I want to install a package (DigiKam), but it has a lot of dependencies. If I decide I no longer need this software and uninstall it, will the now unnessary dependencies be removed?

If not, how can I do it manually?

6 Answers 6


You can use the command apt-get autoremove. It will remove packages that are installed as automatic dependencies, but are not depended anymore.

apt-get has a flag --auto-remove that can be used to automatically remove the automatically installed packages when removing a manually installed package:

apt-get remove --auto-remove packagename

Certain other tools are also capable of doing this, for example aptitude will automatically suggest that you remove the packages that have been orphaned.

The automatically installed packages tracking is built in to apt so the tracking should work no matter which tool you use to install the packages.

  • So, the answer would be that it is NOT done automatically on removing the "parent" package, right ?
    – jfoucher
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 21:12
  • It depends on the method you use to remove the parent package. For example aptitude suggests that those packages are removed when you uninstall the parent package. Not all tools do this though.
    – Ressu
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 6:08
  • You can remove a package and all of its now-no-longer-needed dependencies in one step with sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove package. Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 11:58
  • 1
    the difference between autoremove and --auto-remove is a bit unclear. Can i combine them?
    – johny why
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 20:38
  • 1
    @johnywhy the flag is meant to be a parameter for remove command while the while the auto-remove command is a standalone one. I doubt you can combine them, but I can't check to make sure at the moment.
    – Ressu
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:01
aptitude purge digikam
aptitude purge $(deborphan)

deborphan lists packages which are not used or do not depend. So you can safely uninstall them. I tend to use purge as option of aptitude because it removes also config files and other stuff.

  • 1
    When using deborphan it is often necessary to run it a few times in a row, or at least it was in my experience with it. It seemed to continue to find new stuff.
    – mfisch
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 2:58
  • Yep, that's right. Someone wrote an improvement to deborphan. But that never made its way into Debian. The algorithm was better and you had it to run only once. Maybe I'd ask the author if he wants to add it again to Debian/Ubuntu repos.
    – qbi
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 12:07
  • Maybe I cannot use it, but deborphan usually wants to remove many applications that I actually use, as well as some important system packages. Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 18:38
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    aptitude purge <pkgname> is very useful for completely obliterating packages that have had a failed/partially successful uninstallation. Their status may be listed by dpkg -L <pkgname> as deinstall but using aptitude will remove them completely from aptitude's database, and lingering files not removed by the failed installation seemed to be removed too.
    – KomodoDave
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 16:50

The Computer Janitor, in the system menu can do this too.


I use ubuntu tweak, it has a very effecient app cleaning utility that has never removed more then it should.

sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove 

Only run this.

Install BleachBit from Software Center. When you clean ur system using it, BleachBit will automatically run this command to clean the apt cache.


I had the same problem. Here is what I did:

sudo apt-get check

This command will provide the name of dependencies. E.g. my system had chromium-browser-l10n.

Then enter the following command

sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove chromium-browser-l10n

It will remove the dependencies completely from your system

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