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BleachBit: Does GNU/Linux need the equivalent of a Windows registry cleaner?

BleachBit: Does GNU/Linux need the equivalent of a Windows registry cleaner?

Posted Jan 8, 2009 6:45 UTC (Thu) by pascal.martin (guest, #2995)
Parent article: BleachBit: Does GNU/Linux need the equivalent of a Windows registry cleaner?

I may have a biased view above package removal, but I do not see why and how removing a package should remove user's data.

Why: user's data is user's personal property. As the "personal" indicates, it includes user's own data. What rights has the package manager to remove that data? This may happen while a user is logged on. How happy would you be to see files disappear suddenly under you?

How: a package is installed system-wide. A user data is per user. The package is removed by root, or one specific user if capabilities are used. What to do with other users data? Should the package manager start scanning all user's home directories and cleanup files under them? Is it wise to let the administrator or a simple user decide when it is appropriate to delete others users' files?

All considered, a cleaner application sounds not so bad. At least each user decides for himself if and when to delete things.

A note about the source of my bias: I have been hit a few times on Windows by applications, like drawing or document tools, that by default store the user's file into their own folder, something like c:\Program Files\XYZeditor\Documents. When you remove the software, the folder is gone, and so is your labor of love. Sad. Professionally, I work on train control systems that create historical records. We take _great_ pain of organizing our software so that we _do not_ remove any user data if our software is removed or upgraded. This data is important to the users, since it records their past operation events, which events have occurred (and these records may have legal significance) no matter if our software is removed or not.


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BleachBit: Does GNU/Linux need the equivalent of a Windows registry cleaner?

Posted Jan 8, 2009 6:58 UTC (Thu) by eru (subscriber, #2753) [Link]

Clearly, a deinstallation operation should never remove actual user-created documents or customizations, but it should remove temporary files and all cached data that can be automatically regenerated, if the user chooses to start using the program again.

BleachBit: Does GNU/Linux need the equivalent of a Windows registry cleaner?

Posted Jan 10, 2009 14:40 UTC (Sat) by pascal.martin (guest, #2995) [Link]

The problem I see is with the use of the word "clearly".

For example, some email readers organize the emails in a specific way (directory tree, database, etc...). You can argue that the format of the data being specific to the application, there is no point in keeping the files if the application is removed. On the other side, removing these files erases a long email history that could not be reconstructed.

Of course, configuration parameters specific to the application are good candidate for automatic removal. But these are usually small: not removing is no issue. If these are not small, then they do contain some valuable data. I would want a package removal process to fall on the safe side and not remove them.

Then there is the case of the nazi sysadmin (I met some) who decides that a specific application is useless crap and removes it; some users rebel and demand a reinstall. If that has never happened to you, you probably have never worked in a small high-tech company (in large corporations, to rebel is usually pointless). In other words, the user may not be aware the sysadmin decided to remove the package and might object to its removal.

At the end of the day, the only clear rule that works is: what is owned by the user is his and shall not be removed by third parties, no matter how well intentioned. A sysadmin who removes files owned by me is going to hear about it...

BTW, debian dpkg does not remove configuration files by default (it has an option for that) and that only covers system configuration, not users.


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