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I try to keep a log of the programs I installed via apt-get in the command line to carry them to my next Ubuntu installation. The thing is sometimes I install something to see if it suits me. After testing I sometimes forget to add those to my log.

When I try to find out from the history in software manager, it shows me a long list since it also includes the auto installed ones too.

Is there a way I can only sort out the ones that aren't automatically installed just because I installed gem or something? I want it to know only gem not the libraries that came with it, since they will be automatically installed anyways next time I install gem.

Also are there any tools to help with package installations? What I mean is that, there was once a tool I've used to keep track of the programs you compile and install by hand. It would track the makefile's doings and make it easier to uninstall or undo what it has done in the future. Is there a tool that you might have heard of out there?

Some ideas to make it easier in the future

One other solution I can think of is to write an install script that first logs the program name, then runs through apt-get install xxxx. Or is there a better way to pipe the command arguments of apt-get to log them, by aliasing the command or something? This would be better since it would keep auto-completion of package names when you press tab after sudo apt-get install chromium-br...

  • What you need is to know what package are installed by default. Then and only then, compare that list with your actual installed packages. AFAIK there is no web site to see what are the software installed by default in a normal installation. I has discussed this before, and hopefully, some day we will able to know every package installed. – Lucio Jun 6 '13 at 18:58
  • I like the approach but that would still leave me with the auto-installed packages. An auto installed package would be gem-plugin-gmerlin for gem. You know, the required or suggested packages for it. – Logan Jun 6 '13 at 19:02
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Apt keeps track of what is marked as auto-installed and what is marked as manually-installed. You can get the list of manually-installed packages with apt-mark showmanual.

Keep in mind that in addition to the things you manually-installed, this list will include things that the system marked as manually-installed in order to protect them from autoremove.

Synaptic has a nice graphical viewer with searching of the apt history log under File --> History. The history include packages you installed, the dependencies installed, and upgrades and packages removed.

The apt history log itself is in /var/log/apt/history.log

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Try this. just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:

sudo apt-cache pkgnames

This will provide you with a listing of every package in the system

  • This includes the auto-installed packages as well, though. I specifically want to get only the packages I manually installed, without the ones that came with it. For example thunderbird-locale-rm in that list is something I haven't installed, but thunderbird would be something I'd install. – Logan Jun 6 '13 at 19:20
  • A possible solution is run this command in your system and compare the results running the same command in a LiveCD of the same system. – Lucio Jun 6 '13 at 20:39
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Type the following in to Terminal

cd Desktop
dpkg --get-selections | grep install > installed.txt

A text file will appear with all installed packages on your desktop.

  • This includes the auto-installed packages as well, though. I specifically want to get only the packages I manually installed, without the ones that came with it. For example thunderbird-locale-rm in that list is something I haven't installed, but thunderbird would be something I'd install. – Logan Jun 6 '13 at 19:20
  • It should be possible to write a bash script called for example log_install with sudo apt-get update, sudo apt-get install $arg1 and echo $arg1 >>Installed_Apps.log or something along those lines – SimplySimon Jun 6 '13 at 19:42

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