Un-GNOME-ing a FreeBSD box
brett at lariat.org
Sat Dec 11 15:41:02 PST 2004
A client of mine has a headless FreeBSD server which is intended just
to be a Web and mail server. It has no need for a GUI and it wouldn't
be a good idea to run one on it. But this week, a friend of his (who
too much and too little at the same time) told him, "I hear you have
a FreeBSD machine. Have you tried GNOME? Why don't you install it?"
And so, the client went to the /usr/ports/x11 directory on his FreeBSD
box, found a directory for GNOME, and typed "make install".
He didn't know what he was letting himself in for.
Between GNOME itself and the many ports on which it depended, there was
so much software to build that the process took overnight to finish. And
when it was done, it had consumed 25% of the space on the machine's hard
drive. The "pkg_info" utility produced a list of installed ports that was
many screens long.
And after all that, he couldn't even use GNOME, because the machine was
headless and he didn't have another machine that was running an X server
(not that it's a good idea to run a GUI desktop remotely anyway).
He went to the directory from which he thought he had installed GNOME,
and typed "make deinstall". This removed GNOME, but none of the ports
on which it depended. His hard disk was still glutted with useless junk.
So, he called me up and asked me to set things right. Trouble is, I am
not sure how to get the system to remove not only the remainder of the
GNOME desktop but all of the ports it brought in as dependencies -- while
at the same time not removing the ports upon which other packages on the
server depend. (He's running Apache with PHP and MySQL, as well as some
ISC network utilities such as ISC-dhcpd.)
What's the best way to un-GNOME his system automatically? Or would it
be simpler to tell him to save his configuration files and reinstall
the OS from scratch -- as if his hard drive had crashed?
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