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Re: apt cron autoclean not enabled by default

On Sun, Oct 08, 2017 at 03:20:04PM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
> You're all going to laugh at me now, but: some years ago I gradually
> stopped using dselect.  Multiarch was the last nail in the coffin.
> Now I discover while debugging something that each one of my machines
> has been accumulating a museum of obsolete .debs in /var/cache/apt.
> Is this supposed to be cleaned up by default by something ?

Now that you are in the habit of switching tools (SCNR), try "apt"
instead of "apt-get" which defaults to deleting .deb files after it has
used them for installation.

The NEWS entry for 1.2~exp1 gives some details on how to disable this
for apt and/or how to enable it for other libapt-based tools.

The short version is:
echo 'APT::Keep-Downloaded-Packages "false";' > /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01clean-debs

> None of my installations seem to have the necessary machinery enabled.
> This is bizarre because all the relevant moving parts (principally
> /etc/cron.daily/apt) seem fully functional when I turn them on.

The cronjob does pretty much nothing by default, you can teach it to run
autoclean or clean or some age-based mixture through (I don't use it, so
I know next to nothing about it and stay out of touching it)

Details can be found e.g. at the top of /usr/lib/apt/apt.systemd.daily
(to whom it may concern: yes, I know, the filename includes systemd.
No, the file isn't systemd specific. There is compat-machinery to call
it from cron if systemd-timers are not available)

> I realise we've been arguing for years about turning on _updates_ by
> default, but I hadn't realised that we doubted whether people would
> want to delete decades-old .deb files...

People are different, so, much like you will find people complaining
about automatic upgrades you will also find people complaining about you
having deleted files they wanted to share with other machines via
sneaker nets, needed for that downgrade to unbreak their system, want to
hold a bit longer on to the files they have paid a heavy fee/time for
while downloading via mobile/third-internet-world countries or just like
to run their private partial copy of snapshot.debian.org.

I guess we (= Debian) will invent something after automatic upgrades are
done as there is then a "need" for it (assuming those tools don't delete
already, which I am not sure), much like we will eventually figure out
how to phase out old kernels (at the moment they are stuck waiting for
an autoremove to be run, but that can't really be run without user

btw: I don't want to be sounding like "that guy", but reading the
release notes helps preventing "decades-old" as that includes the
suggestion to run 'clean' before the upgrade and Debian releases a
few times within a decade… (heck, apt hasn't reached the "decades"
milestone yet… so technically… but just a few more months).

Best regards

David Kalnischkies

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