[Wolves] Forcefully removing a package on Debian

Stuart Langridge sil at kryogenix.org
Thu Feb 17 04:37:02 GMT 2005

trig wrote:
> Hallo,
> I need to remove 'sendmail' from Debian woody, to replace with another
> MTA, but apt reports it has dependencies and fails.. I remember Aq, I
> think listing how to get round this..

Just install another MTA. The issue here is that the "sendmail" package 
provides the virtual package "mail-transport-agent", and lots of stuff 
depends on that. If you install something *else* that also provides 
"mail-transport-agent" then you'll be able to remove sendmail; I'd 
recommend exim or postfix, but that's your choice.

Anything that specifically depends on sendmail rather than 
mail-transport-agent is in one of two camps:
1. It actually specifically requires sendmail. This means that if you 
want to use it, you have to use sendmail. Not a lot you can do about that.
2. It only requires "an MTA" but depends on sendmail anyway. This is a 
serious bug, and unlikely to happen in Debian (where, if anything, 
packages will erroneously depend on the Debian default MTA, exim), but 
it's possible.

As David says, if you want to use *no* Debian-packaged MTA at 
all...you'll have more of a problem. Lots of Debian stuff depends on 
there being *an* MTA installed, and if you stick your own one in 
/usr/local then the packaging system won't know about it. You have, at 
that juncture, four choices:
1. Find a Debian package for the thing you want to install. If there is 
one somewhere (try apt-get.org for non-Debian-Project repositories) then 
you'll almost certainly find it easier to use it than to compile a 
package from scratch.
2. Build your own Debian package of this unpackaged thing. This is for 
hardcore people only, unless you know what you're doing.
3. Leave sendmail/exim/postfix installed from the Debian package but 
tell it to listen on port 33869 or something and turn off all the 
functionality, and run your one on port 25 as normal. This will work but 
is, ahem, rather contrary to the spirit of the law :)
4. Use "equivs" to build a fake package which provides 
mail-transport-agent but doesn't actually *do* anything, and install that.



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