Whenever I install a program via MacPorts, it gets and installs lots of dependencies. When I uninstall said program, how do I make MacPorts recursively remove all unused dependencies with it?
To avoid accidentally cutting leaves that might be things you requested you should install the
port_cutleaves package then run
MacPorts 1.9.0 added the
portdbformat and MacPorts 2.0.0 dropped the old
flat format. The
sqlite port DB format is the default for new installations; old installations that were upgraded to 1.9.x will continue to use the
flat format1. You can convert a 1.9.x
flat system to the
sqlite format by upgrading to MacPorts 2.0 or by changing the
portdbformat value in
/opt/local/etc/macports/macports.conf and then issuing a port command as root (e.g.
sudo port installed).
One of the features of the new format is that it keeps track of “requested” versus “unrequested” port installations. An unrequested port is one that was only installed because some other port depends on it. The
leaves pseudo-portname expands to all the unrequested ports upon which no other installed port depends. You can use this to “clean up” unneeded ports even if you did not originally uninstall them with
sudo port uninstall --follow-dependencies portname (which will do what you want, but only if you remember to use it every time you uninstall something).
You should examine your existing leaves before uninstalling any of them.
port echo leaves
Some common leaves (
pkgconfig) are build-time dependencies of common ports, so you may want to “request” them (
sudo port setrequested port1 port2 port3 …) to avoid uninstalling them just to have to reinstall them later.
You can uninstall any remaining leaves quite easily:
sudo port uninstall leaves
Note: Before pruning your leaves, you may also want to uninstall old versions of ports that are no longer “active”. This may reveal a few more leaves (i.e. ports that are dependencies of ports that are installed, but inactive):
sudo port uninstall inactive
The uninstall action will uninstall an installed port.
%% sudo port uninstall vile Note
To also recursively uninstall the ports that the given port depends on, use the
‑‑follow‑dependenciesflag. This will not uninstall dependencies that are marked as requested or that have other dependents.
To recursively uninstall all ports that depend on the given port before uninstalling the port itself, use the
If a port is a dependency of another installed port, uninstall will not remove it unless you remove the dependent port(s) first. To override this behavior, use the -f (force) switch. This will obviously break the dependents. Don't force uninstall ports unless you know what you are doing.
%% sudo port -f uninstall vile
Note the major caveat in the last paragraph. Dependencies are exactly that—dependencies—and different apps can (will) require the same dependencies.
The command to remove a port and its dependents is:
sudo port uninstall --follow-dependents foo
However, if the port you are uninstalling has dependents it will not uninstall without the
-f (force) flag.
There's also a script in MacPorts' contrib directory called port_cutleaves you can run to remove unneeded dependencies: http://trac.macports.org/browser/contrib/. It'll ask you for each to-be-uninstalled port and allows keeping some, should you want to.
This script is available as a port itself.
sudo port install port_cutleaves to install and then
sudo port_cutleaves to run.
I have written some scripts to automate port cleanup: https://github.com/vasi/macports-tools
The 'macportsfoster' script will output a list of all ports not required by anything in the requested-list, ordered such that 'port deactivate $(macportsfoster)' will remove all of them in one shot.
I think the other answers, and the
--follow-dependents flag, do not do what you want. If you install
B, then thanks to the wonderful package management systems,
B will be installed for you. You can uninstall
B and the
--follow-dependents flag will be aware of and remove
A. But what if you uninstall
A, which is more likely, because
A is what you manually installed in the first place? In this case,
B is left behind.
If you use fink, the debfoster package is designed to clean out your system and remove unused dependencies.
Debfoster will help you get rid of packages (libraries for example) get left behind on your system when the program that required it was removed or upgraded to a version that doesn't have the dependency.
debfoster will not work for MacPorts, there appears to be ports of
debfoster, for example,
portsfoster, although it seems to be discontinued...
Perhaps no solution currently exists for MacPorts.