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I want to uninstall vim, and according to this answer that is done by uninstalling vim.tiny. But when I run apt remove vim.tiny apt also wants to remove ubuntu-minimal.

What is ubuntu-minimal? Will removing it affect any other program than the vi editor?

  • Don't uninstall ubuntu-minimal! It's a meta-package which holds almost all dependencies to run Ubuntu. See for yourself: sudo apt remove ubuntu-minimal --dry-run – Kev Inski Aug 17 '18 at 9:15
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ubuntu-minimal is a metapackage.

Here's partial output of the apt show command:

apt show ubuntu-minimal        
Package: ubuntu-minimal
Version: 1.417
Priority: important
Section: metapackages
Source: ubuntu-meta
Origin: Ubuntu
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <ubuntu-devel-discuss@lists.ubuntu.com>
Bugs: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug
Installed-Size: 48.1 kB
Depends: adduser, apt, apt-utils, bzip2, console-setup, debconf, debconf-i18n, eject, init, initramfs-tools, iproute2, iputils-ping, isc-dhcp-client, kbd, kmod, less, locales, lsb-release, mawk, mount, netbase, netcat-openbsd, nplan, passwd, procps, python3, sensible-utils, sudo, tzdata, ubuntu-advantage-tools, ubuntu-keyring, udev, vim-tiny, whiptail
Recommends: rsyslog

A metapackage is a list of software that specifies what is installed on your system during the initial installation process and when you upgrade from one version of your OS to another. See What are the downsides of removing ubuntu-desktop metapackage? for example.

Removing a metapackage is otherwise harmless.

While you maybe able to remove vim-tiny, the benefits would be negligible and somewhere down the line some other software you install may pull it back in.

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  • This answers the question I asked. I wish it answered the question of how I remove vim. But I can't ask that, because somebody else already did. Oh well. – Lars Nyström Aug 17 '18 at 11:40
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As explained earlier, 'ubuntu-minimal' is meta package. It 'requires' the installation of a bunch of other packages which the powers that be consider essential to the smooth operation of a minimal Ubuntu installation.

Removing it has no impact on currently installed packages. Removing it WILL prevent the future automatic installation of any other package deemed (in their opinion) essential. [ The package 'ubuntu-advantage-tools' comes to mind. ]

So: Yes, you can remove 'vim.tiny' and 'ubuntu-minimal' with no ill effects, subject to the above caveat.

But when you do, use a dry-run ( 'apt -s ...' ) first and check the output to ensure you are only removing the package(s) you really want to remove...

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