Starting with a Ubuntu server, I wanted a window manager, so I installed xfce4.
sudo apt-get install xfce4
to do this. To remove it, I used
sudo apt-get remove --purge xfce4
which didn't work, and neither did
sudo dpkg purge xfce4
as evidenced 1) startx launches the xfce desktop, and 2) apt-cache search xfce4 returns a long list of installed packages.
apt-cache search xfce4
So, how can I get rid of xfce4 and it's dependencies?
xfce4 itself is a meta-package that will install a default configured xfce desktop environment.
In most cases the base files that comes with xfce4 are:
xfconf, xfce4-utils, xfwm4, xfce4-session, thunar, xfdesktop4, exo-utils
So you can do
sudo apt-get purge xfconf xfce4-utils xfwm4 xfce4-session thunar xfdesktop4 exo-utils xfce4-panel xfce4-terminal
Then most of the package that were associated with these package become autoremovable so you can run
sudo apt-get autoremove
Almost all xfce4 package depend upon libxfce4util-common. Just purge that one and you remove everything related to xfce
Note that apt-cache is not showing you installed packages, but rather those which are known about.
To test what you have installed, you might like to use:
dpkg --get-selections | grep xfce
Be sure to look at the second output column to see whether it's installed or deinstalled.
After purging all xfce packages, the above command returns no output on my machine.
Aptitude can do this by using package search ~n and using -P to prompt when adding or removing packages.
sudo aptitude -P remove ~nxfce4
Substitute remove with purge if you would like to remove the system configuration files:
sudo aptitude -P purge ~nxfce4
To remove user config files (use -r with care - recursive delete!!):
sudo rm -r ~/.config/xfce4
sudo aptitude purge xfce4 desktop-base exo-utils gtk2-engines-xfce libexo-1-0 libexo-common libgarcon-1-0 libgarcon-common libthunarx-2-0 libtumbler-1-0 libxfce4ui-1-0 libxfce4util-bin libxfce4util-common libxfce4util4 libxfconf-0-2 orage tango-icon-theme thunar thunar-data thunar-volman tumbler tumbler-common xfce-keyboard-shortcuts xfce4 xfce4-appfinder xfce4-mixer xfce4-panel xfce4-session xfce4-settings xfce4-utils xfconf xfdesktop4 xfdesktop4-data xfwm4 xfwm4-themes
Will remove everything related with xfce4 in your computer. You will need to install aptitude first if you haven't:
sudo apt-get install aptitude
I think you should try aptitude.
Install it: sudo apt-get install aptitude
sudo apt-get install aptitude
Maybe you will have first to install again xfce4: sudo aptitude install xfce4
sudo aptitude install xfce4
Now purge it: sudo aptitude purge xfce4
sudo aptitude purge xfce4
ps.: I've never installed xfce4 but the command apt-cache search xfce4 also gives me this output.
I removed webmin, as I no longer needed it.
But I removed it with apt-get --purge remove,
thinking it would remove dependencies and simply retrace back what it did during installation. It turns out I was wrong, and aptitude or --auto-remove had to be used.
apt-get --purge remove
I would like to keep my machine clean of unneeded scripts and installs.
how do I remove stuff probably has been left behind?
Use apt-get autoremove --purge.
apt-get autoremove --purge
It removes any unnecessary leftover packages and with the --purge option, the configuration files are also removed.