Switching Desktops & Cruft removal

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haylocki
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Switching Desktops & Cruft removal

Post by haylocki » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:37 pm

Hi,

I am currently running LMDE with XFCE on my laptop.
As there is no official LMDE XFCE edition I had to install the default Gnome desktop then switch to XFCE.
This means I have unnecessary Gnome packages installed on my system.

What I have been thinking about is a way to manage removing this extra cruft from an installation.

My idea is to have a script to handle switching from one desktop to another.
this script would have a list of packages required for each desktop, and so could easily remove the packages required by one desktop, then install the packages required by the new desktop.

As Synaptic and Apt-get are able to provide lists of installed packages, I think creating a list of required packages for each desktop should be pretty straight forward.

Unlike Ubuntu based Mint, LMDE is a rolling release, so it does not have the 6 monthly fresh install to remove the accumulated cruft of packages a user has installed and then forgotten about. So It might also be nice to have a list of packages for a base install without any desktop, so that a user can remove all the cruft, then reinstall a desktop, and have the equivalent of a freshly installed system.

A system like this would also be nice for checking out all the different flavors of Mint without downloading a CD for each version

Another nice touch would be to have 'make install' automatically run 'make checkinstall' instead. This would mean even software compiled by the user would be easy to remove. Could this be done using the 'Alias' command?

Cheers, Ian

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DrHu
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Re: Switching Desktops & Cruft removal

Post by DrHu » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:23 am

haylocki wrote:My idea is to have a script to handle switching from one desktop to another.
this script would have a list of packages required for each desktop, and so could easily remove the packages required by one desktop, then install the packages required by the new desktop.
My idea is to have a script to handle switching from one desktop to another
Already available on various desktops in the GUI session controls..

If you have multiple desktop styles installed (xfce, Gnome, lmde or kde), you can already switch between them via session control (gdm or kdm), usually from tyhe login screen.
That isn't cruft, it is the way that user runs their system..

You are asking for too much; loading up the developers or providing a meta team to manage across all developers within their particular preference of desktop and applications is too big a job, and for a distributor that is providing a variety of Linux flavors for people to choose from, way too much complexity and trouble..

Sure scripts are nice when they work correctly: that's the rub
  • In order to get a script to run well/correctly, you really have to understand the target
    • So if your development was always Gnome, you won't know much about kde, or vice-versa, same for xfce or other desktop environments or managers
haylocki wrote:Another nice touch would be to have 'make install' automatically run 'make checkinstall' instead. This would mean even software compiled by the user would be easy to remove. Could this be done using the 'Alias' command?
That is a user issue
--if a user wants to install from source, they are responsible for the installation and behavior of that process

Checkinstall..
http://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/30 ... eckinstall
http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/usi ... ges-source

haylocki
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Re: Switching Desktops & Cruft removal

Post by haylocki » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:14 pm

Hi,
way to go totally misunderstanding my post :roll:
Maybe it's the way that I wrote it.

You'll notice I posted in the "General Topics" section, rather than the "Suggestions & new Ideas" section.
Why was this? Oh because I was not suggesting the devs implement my idea, I was just throwing the idea out there in-case it is possible to already achieve what I was asking, and to find out how feasible the idea is.

Let me try writing my idea another way....

I do not want to have more than one desktop on my laptop.

At the moment there is only LMDE Gnome available.

I have installed XFCE on the laptop, so now I have both Gnome and XFCE desktop, and as I said previously I only want "ONE" desktop installed. So to me all the Gnome software installed is now cruft. I have the hard drive space for both, but to some people this could be an issue. Yes It is possible to load Synaptic, and search for all the Gnome packages, then manually remove them. But that is pretty tedious and prone to errors.

OK. Only LMDE Gnome is currently available, so the following method will not work for LMDE until both LMDE Gnome, and LMDE XFCE are available.

Now... Synaptic and apt-get are both capable of providing a list of all packages installed on a system.

So if I install say, Mint KDE and have apt-get save a list of all installed packages.
Then install say, Mint Gnome and have apt-get save a list of all installed packages.

I now have two lists one contains all the packages for Mint KDE and one Contains all the packages for Mint Gnome.

I Diff the lists which provides me with a list of all the packages that are installed in Mint KDE, but not in Mint Gnome.

I Diff the lists the other way around, which provides me with a list of all the packages that are installed in Mint Gnome, but not in Mint KDE.

Now I Have Mint Gnome installed, and I want Mint KDE, so I run a script which removes all the packages in the mint Gnome list, then installs all the packages in the mint KDE list.

TADA!

I now have a system with only "ONE" desktop installed, and no cruft from Gnome installed.

So I have now switched from Mint Gnome to Mint KDE without downloading Mint KDE.

As you can see there is no need to know the workings of either desktop, or even which packages are used in either, this is all taken care of by apt-get/synaptic.

Um.... why the links for checkinstall ?

The reason I mentioned checkinstall was because even though I have been using a debian based distro for 3 years I only discovered the checkinstall command 3 months ago. Checkinstall really needs greater visiblity. Having a system run checkinstall automatically when the user types make install would help with this.

Yes it's the user is responsible for his/her system, but I thought Mint was all about ease of use, and making installed software easier to remove sounds like it fits that premise, but maybe that's just me.

And no, I don't think you can use alias to replace "make install" with "checkinstall" as alias only seems to replace single word commands. Of course if someone knows how to do this I would appreciate them telling me.

Hope this clears up my first post.

Cheers, Ian

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