Removing TemplateVM Packages

When removing any packages from a default TemplateVM, be sure to check what’s being removed by apt autoremove or dnf. When removing certain packages, for instance Thunderbird, apt and dnf will attempt to remove many packages required by qubes for the template to function correctly under qubes.

As an example from a terminal in a TemplateVM:

$ sudo apt remove thunderbird
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  debugedit libjs-sphinxdoc libjs-underscore librpm3 librpmbuild3 librpmio3
  librpmsign3 libsqlite0 linux-headers-4.9.0-6-amd64
  linux-headers-4.9.0-6-common linux-image-4.9.0-6-amd64 python-backports-abc
  python-cffi-backend python-concurrent.futures python-croniter
  python-cryptography python-dateutil python-enum34 python-idna
  python-iniparse python-ipaddress python-jinja2 python-libxml2 python-lzma
  python-markupsafe python-msgpack python-openssl python-pyasn1 python-pycurl
  python-requests python-rpm python-singledispatch python-six python-sqlite
  python-sqlitecachec python-tornado python-tz python-urlgrabber
  python-urllib3 python-xpyb python-yaml qubes-core-agent-dom0-updates
  qubes-core-agent-passwordless-root qubes-gpg-split qubes-img-converter
  qubes-input-proxy-sender qubes-mgmt-salt-vm-connector qubes-pdf-converter
  qubes-usb-proxy rpm rpm-common rpm2cpio salt-common salt-ssh usbutils yum
  yum-utils
Use 'sudo apt autoremove' to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  icedove lightning qubes-thunderbird qubes-vm-recommended thunderbird
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 5 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 151 MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

Note all of the qubes packages are tracked as dependencies that will no longer be required. apt remove will only remove the packages listed, which is ok. If, however you also run apt autoremove the other qubes packages necessary for TemplateVMs will be removed.

If you’d still like to remove one of these applications without breaking your TemplateVM you have a couple different options.

Removing Only Packages Not Needed for a Qubes TemplateVM

Debian

  1. In your TemplateVM terminal run: shell_session $ apt remove package-name Note the packages “no longer required”
  2. If the list of “no longer required” packages includes anything beginning with qubes- or salt- make a note to yourself to never run $ sudo apt autoremove on this TemplateVM

Recommended but optional: Use apt-mark to make apt autoremove safe again.

$ sudo apt mark-manual package-name package-name

Replace package-names with actual qubes-* and salt-* packages you’d like to retain.

For example, still in your TemplateVM terminal:

$ sudo apt-mark manual qubes-core-agent-dom0-updates qubes-core-agent-passwordless-root qubes-gpg-split qubes-img-converter qubes-input-proxy-sender qubes-mgmt-salt-vm-connector qubes-pdf-converter salt-common salt-ssh qubes-usb-proxy

$ apt autoremove should now be safe to use.

Fedora

In your TemplateVM terminal, run:

$ dnf remove --noautoremove package-name

Recovering A TemplateVM which you’ve already removed needed qubes-* packages

If you’ve already removed packages, run apt autoremove and restarted your VM you’ve lost passwordless sudo access. You can login as root, open a terminal in dom0 and run:

$ qvm-run -u root vmname xterm

This will open an xterm terminal in the TemplateVM named vmname

Once you’re logged in as root, reinstall these packages & their dependencies:

Debian

$ sudo apt install qubes-core-agent-dom0-updates qubes-core-agent-passwordless-root qubes-gpg-split qubes-img-converter qubes-input-proxy-sender qubes-mgmt-salt-vm-connector qubes-pdf-converter salt-common salt-ssh

Fedora

Similar to Debian for example (package names may vary):

$ sudo dnf install qubes-core-agent-dom0-updates qubes-core-agent-passwordless-root qubes-gpg-split qubes-img-converter qubes-input-proxy-sender qubes-mgmt-salt-vm-connector qubes-pdf-converter salt-common salt-ssh