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How to uninstall Linux apps from Chromebook

Linux on Chrome OS has come a long way since we first discovered the project that would bring containers to the Chromebook almost four years ago. In that time, Google has brought a stable method of delivering a plethora of Linux applications to the Chrome operating system without the need for hacky solutions that compromise the integrity and security of the platform. Crostini, also called Linux apps on Chrome OS, is not perfect, and some pieces are still missing to make the experience 100% viable, but there is no doubt that it has added to the overall value of the Chrome OS ecosystem. I personally believe that the Chrome OS team has stumbled upon what may be the future of computing that can utilize containers and Plugin VMs to give users access to all the software they need through the portal which is Chrome OS.

All aside, we started the Command Line series to help you get the most out of Linux on your Chromebook. While we have covered various methods by which you can install Linux applications, today we will look at how to remove a Linux package. How to uninstall a Linux app may vary depending on the specific application. Fortunately, many of the packages you install on your Chromebook will place a desktop icon in your Linux folder, which you will find in your app launcher. The fastest way to remove one of these programs is to simply right-click on the icon and select “Uninstall”. Linux will now run the uninstall process in the background, and it is not necessary to even open the terminal.


If you have installed a Linux program that did not automatically add a desktop icon, we can quickly remove that package from the command line. This method is quite simple, and there are some specific adjustments you can use to ensure that the process does not leave any unwanted files or data on your drive. For this example we will use the popular image editor GIMP. This package is available in the Debian 10 repository and can be installed using the following command.

sudo apt install gimp

Once installed, you should see the GIMP desktop icon in the Linux apps folder via the Chrome OS app launcher. Let’s say you wanted to uninstall this package from the terminal, but you are not 100 percent sure of the exact name of the package. No worries. First we will look at how to identify the application you want to remove, and then the different methods you can remove it. To find a list of all packages installed in the Linux container, run the following command in the Linux terminal.


dpkg --list

This will list all your installed packages, and printing will stop at the end of the first line of visible commands. If you press Enter, you can move down the list one by one, or you can use the space bar and move one page at a time. Move down the page until you find the package you want to remove, and confirm the name of the package. In our example, the package is quite simple gimp. Now that you have the exact package name, press Ctrl + C to return to the command prompt. Now we can begin the removal process of the package. To remove the package and any configuration files that came with it, use clean and remove commands. Type the following command in your terminal and press enter. When prompted, press Enter or press “Y” and press Enter. I have found that the terminal will sometimes interrupt the process if “Y” is not used. If that happens, just try again with the capital letters “Y”.

sudo apt-get --purge remove gimp

If you are planning to reinstall the package and want to keep the configuration files, just leave it out clean command and run sudo apt-get remove gimp. Depending on the package you remove, other files may be installed that were dependent and may no longer be needed. Some examples are things like font files used by GIMP. Linux can automatically remove these files if they are no longer needed by other packages. To remove any dependencies, run the following command in the terminal.

sudo apt-get autoremove

You can actually perform all these functions at once if you want to remove the package, configuration files and dependencies at the same time. To do this, we will combine commands for cleaning and automatic removal with the package name. For gimp, this command will look like this:


sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove gimp

Last but not least, we want to remove the package file used to install GIMP or other applications. These are stored in an archive file and are no longer needed when a package has been installed and / or removed. Remember that you will have to download these files again if you decide to install GIMP or another package, but it is as simple as 1-2-3. To remove the archived files, use pure command in the terminal thusly. You do not see any output with this command.

sudo apt-get clean

I hope this helps you strengthen your confidence in using Linux on your Chromebook. There are many great tools to be found in Debian, and the container technology that Chrome OS uses to deliver Linux applications continues to evolve every day. As Google finds more and more uses for this delivery method, the Chromebook is fast becoming the Swiss army knife for computing, and we & # 39; re excited to see what’s next. Stay tuned for the next command line article and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you do not miss the latest from the Chrome OS world.

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