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Ubuntu can be seen as quite bloated on a default desktop installation, this guide aims to provide tips and solutions for cutting down on the cruft and also will provide you with some applications that are not quite so resource hungry as alternatives.

The aim here is to take you from beginning to end in the installation and clean-up process.

The original article can be found here: http://www.stevey.eu/2008/09/diet-ubuntu-the-in-depth-guide/.


For installation I use the minimal CD image, this will save doing a large number of updates once the installation is complete. Information can be found here. In this scenario we will be using the 32-bit 8.04 “Hardy Heron” image. Download here: MinimalCD. If you are not entirely familiar with burning ISO images to discs, take a look at BurningIsoHowto.

The only important factor here is that you run the installation in expert mode, this can be achieved by typing “expert” (less the quotation marks) at the prompt and pressing enter once you have booted from the installation media:


The reasoning behind doing the installation in expert mode is quite simply the control you gain over specific sections of the process comapared to the default. Follow the steps through, the installer will select the next required as you progress. The instructions are pretty self-explanitory. I would suggest to make things a little easier allowing the network to be setup automatically with DHCP.

The choice is yours when it comes to partitioning the discs, although using guided is recommended, the expert install gives you the options of LVM and encrypted LVM. For more information regarding Logical Volume Management see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_Volume_Manager_(Linux). Separating /home, and perhaps /tmp, /var et al, again is down to preference.

When you get to selecting software, choose Ubuntu Desktop, this may take some time to complete and will need an active internet connection throughout. Before completing the install, also remember to install GRUB, taking a look at Grub2 may also be worthwhile.

Package Removal

For the purposes of this article any commands given should be executed at the terminal. You can locate this on your new Ubuntu installation via Applications > Accessories > Terminal. If you are unfamiliar with using Gnome Terminal take a look at UsingTheTerminal.

To remove anything successfully you will need to be root, this is obtained using “sudo”. We then need to tell the system we wish to use APT to remove packages by typing apt-get remove. To remove the configuration files attached to any of these packages we can then also add –-purge. So far you should have something along the lines of:

$ sudo apt-get remove --purge PACKAGE(S)

Removable Packages

Append any of the below to the end of the previously mentioned terminal line (replacing PACKAGE(S)) to remove specific packages, I will explain about each group in the following table. A noteworthy time saver here is the ability to type a handful of characters from a package name and then pressing the TAB key to auto-complete it, if there is more than one option available they will be displayed. Please be sure to read the notes regarding each set of packages before proceeding to remove any. When prompted for an answer, of course select yes if you wish to proceed.



Additional Info


Various mono libs, will also remove F-spot, Tomboy and Banshee (if installed)


ttf-arabeyes ttf-arphic-uming ttf-indic-fonts-core ttf-kochi-gothic ttf-kochi-mincho ttf-lao ttf-malayalam-fonts ttf-thai-tlwg ttf-unfonts-core

Assorted Arabic/Asian language font types

Useful to keep if you need support for any Arabic/Asian based languages

bluez-audio bluez-cups bluez-gnome bluez-utils

Bluetooth capabilities


ppp pppconfig pppoeconf wvdial

Dial up internet et al

http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/wvdial http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/ppp http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/pppoe

gnome-orca brltty brltty-x11 gnome-accessibility-themes gnome-mag libgnome-mag2

Various accessibility functions

http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/gnome-orca http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/brltty http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/gnome-mag http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/gnome-accessibility-themes

libgtk-vnc-1.0-0 vinagre vino

VNC (remote control)


espeak espeak-data libespeak1 libgnome-speech7

Speech synthesizer (text to voice)


evolution-common evolution-data-server evolution-exchange evolution-plugins evolution-webcal

Evolution Mail, will also remove Ekiga (VoIP client)

http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/evolution http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/ekiga


Fortune cookies



Intrusive (IMO) search protocol, will also remove Brasero (CD/DVD burner)

http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/libbeagle1 http://beagle-project.org/Main_Page http://packages.ubuntu.com/hardy/brasero


Panel applet to search Evolution address book



Mark Pilgrim’s Python tutorial



Example content for various desktop apps


gnome-games gnome-games-data gnome-cards-data

Gnome games and associated data


totem totem-gstreamer totem-plugins totem-common totem-mozilla

Totem media player and associated plugins



Rhythmbox music player


transmission-common transmission-gtk

Transmission BitTorrent client


openoffice.org-calc openoffice.org-draw openoffice.org-impress openoffice.org-writer openoffice.org-base-core

Openoffice.org productivity suite


Replacement Package Installation


Clean the apt-cache

Before proceeding to add anything to the installation I highly suggest cleaning up the APT cache and cleaning out any packages left behind (orphans). Once more in a terminal:

$ sudo apt-get autoremove && sudo apt-get clean all && sudo apt-get autoclean all

The double ampersand will tell the command line to proceed to the following command on completion of the former. The line above will remove any packages the system has located that it no longer needs, and will then clean the cache.

