I downloaded a Debian wheezy netinstall iso file, and just made a very minimal installation with no Display manager or desktop environment.

I was using the terminal for testing purpose. I later installed cinnamon from Linux Mint backport repos. It worked fine.

Then, to have a display manager, I choose to install lightdm. I used the command

sudo apt-get install lightdm

The installation was successful, but when I restarted, Gnome 3 was also installed. How do I remove gnome3 and all its dependencies without affecting the system ?

6 Answers 6

sudo apt autoremove gnome-session gnome gnome-shell

That's work for me.

  • tested on jessie and works.
    – SuB
    Nov 6, 2019 at 9:46

to remove a package use

apt-get remove gnome-session

Then apt-get can remove dependency that have been automatically installed and are not needed anymore with the autoremove command:

apt-get autoremove
  • That killed my system. Kept trying to start up in an endless loop.
    – simbabque
    Jul 2, 2018 at 10:06

The following should help you.

aptitude purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep gnome | cut -f 1`
aptitude -f install
aptitude purge `dpkg --get-selections | grep deinstall | cut -f 1`
aptitude -f install

Be aware that this can leave you with a broken system. Use caution.

Directly from Debian's Wiki.

  • The link provided only talks about Xfce
    – Pound Hash
    Dec 19, 2021 at 0:32

Just run:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell

in terminal.


You can't. As far as I can tell.

Your best bet is to re-install without the desktop environment, and then either select the one you want or none.

debian organizes the bigger groups of package selections as "tasks". You can see them easily with aptitude or synaptic.

the ones you want are:

  • task-desktop
  • task-gnome-desktop

if you still haven't installed anything that depends on a gnome lib, you can try just removing task-gnome-desktop (or also removing task-desktop if you don't want anything from Xorg/11). On most real world systems, that will remove nothing if you uninstall. So your goal should be not have them selected at install time.


Clean all gnome3 with this command (copy & paste):

apt-get remove alacarte baobab caribou caribou-antler cheese cheese-common empathy empathy-common eog eog-dbg eog-dev eog-plugins evince evince-common evince-dbg evolution evolution-common evolution-data-server evolution-data-server-common evolution-webcal file-roller gcalctool gconf-editor gdm3 gedit gedit-common gedit-plugins gkbd-capplet gnome gnome-accessibility-themes gnome-applets gnome-applets-data gnome-backgrounds gnome-bluetooth gnome-color-manager gnome-common gnome-contacts gnome-control-center gnome-control-center-data gnome-core gnome-desktop3-data gnome-dictionary gnome-disk-utility gnome-documents gnome-font-viewer gnome-icon-theme gnome-icon-theme-extras gnome-icon-theme-symbolic gnome-js-common gnome-mag gnome-media gnome-menus gnome-mime-data gnome-nettool gnome-online-accounts gnome-orca gnome-packagekit gnome-packagekit-data gnome-panel gnome-panel-data gnome-power-manager gnome-screensaver gnome-session gnome-session-bin gnome-session-common gnome-session-fallback gnome-settings-daemon gnome-shell gnome-shell-common gnome-shell-extensions gnome-menus gnome-system-log gnome-system-monitor gnome-terminal gnome-terminal-data gnome-themes-standard gnome-themes-standard-data gnome-tweak-tool gnome-user-guide gnome-user-share gnome-video-effects gucharmap hamster-applet libreoffice-evolution libreoffice-gnome libreoffice-gtk mousetweaks metacity metacity-common metacity-themes nautilus nautilus-data nautilus-open-terminal nautilus-sendto-empathy notification-daemon python-gnome2 python-gnomedesktop python-nautilus rhythmbox rhythmbox-data rygel sound-juicer task-gnome-desktop tomboy totem totem-common vinagre vino yelp yelp-xsl zenity zenity-common

  • 2
    Have you tried to determine what all of these packages depend on, and then remove that? Aug 9, 2013 at 10:49
  • 1
    Normaly, this is done by apt-get. Running apt-get autoremove will remove uneeded dependency.
    – Rémi
    Nov 1, 2013 at 12:08

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