested for removal that you don't want, you should be fine.

As per comments: you will lose unity functionality (I was not sure how much when I first wrote the answer) if you remove zeitgeist. So, I suggest you just disable logging.

You can also off logging altogether from system settings.

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You can see what will be removed by executing sudo apt-get remove --dry-run zeitgeist* before removing zeitgeist – test30 Sep 1 '14 at 12:06
I was successfull removing zeitgeist packages one by one on 14.04. sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist zeitgeist-datahub zeitgeist-core , in comparison to sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist*, it did not remove unity or other essential things, only zeitgeist and its daemons. Unity is much faster now. – mondjunge Apr 29 '15 at 8:51
The last link is dead. – Pawan Dec 3 '15 at 18:06
I know tis is old, but I uninstall all zeitgeist packages in Ubuntu 16.04 Unity and my Unity Desktop still works perfectly, including Dash. So I'm not sure what benefit zeitgeist has on 16+... – Dorian May 27 at 14:40

There is an easy way described here -- which does not include deleting any package, but simply de-activating the corresponding services. I didn't try it myself, but this way side-effects should be minimal (and probably even wanted, as e.g. no "recent items" being available etc. Moreover, it is easily revertable in case of "unwanted" side effects.

The author of that article explicitly states: Here is a way to disable this logging without breaking Unity or any other part of the system, execute these commands in a terminal:

sudo mv /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop-inactive
rm ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
mkdir ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
rm -rf ~/.local/share/zeitgeist

Reverting this (if one wants to enable Zeitgeist again) thus should be done like this:

mkdir ~/.local/share/zeitgeist
rmdir ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
# no action for the .xbel file, as it will be re-created automatically
sudo mv /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop-inactive /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop

which is simply "reversing" the steps of the de-activation.

Remark: The ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel has nothing to do with Zeitgeist itself, it just falls into the same category somehow. The article mentioned is about "disabling activity logging", and thus included this. If you just want to disable Zeitgeist, you can skip the two middle steps.

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I followed the same procedure but it is not working for me: freshly installed 12.4.3, amd64-desktop version. "ps -ef" keep showing zeitgeist restarted after reboot, and the ".local/share/zeitgeist" directory recreated as well. – Peter Teoh Nov 13 '13 at 4:22
It works for me (lubuntu 14.04). I strongly suggest to follow this guide, since removing zeitgeist packages can broke dependencies. Please don't be overzealous. – Marco Sulla Nov 12 '14 at 15:17
Exactly my intention: show a way that can easily be "reverted", while minimizing impact on the system :) – Izzy Nov 12 '14 at 17:13
Is this up to date? – Seth Dec 13 '14 at 2:03
@mondjunge I'm afraid I don't know. Stopped caring for that years ago (in fact, after this answer). Will never ever install Unity again (in fact, my next installations won't even be Ubuntu anymore). Like you, I don't want stuff I cannot control be installed on my device without obvious and user-friendly ways to deactivate/remove it. Having had 3 independent "desktop agents" forced on me that way (Zeitgeist, Akonadi, Nepomuk) with dependencies making an easy uninstall/deactivation impossible was enough for me. I hate when others decide what I have to like :) – Izzy Apr 28 '15 at 15:09

If you remove Zeitgeist then the menu in Unity wont work properly, it stops you searching for programs by typing into the box.

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In Ubuntu 14.04 running sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist* will uninstall the Unity system – Dan May 14 '14 at 8:08

I found hints about renaming of /etc/xdg/autostart/zeitgeist-datahub.desktop, but it isn't enough. It prevents Zeitgeist from running at startup, but in my case (Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS) it started later somehow (perhaps as a result of some DBus activity).
If you'd like to keep Zeitgeist installed, but prevent it from running, try renaming its executables:

zeitgeist-daemon --quit
cd /usr/bin/
sudo mv zeitgeist-daemon zeitgeist-daemon.bak
sudo mv zeitgeist-datahub zeitgeist-datahub.bak

Now Zeitgeist daemon won't start. You can check this later with ps aux | grep [z]eitgeist. You can also purge the database which was collected by Zeitgeist by deleting ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/ folder with its contents, if you like to save some space.
To secure these files from updating you can also lock packages zeitgeist-core and zeitgeist-datahub in Synaptic or Aptitude.

To revert the changes simply rename these executables back:

cd /usr/bin/
sudo mv zeitgeist-daemon.bak zeitgeist-daemon
sudo mv zeitgeist-datahub.bak zeitgeist-datahub

If you altered .desktop file in /etc/xdg/autostart/, you should also return it back.

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Here's an editorial on the topic of zeitgeist, including an interview with the creator: And some instructions on disabling (not removal)

An easy way to reduce the logging (but not the heavy resource and disk use) is via the control panel: enter image description here

Unfortunately little about Zeitgeist is well disclosed or clear. Zeitgeist is not easy to disable, nor is it easy to see what it's doing. You can't "stop" it like other background system services.

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"Unfortunately little about Zeitgeist is well disclosed or clear". I thought the link you provided yourself clarifies all the points one might want to know. – Rexford Aug 12 '15 at 13:23

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