Locale Purge and Deborphan

I then recommend installing a couple of packages that will aid the cleanup further.

Firstly to remove unnecessary data from the locale cache, which is essentially all the assorted translations available for packages you are installing. I would install localepurge you will be prompted to select the locales you wish to keep, this will depend on the country you reside in, for me it would be the three EN_GB entries.

Secondly there will more than likely be a plethora of orphaned packages on your system by this point, they are no longer needed, and are referred to as orphan as they depend on nothing nor nothing depends on them. To solve this little space waster, deborphan in conjunction with the package manager is highly useful. There is a GTK front-end available apt://gtkorphan|gtkorphan but in my experience it works pretty poorly, the best option is the following:

  • Open Synaptic (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager), entering your password when prompted.

  • On the settings menu navigate to Filters
  • Click new, and give your new filter a name, Orphan or Orphaned would be sufficient
  • Hit the “Deselect All” button
  • Check the box next to Orphaned

Close this dialog and select the Custom Filters tab at the bottom left, locate your new Orphan filter in the list, and you will be presented will all the orphaned packages on your system, sometimes it is worth running this more than once, as once it has run through once, more packages tend to become orphaned. Select to completely remove them, of course.

While we are here, we can also check the Status tab for any residual content left behind by removed packages, these can also be safely removed using the completely remove option. Be sure to check for orphans and also residual content after removing any packages, as it can usually save a fair bit of extra space.

Additional Repositories

Here it may be useful to add a couple of repositories before we continue to make all the packages mentioned below available, firstly my Launchpad PPA.

Information regarding my PPA, and its content list can be located here: https://edge.launchpad.net/~steveydoteu/+archive to add it right away, head to System > Administration > Software Sources and click the tab for third party. Press the add button and paste the following:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/steveydoteu/ubuntu hardy main

Make sure the box is checked by it, then we can move onto adding Medibuntu.

Please note, that anything from a PPA, mine or anyone else’s, will always prompt about being unauthorized, no GPG key is provided, but they are completely trustworthy.

Additional Packages

The following packages are my default set, and will also add extended functionality to your system. Especially useful if you are migrating from Windows.

Installation can be achieved by appending the packages to the following command replacing PACKAGE(S):

$ sudo apt-get install PACKAGE(S)



Additional Info

p7zip rar unrar

Additional functionality for file-roller

Allows compression/decompression of 7zip and rar archives

thunderbird liferea

Mail client and RSS reader

Thunderbird email client, Liferea - Linux Feed Reader



Internet relay chat



File transfer protocol

exaile vlc

Audio/Video playback

Exaile media player for music, VLC for video

sun-java6-fonts sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin


Sun Java runtime environment + plugins for Firefox


Flash player

Flash support for web browsing


Pulse audio support for flash

Fixes sound issues with pulse audio after using flash


ALSA workaround for OSS

Allow OSS applications to work with ALSA

faac faad

AAC audio support

AAC audio compression/decompression

gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse

Multimedia codecs

Various multimedia codecs/libs


QuickTime/DirectShow support

Enables use of binary QuickTime QTX and DirectShow/DMO DLL files


MP3 encoding

LAME MP3 encoder


Proprietary media codecs

Win32 media codecs, AVI, WMA. WMV et al


Assorted Windows Fonts

Arial et al


There we have it, a clean, much lighter, but still fully functional installation of Ubuntu 8.04 “Hardy Heron”.

Any questions or suggestions please drop me a line via the contact link in the sidebar, or as a comment on this article.

This guide and all associated information is released under a Creative Commons. Feel free to redistribute it, just make sure to leave credit where its due.

(September 2008. stevey.eu)

CategoryCommandLine CategoryInstallation CategoryPackageManagement

Diet Ubuntu (last edited 2017-09-03 17:54:18 by ckimes)