The apt-get manual says

       Do not consider recommended packages as a dependency
       for installing. Configuration Item:

If I understand correctly, this applies recursively, i.e. apt-get install ubuntu-desktop --no-install-recommends skips both the packages ubuntu-desktop recommends and, recursively, the packages that its dependencies recommend (?)

Is there a simple way of saying 'install ubuntu-desktop, skipping only the packages it directly recommends (but not those recommended by its dependencies)'?


First of all, ubuntu-desktop is a dummy package that installs only its dependencies (size of the .deb file is 3616 bytes). It will not work standalone.

But if you insist, there is a way, installing it through dpkg.

  1. Download a package:

    apt-cache show ubuntu-desktop | grep ^Filename
    wget http://"your repo server directory"/ubuntu/pool/main/u/ubuntu-meta/ubuntu-desktop_x.xxx_amd64.deb

    "repo server directory" can be 'archive.ubuntu.com' for example.

  2. Use dpkg to install:

    sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-desktop_x.xxx_amd64.deb

    That will install package without configuring.

| improve this answer | |
  • I'm afraid, my use of the term 'dependencies' was misleading. I do want to include the packages listed under 'depends' on packages.ubuntu.com/xenial/ubuntu-desktop, but not the ones listed under 'recommends'. I will adapt the question. – leopold.talirz Oct 14 '17 at 7:11

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