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I'm trying to install R (via r-base-core) on an ubuntu 10.10 server.

It is trying to install all of the following:

The following NEW packages will be installed:
  apt-xapian-index apturl apturl-common aspell aspell-en dbus-x11 dictionaries-common docbook-xml dosfstools dpatch firefox firefox-branding fuse-utils gamin gconf2 gconf2-common ghostscript gir1.0-glib-2.0 gksu
  gnome-icon-theme gnome-keyring gnome-mime-data gvfs gvfs-backends hdparm hunspell-en-us indicator-application iso-codes launchpad-integration libappindicator1 libart-2.0-2 libaspell15 libatasmart4
  libavahi-glib1 libbluetooth3 libbonobo2-0 libbonobo2-common libbonoboui2-0 libbonoboui2-common libbz2-dev libcairo-perl libcanberra0 libcdio-cdda0 libcdio-paranoia0 libcdio10 libcupsimage2 libdbusmenu-glib1
  libdbusmenu-gtk1 libenchant1c2a libept1 libexif12 libffi5 libfuse2 libgail18 libgamin0 libgconf2-4 libgcr0 libgdu0 libgirepository1.0-1 libgksu2-0 libglade2-0 libglib-perl libgnome-keyring0 libgnome2-0
  libgnome2-canvas-perl libgnome2-common libgnome2-perl libgnome2-vfs-perl libgnomecanvas2-0 libgnomecanvas2-common libgnomeui-0 libgnomeui-common libgnomevfs2-0 libgnomevfs2-common libgnomevfs2-extra libgp11-0
  libgphoto2-2 libgphoto2-port0 libgs8 libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0 libgstreamer0.10-0 libgtk2-perl libgtop2-7 libgtop2-common libgudev-1.0-0 libgvfscommon0 libhunspell-1.2-0 libidl0 libimobiledevice1
  libindicator1 libjson-glib-1.0-0 liblaunchpad-integration1 liblcms1 liblqr-1-0 libmagickcore3 libmagickwand3 libncurses5-dev libnspr4-0d libnss3-1d libntfs-3g79 libntfs10 libopenobex1 liborbit2
  libpam-gnome-keyring libpango-perl libpaper-utils libpaper1 libparted0debian1 libpcre3-dev libpcrecpp0 libplist1 libpolkit-agent-1-0 libpolkit-backend-1-0 libproxy0 librarian0 libreadline-dev libreadline6-dev
  librsvg2-2 librsvg2-common libsgutils2-2 libsmbclient libsoup-gnome2.4-1 libsoup2.4-1 libstartup-notification0 libtdb1 libusbmuxd1 libutempter0 libvorbisfile3 libvte-common libvte9 libwbclient0 libwebkit-1.0-2
  libwebkit-1.0-common libxapian15 libxaw7 libxcb-atom1 libxcb-aux0 libxcb-event1 libxmu6 libxmuu1 libxpm4 libxss1 libxv1 libxxf86dga1 mtools ntfs-3g ntfsprogs obex-data-server patchutils policykit-1
  policykit-1-gnome powermgmt-base psmisc python-apt python-cairo python-dbus python-debian python-glade2 python-gnupginterface python-gobject python-gobject-cairo python-gtk2 python-software-properties
  python-vte python-webkit python-xapian r-base-core r-base-dev r-cran-boot r-cran-class r-cran-cluster r-cran-codetools r-cran-foreign r-cran-kernsmooth r-cran-lattice r-cran-mass r-cran-matrix r-cran-mgcv
  r-cran-nlme r-cran-nnet r-cran-rpart r-cran-spatial r-cran-survival r-doc-html r-recommended rarian-compat sgml-data software-properties-gtk synaptic tcl8.5 tk8.5 ubufox udisks unattended-upgrades unzip
  usbmuxd x11-utils x11-xserver-utils xauth xbitmaps xdg-utils xterm xul-ext-ubufox zip
0 upgraded, 204 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 94.5MB of archives.
After this operation, 284MB of additional disk space will be used.

My infrastructure has limited space and I'd rather not waste so much of it installing programs/libraries that can never be used on a server (libgnome? firefox??)

  1. Why do we even have all of these dependencies? Is there a way to easily see the entire dependency tree or motivations behind each?
  2. I really don't care about windowing dependencies (as they can't be used). Is there any good way to force apt/dpkg to ignore them --- or is it advisable to just compile from source?
share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

(2) Try

sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install r-base-core

Ubuntu by defaults installs not only the Depends, but also the Recommended packages.

(1) If you're interested in the package resolving tree, do something like

apt-get --dry-run -o Debug::pkgDepCache::AutoInstall=yes install r-base-core

Sample output

$ apt-get --dry-run -o Debug::pkgDepCache::AutoInstall=yes install r-base-core
NOTE: This is only a simulation!
      apt-get needs root privileges for real execution.
      Keep also in mind that locking is deactivated,
      so don't depend on the relevance to the real current situation!
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
  Installing libblas3gf as Depends of r-base-core
    Installing libgfortran3 as Depends of libblas3gf
  Installing liblapack3gf as Depends of r-base-core
  Installing tcl8.5 as Depends of r-base-core
  Installing tk8.5 as Depends of r-base-core
  Installing r-recommended as Recommends of r-base-core
    Installing r-cran-boot as Depends of r-recommended
    Installing r-cran-cluster as Depends of r-recommended
    Installing r-cran-foreign as Depends of r-recommended
    Installing r-cran-kernsmooth as Depends of r-recommended
      Installing r-cran-mass as Depends of r-cran-kernsmooth
    # etc...
share|improve this answer
Thanks for such a complete answer! – UsAaR33 Aug 27 '11 at 0:31

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