I do want to uninstall the "popularity-contest" package from my system.

While I know that I can disable it with

$ dpkg-reconfigure popularity-contest

it is still a package I want removed.

Unfortunately, the "ubuntu-standard" package depends on it (instead of just having it recommended). Removing popcon would thus remove ubuntu-standard, and my system would be trashed. See Popularity Contest should be uninstallable for the features request to make it uninstallable.

Until that bug is fixed, I need a way to get it uninstalled.

How can I do that? Is there a trick to convince the package manager that the dependency is not necessary?

  • i ran into (minor) problems because CRON wanted to access popularity-contest despite the fact that it was disabled.
    – tony gil
    Jun 8, 2014 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


Given that ubuntu-standard is a metapackage, removing it do not imply the removing of any other package, nor the removing of some functionality:

$ sudo apt-get --simulate purge popularity-contest 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  popularity-contest* ubuntu-standard*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 2 to remove and 13 not upgraded.
Purg ubuntu-standard [1.245]
Purg popularity-contest [1.53ubuntu1]
  • In fact, the packages that ubuntu-standard, ubuntu-desktop and other metapackages depend on are often marked as manually installed, so that apt-get won't say, "the following packages are no longer needed..." every time you use it.
    – jpaugh
    Dec 3, 2011 at 15:07
  • Maybe I fail to see it, but you are not answering the question in my eyes. OP wants to remove popularity-contest without removing ubuntu-standard (which is supposed to be an essential package not to be removed).
    – arnuschky
    Oct 12, 2015 at 13:21
  • @arnuschky: removing a dependence of a package without removing the package itself is impossible without leaving the package system in an inconsistent state. In my answer however I say that removing ubuntu-standard does not trash the system, as the OP fears, because ubuntu-standard is a metapackage.
    – enzotib
    Oct 13, 2015 at 6:25
  • This answer is absolutely correct about the nature of the ubuntu-standard package. The commands that it causes to be installed are not dependent on it afterwards. Upvote.
    – SDsolar
    Apr 23, 2018 at 21:51
  • 2
    The ubuntu-standard package's description ends with It is also used to help ensure proper upgrades, so it is recommended that it not be removed. So, if the package in fact should be removed or has no impact on upgrades, someone should update the package description.
    – dannysauer
    Oct 27, 2020 at 22:12

To remove the package entirely in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

sudo apt-get remove popularity-contest

Yes, it mentions ubuntu-standard in the removal dialog. So look at this list:

Packages Related to ubuntu-standard (Ubuntu.com)

Notice that nano is included in the Ubuntu Standard list.

To verify that removing popularity-contest via this method has not hurt the system, try it out:

nano test.tmp

and you will see that nano still works fine.

In other words, you can see that this proves that removing the install stub left over from the initial installation of the Ubuntu Standard Packages will not damage the system in other ways.

Final step: Remove the daily cron entry

sudo rm /etc/cron.daily/popularity-contest

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