Purge packages using dpkg

dpkg can be used to

  1. install packages
  2. remove packages
  3. know the current status of packages

When we decide to remove a package, we must be clear that we want to remove or purge a package. When we purge packages using dpkg, it removes not only the binaries but also the configuration files and the state of a package will be pn.

Let’s remove a package called vim (assuming it is present in your system)

$ sudo dpkg --purge vim
(Reading database ... 239395 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing vim ...
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/vim.tiny to provide /usr/bin/vi (vi) in auto mode.
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/vim.tiny to provide /usr/bin/view (view) in auto mode.
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/vim.tiny to provide /usr/bin/ex (ex) in auto mode.
update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/vim.tiny to provide /usr/bin/rview (rview) in auto mode.

Let’s see the status of the package

dpkg --list vim
Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold
| Status=Not/Inst/Cfg-files/Unpacked/Failed-cfg/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                                 Version                              Description
+++-====================================-====================================-========================================================================================
un  vim                                  <none>                               (no description available)

The state is un, because there were no configuration files corresponding to vim and the package is now completely uninstalled. Read more about package states.

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