[kwlug-disc] how to list *reverse* dependencies for debian packages?

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sun Aug 23 08:13:24 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Go to aptitude and provisionally purge the package in question by
pressing "_" on the package.  See what breaks. You can find broken
packages by pressing "b".  If nothing breaks, you don't really need the
package.  If something important breaks, go back to the initial package
and "install" it by pressing "+".  This will put you back where you
began.  Just don't press "g" twice.

Beware that packages have "requires", "suggests" and "recommends"
dependencies.  Removing a package in the "requires" list breaks the
package, but removing one from the other two does not.  You may need
some of the "suggests" or "recommends" packages - especially if you have
(gasp!) applications on the system that are not in the deb registry eg.
"make install" a tarball from the web.

aptitude is pretty good at recognizing packages that are not needed by
the system any longer and will automatically recommend their removal at
upgrade time.  Manually hunting down stray packages may not be worth
your time.

Robert P. J. Day wrote:
>   is there a way to conveniently list the *installed* reverse
> dependencies of an installed debian package?  someone recommended:
>   # apt-cache rdepends <pkgname>
> but that simply lists *all* of the reverse dependencies as recorded in
> the package info, whether that package is installed or not.  i'd
> prefer something along the lines of:
>   # rpm -q --whatrequires <pkgname>
> which restricts itself to listing only those packages that are
> currently installed.  i'm sure i could quickly put something together
> with sed/awk/grep/perl/whatever, but is there a simpler way?  thanks.
> rday
> --
> ========================================================================
> Robert P. J. Day                               Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA
>         Linux Consulting, Training and Annoying Kernel Pedantry.
> Web page:                                          http://crashcourse.ca
> Twitter:                                       http://twitter.com/rpjday
> ========================================================================
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