clean upIf you want to clean up your Ubuntu or Debian machine and delete unnecessary (orphaned) deb packages you can use utility deborphan. It finds packages that have no packages depending on them. The default operation is to search only within the libs and oldlibs sections to hunt down unused libraries.

Install deborphan with command sudo apt-get install deborphan and then let’s proceed with cleaning up. To delete unnecessary libraries just execute:
sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove --purge

To delete unnecessary data packages use command:
sudo deborphan --guess-data | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove --purge

To see all packages which aren’t required by any others use command
deborphan --guess-all

At my Ubuntu laptop I’ve got the following output:

gtkorphanThere is another tool to delete orphaned packages, it’s GtkOrphan (sudo apt-get install gtkorphan) that does the same as deborphan but is built as graphical application. Once it’s installed go to System –> Administration –> Remove Orphaned Packages, enter your password and proceed with cleaning up.

Another nice tip is to clean partial and orphaned packages by commands:
sudo apt-get autoclean
sudo apt-get autoremove

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  1. October 6, 2007  4:28 pm by techblog Reply

    Just always use aptitude instead of apt-get, and you won't have to..

  2. October 7, 2007  8:49 am by artiomix Reply

    Hi Kevin,

    You're right, actually I recommend aptitude too, but there are people who use apt-get still. This is primarily for them :)

    Thanks for comment!

  3. March 31, 2008  2:55 pm by Serdar Osman Onur Reply

    Starting with the edgy, aptitude and apt-get has the same functionality when you consider the dependency removal.

  4. December 15, 2008  6:37 am by Casey Tinsley Reply

    Great little how-to... Worked great and really cleaned my system out.

  5. May 19, 2010  3:50 am by Culip Reply

    sudo apt-get install deborphan; sudo deborphan | xargs sudo apt-get -y remove --purge

    worked and it removed 46 packages and obtained 16.6MB of free disk space on my computer (Xubuntu Lucid.) Thanks ;-)

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  13. March 6, 2013  6:49 pm by Douglas Stewart Reply

    I still show a bunch of packages using "--guess-all" that are still hanging around. Any suggestion for getting rid of those?

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