Debian/Ubuntu set apt defaults for no recommends or suggests
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Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4060
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Depending on the default configurations, Debian has some really bad settings for apt, the worst of all is the installation of suggests or recommends by default.

To fix this, create a file, I call this one: /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/80basics

Note that on this system, it's a Buster (testing) base, with sid (unstable) sources added so I can install stuff not in testing repos.

:: Code ::
// apt 0.7 introduces automatic behaviour unsuitable for sid, revert this
APT::Default-Release "buster";

// auto-remove breaks on meta packages
APT::Get::AutomaticRemove "0";
APT::Get::HideAutoRemove "1";

// Recommends are as of now still abused in many packages
APT::Install-Recommends "0";
APT::Install-Suggests "0";
APT::AutoRemove::SuggestsImportant "false";
APT::AutoRemove::RecommendsImportant "false";
Debug::pkgAutoRemove "0";

// PDiffs reduce the required download for apt-get update, but increase the
// CPU requirements and quite often fail.
Acquire::PDiffs "0";

Next, and this only applies if you want to pin the distro base to a specific version (does not apply if you only use one type of the distro, like testing, or sid, or stable. Note that by default, apt will use the highest level, unless you pin the distro:

File: /etc/apt/preferences.d/90basics
:: Code ::
preferences.d/90basics:1:Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 300

Package: *
Pin: release a=experimental
Pin-Priority: 50

The pin priority determines what apt will use when deciding between, in this case, sid and testing. I don't actually use experimental in general, but I put that in there just in case I needed something from it at some point. I don't believe numbers > 1000 have any meaning or point.
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