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I am running Ubuntu 12.04. When I try to remove file-roller (the built-in "Archive Manager" app) from my system as I now use ark (using Synaptic Package Manager), it asks me to also remove ubuntu-desktop (which I assume is the Unity DE).

I don't want to uninstall Unity from my system, so how do I go about removing this, whilst keeping Unity installed?

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You can safely remove ubuntu-desktop as it is a meta-package, and does not provide any actual content. It only depends/recommends other packages. Removing it will not remove Unity or other features.

See also: What is the difference between a meta-package and a package?

  • Thanks for this! I've marked as final answer (though haven't got round to booting into Ubuntu yet to do this) – Kieran Oct 9 '13 at 16:22
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Since ubuntu-desktop's package dependency on file-roller is hard (it Depends, as opposed to Recommends or Suggests), you cannot uninstall file-roller without uninstalling ubuntu-desktop.

On the other hand, ubuntu-desktop is a meta-package, so you could achieve the equivalent by installing all packages it depends on, except file-roller, though I doubt that this is worth the effort.

Why not keep both installed?

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