I am trying to reduce the footprint of my Ubuntu docker image. Given that there is very little use for the man files and I deleted them, committed the image and then tried to use it. AFAICT it did no harm. However, I thought it worth asking here. Am I storing up any ugly problems for the future by doing this?

2 Answers 2


Short answer: no, this should not cause any major issue.


I think that you will not cause any major damage except these two cases:

  1. If do you need a manual for any command, you won't find it.
  2. The /usr/share/man folder will grow when you do a package install/update.

  1. Disable the apt cache:

When you install a package with apt-get or aptitude on a Debian-based system, the downloaded package is, by default, kept in the APT cache located at /var/cache/apt/archives. This is really not necessary as you typically do not re-install the same package ever again. Over time, the content in /var/cache/apt/archives will grow.

  • Create a file in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/ called 02nocache with these contents:

          Dir::Cache "var/cache/apt";
          Dir::Cache::archives "archives/";
  • Clear the apt cache:

          sudo rm -rf /var/cache/apt/archives 
  1. Disable man pages, locales and docs:

You can disable a lot of rubbish doing this:

  • Create a file called 01_nodoc on /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d with these contents:

        # /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/01_nodoc
        # Delete locales
        # Delete man pages
        # Delete docs
  • Delete the current contents:

        sudo rm -rf /usr/share/doc/
        sudo rm -rf /usr/share/man/
        sudo rm -rf /usr/share/locale/
  • Each line in the 01_nodoc file need to end in a semicolon or apt will be broken!
    – 5p0ng3b0b
    Commented Mar 10 at 10:30
  • Don't forget to run sudo apt clean afterwards.
    – 5p0ng3b0b
    Commented Mar 10 at 11:22

Logically there would be no harm for your system, but you still may loose when you need some man pages.

Also you should notice any update will create that directory again

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