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I'm trying to install Alacarte and the dependencies are huge, basically all of GNOME. I know that they are unnecessary. Is there an option in Synaptic or an apt-get flag for this?

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big difference between recommends and dependencies – Marco Ceppi Jul 31 '11 at 18:37
up vote 16 down vote accepted

There are two kinds of dependencies for alacarte: “depends” and “recommends”.

Alacarte depends on Python and various Python libraries (which in turn pull in some libraries); the “depends” level says that alacarte won't work without these. APT-based tools won't let you install alacarte without those dependencies. You can ignore all dependencies with dpkg --force-depends, however this will confuse APT when alacarte is involved in a dependency calculation later (for example when a newer version of the package appears), hence doing this is not recommended. Furthermore it's unlikely that you'll get any use of the package without these dependencies.

Alacarte depends on gnome-panel (which in turns depends on many other parts of Gnome) at the “recommends” level. This indicates that alacarte is rarely useful without gnome-panel, but can be in some circumstances. Here, alacarte is indeed useful without gnome-panel if you have a different Freedesktop-compliant menu application.

By default, apt-get install installs all dependencies at the “depends” or “recommends” level. Pass the --no-install-recommends option to tell it not to install “recommends”-level dependencies. You can make this the default setting by adding APT::Install-Recommends "false"; to /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/zzz_mpmcfarlane.

With aptitude on the command line, pass -R or --without-recommends to avoid installing “recommends”-level dependencies. In the Aptitude full-screen UI, marking alacarte for installation also selects gnome-panel, but you can unmark it before proceeding with the installation. The APT preference also influences aptitude.

In Synaptic, marking alacarte for installation also selects gnome-panel. However you can go and unmark gnome-panel before applying the changes. There is a preference (in the “General” tab) to “Consider recommended packages as dependencies”.

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Thank you, very good answer, changed it from about a hundred packages to about four. – mpmcfarlane Jul 31 '11 at 18:54

The key option to add to apt-get is --no-install-recommends

So for alacarte -

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends alacarte

Given that alacarte is default in standard Ubuntu, can I ask what variant of Ubuntu are you installing alacarte for?

If you are using Xubuntu or Lubuntu - can I recommend an alternative menu editor from the answer to this question. I've found that alacarte doesnt work with both Lubuntu and Xubuntu.

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You can download the .deb package (apt-get download foo) and install it via dpkg using the --force-depends option.

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how to locate the .deb file if all I have is the name of the package? – knocte Jan 20 '14 at 18:27
replying to myself: apt-get download foo – knocte Jan 20 '14 at 18:58
oh, and it's --force-depends – knocte Jan 20 '14 at 18:59
@knocte I've edited to take advantage of your comments. – GKFX Feb 1 '15 at 18:00
thanks @GKFX, reverted my vote – knocte Feb 1 '15 at 22:04

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