Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cleanup apt cache

Over time, the cache of apt, the Debian package installation application, keeps growing. Every time a package is installed or updated, the original packages is stored in the cache. After a few months of updates, the cache grows quite big, because nothing is deleted from it automatically.
Keeping the original packages from all software you have installed is certainly a good idea, but the packages that are replaced by newer ones are kept as well.

The cache can be cleaned. using this command :

apt-get autoclean
This removes all unneeded (old) package files from the apt cache.

If you want to clear the cache completely, and thus removing all packages, use this command :
apt-get clean
Both commands are quite safe to use, because they only remove the downloaded packages from the apt cache. The installed files naturally remain untouched.
This way you can sometimes free a few hundred megabytes after a few months.

Ubuntu is based on the Debian packaging system, so this applies to every flavor of Ubuntu as well.