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I installed the cinnamon desktop with apt and it said it was about 85mb. But when I use sudo apt remove cinnamon or sudo apt purge cinnamon, the amount of disk space that it says it is freeing up is only 1164kb, about 1mb. Why is there such a discrepancy? There will be so much wasted space on my computer.

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This is because Desktop Environments like Cinnamon tend to be a compilation of a lot of different programs, like file managers, terminal emulators, web browsers, etc.

After you use sudo apt-get remove cinnamon you need to also use

sudo apt-get autoremove

To remove all the packages that are no longer needed.

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