I'm trying to figure out the difference between the following two installations:

  • Ubuntu Netboot with "Xubuntu Minimal" from tasksel
  • Xubuntu

I'm aware that Netboot with 'Xubuntu Minimal' is trimmed down. But I can't find out how much has been taken out (packages difference).

I've installed both in virtual machines and there's a difference of about 350~ packages. I've noticed that the minimal Xubuntu doesn't even have a browser, for example (which is fine by me). However, I'm worried that I may be missing some important (?) configurations and packages for laptop that I don't notice.

I've tried looking in the Ubuntu packages and a few other sites, but couldn't find much detailed info.


  • You're right, I gave it the wrong name. I've edited the post. I meant selecting 'Xubuntu Minimal' from the tasksel. Thanks for pointing that out.
    – ichimok
    Dec 9, 2017 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


If you look under the hood of Tasksel (in /usr/share/tasksel/descs/ubuntu-tasks.desc), you will discover the real metapackage names:

  • Tasksel's "Xubuntu Minimal" simply installs the xubuntu-core metapackage.
  • Tasksel's "Xubuntu Desktop" simply installs the xubuntu-desktop metapackage.

If you query apt about those two metapackages, you will discover that xubuntu-core is a dependency of xubuntu-desktop.

So really, the question is about which dependencies of -desktop are not already included in -core. Here's one easy way to do it:

diff --suppress-common-lines <(apt depends xubuntu-core) <(apt depends xubuntu-desktop)

This script-voodoo simply reads the dependencies of -core and -desktop, then passes those to the diff program, and tells diff that we care about non-duplicates only.

  • 1
    No need for temp files, just use pipes with diff --suppress-common-lines <(apt depends xubuntu-core) <(apt depends xubuntu-desktop). Dec 9, 2017 at 15:50
  • Thank you so much to both of you! Exactly what I was looking for (:
    – ichimok
    Dec 9, 2017 at 16:03

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