I know that I can use
apt-get remove <package> to remove a program.
apt is a program itself. Could I use
apt-get remove apt to remove it, or would it get confused part way through?
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APT lets you simulate your commands using the option
-s. You can try this yourself, issuing the command
apt-get -s remove apt (no
This yields the following output:
Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required: apturl-common xul-ext-ubufox Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them. The following packages will be REMOVED: apt apt-utils apturl nautilus-share python3-software-properties software-properties-common software-properties-gtk ubuntu-desktop unattended-upgrades WARNING: The following essential packages will be removed. This should NOT be done unless you know exactly what you are doing! apt 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 9 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Remv ubuntu-desktop [1.341] Remv nautilus-share [0.7.3-1ubuntu5] Remv apturl [0.5.2ubuntu9] Remv software-properties-gtk [0.96.13.1] Remv software-properties-common [0.96.13.1] Remv python3-software-properties [0.96.13.1] Remv unattended-upgrades [0.86.2ubuntu1] Remv apt-utils [18.104.22.168ubuntu1] Remv apt [22.214.171.124ubuntu1]
So the answer should be: yes, you can.
sudo apt-get remove apt Reading package lists... Done Building dependency tree Reading state information... Done The following packages will be REMOVED: apt apt-utils apturl nautilus-share python3-software-properties software-center software-properties-common software-properties-gtk ubuntu-desktop ubuntu-extras-keyring ubuntu-minimal unattended-upgrades WARNING: The following essential packages will be removed. This should NOT be done unless you know exactly what you are doing! apt 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 12 to remove and 0 not upgraded. After this operation, 9,031 kB disk space will be freed. You are about to do something potentially harmful. To continue type in the phrase 'Yes, do as I say!' ?] Yes, do as I say! (Reading database ... 179817 files and directories currently installed.) Removing ubuntu-desktop (1.327) ... Removing nautilus-share (0.7.3-1ubuntu5) ... Removing apturl (0.5.2ubuntu4) ... dpkg: warning: while removing apturl, directory '/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/AptUrl/gtk/backend' not empty so not removed Removing software-properties-gtk (0.94) ... dpkg: warning: while removing software-properties-gtk, directory '/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/softwareproperties/gtk' not empty so not removed Removing software-properties-common (0.94) ... Removing python3-software-properties (0.94) ... Removing unattended-upgrades (0.82.8) ... Removing ubuntu-minimal (1.327) ... Removing apt-utils (126.96.36.199ubuntu2) ... Removing software-center (13.10-0ubuntu4.1) ... Removing ubuntu-extras-keyring (2010.09.27) ... OK Removing apt (188.8.131.52ubuntu2) ... Processing triggers for man-db (184.108.40.206-2) ... Processing triggers for gconf2 (3.2.6-2ubuntu1) ... Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.13-1) ... Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.2-0ubuntu3) ... Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.10.1-0ubuntu2) ... Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1ubuntu2) ... Processing triggers for bamfdaemon (0.5.1+14.10.20140925-0ubuntu1) ... Rebuilding /usr/share/applications/bamf-2.index... Processing triggers for mime-support (3.55ubuntu1) ... Processing triggers for dbus (1.8.8-1ubuntu2) ... Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.19-10ubuntu2) ...
and will be warned you are about to do something very destructive. I must say ... the list of packages looks horrific for a space saving of less then 6000kb :D
It does finish but there is no way back using "apt-get". Ubuntu Software Center will no longer work and you would need to use "dpkg" to re-install a package manager (and manually also need to install all the dependencies).
Once, back when I ran CoreUbuntu, I installed a buggy package from source which
apt decided obsoleted
apt. Next time I ran
apt autoremove, I didn't actually look at the list of software to be removed and
apt was in the list.
Imagine my surprise next time I typed
apt install <package-name> and got
The program 'apt' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing: sudo apt-get install apt.
Luckily, for some reason,
autoremove didn't remove any of
apt's dependencies so all I had to do was
.deb archive and reinstall using
As shown in the other answers, if you remove
apt, you'll be in more trouble because of the dependencies it tries to resolve.
I find it interesting but it is indeed the case that (certainly for Debian, and perhaps Fedora/openSUSE to an extent?) many modern distros are defined and built largely upon the infrastructure provided by their package manager of choice.
Technically, apt can't remove apt... because apt doesn't know how to remove, install or upgrade packages. The tasks of installing, removing, upgrading, configuring packages are left to dpkg. Although you can tell apt to remove the package called "apt", what it does is checks the reverse dependencies of the apt package, take note of those packages and orders dpkg to remove them. Which is what can be seen in the other answers.
Even without apt you can use dpkg to install, remove or upgrade packages, just that it will be more painful to track dependencies and upgrades needed, which is the raison d'être of apt.
Of course you can. Apt and dpkg are themselves packages, and they are meant to be able to be updated via themselves, so there are provisions for removal; otherwise
/var/lib/dpkg/info/dpkg.postrm would not have reason to exist :)
If you accidentally removed them in a way that left you without dpkg, you could still manually unpack the .deb archive for dpkg unless you also got rid of binutils, tar, gzip/bzip2.
--purge on any packages involved with the apt toolchain could give you nasty problems, though; hard to tell what owns certain files in
/var/lib/dpkg/status got deleted and there was no current backup, then yes, the package manager would be beyond repair on that system.
I swear I saw the
apt binaries under
/usr/local/bin on an Ubuntu-based system not long ago, but they're not there on my current Ubuntu MATE 15.04 system (they're in
/usr/bin with most of the other binaries). If it was in
/usr/local/bin then it probably wouldn't be possible to uninstall it with
apt because the files in
/usr/local/bin are supposed to be ignored by the package manager. I must admit that putting
dpkg as well) under
/usr/local/bin would be a good idea.
A more interesting question is - what happens if you uninstall
dpkg? Sure enough,
dpkg is listed as a package by
apt, but I'm not going to try uninstalling it now (haven't got a virtual machine set up at the moment). Theoretically one could also uninstall it with
dpkg itself. I'm going to take an educated guess that the only way to re-install it would be to do so manually, then hope that it picks up the existing configuration files (so you don't have to manually tell the system all over again what packages are installed) and then tell it that the package
dpkg is now installed again.
(A joke:) A Debian user's equivalent of
# rm -rf / is
# apt-get purge ".*".