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Why “sudo apt-get remove” does not remove config files?

Ubuntu 13

Understanding the intricacies of package management in Linux is crucial for system administrators. One common question that arises is why the sudo apt-get remove command does not remove configuration files. This article will delve into this topic and provide a comprehensive understanding of how the apt-get remove command works.

Quick Answer

When using the "sudo apt-get remove" command in Linux, it only removes the package itself and not the associated configuration files. This is intentional to allow users to reinstall the package without losing their custom configurations. To completely remove a package along with its configuration files, you need to use the "sudo apt-get purge" command.

Understanding the apt-get remove command

The apt-get remove command is a fundamental command in Debian-based Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu. It is used to uninstall or remove packages from the system. The syntax for this command is sudo apt-get remove <package-name>.

However, it’s important to note that this command does not remove the associated configuration files of the package. This is by design, as it allows users to reinstall the package in the future without losing their custom configurations.

For example, if you run sudo apt-get remove vsftpd, it will remove the vsftpd package, but the configuration file (vsftpd.conf) will still remain in the /etc directory.

Removing Packages Along With Configuration Files

If you want to completely remove a package along with its configuration files, you need to use the purge command. The syntax for this command is sudo apt-get purge <package-name>.

This command removes the package and all its associated files, including configuration files. For instance, sudo apt-get purge vsftpd will remove the vsftpd package and its configuration file (vsftpd.conf).

Alternatively, you can use sudo apt-get remove --purge <package-name>. This command has the same effect as the purge command.

Manual Removal of Leftover Files

Sometimes, even after purging a package, there may be leftover files or directories. These are usually user data or files not considered as configuration or data files by the package maintainer. In such cases, you can manually delete them if necessary.

Conclusion

In summary, the sudo apt-get remove command is designed to remove packages while preserving configuration files for potential future use. If you wish to remove these configuration files as well, the purge command should be used. Understanding these commands and their nuances allows for more effective and efficient package management in Linux.

For more detailed information about the apt-get command and its options, you can refer to the manual by typing man apt-get in the terminal or visiting the Ubuntu Manpages.

Remember, it’s always important to double-check before removing or purging packages to avoid unintentionally deleting important files. Always keep your system data backed up and ensure you understand the implications of each command before execution.

Can I reinstall a package after using `apt-get remove`?

Yes, the apt-get remove command only removes the package itself, not the associated configuration files. This allows you to reinstall the package in the future without losing your custom configurations.

Why are configuration files not removed by default with `apt-get remove`?

Configuration files are not removed by default to preserve any customizations made by the user. This way, if you reinstall the package in the future, your configurations will still be intact.

How can I remove a package and its configuration files?

To remove a package and its configuration files, you can use the apt-get purge command or apt-get remove --purge command. This will completely remove the package and its associated files.

Are there any leftover files after using `apt-get purge`?

Sometimes, there may be leftover files or directories after purging a package. These files are usually user data or files not considered as configuration or data files by the package maintainer. If necessary, you can manually delete them.

How can I find more information about the `apt-get` command?

For more detailed information about the apt-get command and its options, you can refer to the manual by typing man apt-get in the terminal or visiting the Ubuntu Manpages.

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