Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

Tutorial: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

I have a Homebrew formula that I wish to uninstall/remove along with all its dependencies, skipping packages whom other packages depend upon (a.k.a. Cascading package removal in Package manager parlance).

e.g. Uninstall package a which depends on packages b & c, where package d also depends on the package c. The result should uninstall both a & b, skipping c.

How can I do that?

There must be a way to uninstall a package without leaving unnecessary junk behind.

Solutions Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

Solution 1: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

EDIT:

It looks like the issue is now solved using an external command called brew rmdeps or brew rmtree.

To install and use, issue the following commands:

$ brew tap beeftornado/rmtree
$ brew rmtree <package>

See the above link for more information and discussion.


[EDIT] see the new command brew autoremove in https://stackoverflow.com/a/66719581/160968


Original answer:

It appears that currently, there’s no easy way to accomplish this.

However, I filed an issue on Homebrew’s GitHub page, and somebody suggested a temporary solution until they add an exclusive command to solve this.

There’s an external command called brew leaves which prints all packages that are not dependencies of other packages.

If you do a logical and on the output of brew leaves and brew deps <package>, you might just get a list of the orphaned dependency packages, which you can uninstall manually afterwards. Combine this with xargs and you’ll get what you need, I guess (untested, don’t count on this).


EDIT: Somebody just suggested a very similar solution, using join instead of xargs:

brew rm FORMULA
brew rm $(join <(brew leaves) <(brew deps FORMULA))

See the comment on the issue mentioned above for more info.

Solution 2: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

By the end of 2020, the Homebrew team added a simple command brew autoremove to remove all unused dependencies.

First, uninstall the package:

brew uninstall <package>

Then, remove all the unused dependencies:

brew autoremove

Solution 3: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

brew rmtree doesn’t work at all. From the links on that issue I found rmrec which actually does work. God knows why brew doesn’t have this as a native command.

brew tap ggpeti/rmrec
brew rmrec pkgname

Solution 4: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

Based on @jfmercer answer (corrections needed more than a comment).

Remove package’s dependencies (does not remove package):

brew deps [FORMULA] | xargs brew remove --ignore-dependencies

Remove package:

brew remove [FORMULA]

Reinstall missing libraries:

brew missing | cut -d: -f2 | sort | uniq | xargs brew install

Tested uninstalling meld after discovering MeldMerge releases.

Solution 5: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

Using this answer requires that you create and maintain a file that contains the package names you want installed on your system. If you don’t have one already, use the following command and delete the package names what you don’t want to keep installed.

brew leaves > brew_packages

Then you can remove all installed, but unwanted packages and any unnecessary dependencies by running the following command

brew_clean brew_packages

brew_clean is available here: https://gist.github.com/cskeeters/10ff1295bca93808213d

This script gets all of the packages you specified in brew_packages and all of their dependancies and compares them against the output  brew list and finally removes the unwanted packages after verifying this list with the user.

At this point, if you want to remove a package, you simply remove it from the brew_packages file and then re-run brew_clean brew_packages. It will remove, but not c.

Solution 6: Uninstall/remove a Homebrew package including all its dependencies

Save the following script as brew-purge

#!/bin/bash
#:Usage: brew purge formula
#: 
#:Removes the package and all dependancies.
#: 
#: 
PKG="$1"
if [ -z "$PKG" ];then
   brew purge --help
   exit 1
fi
brew rm $PKG
[ $? -ne 0 ] && exit 1
while brew rm $(join <(brew leaves) <(brew deps $PKG)) 2>/dev/null
  do :
done
echo Package $PKG and its dependancies have been removed.
exit 0

Now install it with the following command

sudo install brew-purge /usr/local/bin

Now run it

brew purge package

Example using gpg

$ brew purge gpg
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/gnupg/2.2.13... (134 files, 11.0MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/adns/1.5.1... (14 files, 597.5KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/gnutls/3.6.6... (1,200 files, 8.9MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libgcrypt/1.8.4... (21 files, 2.6MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libksba/1.3.5... (14 files, 344.2KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libusb/1.0.22... (29 files, 508KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/npth/1.6... (11 files, 71.7KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/pinentry/1.1.0_1... (12 files, 263.9KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libassuan/2.5.3... (16 files, 444.2KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libtasn1/4.13... (59 files, 436KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libunistring/0.9.10... (54 files, 4.4MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/nettle/3.4.1... (85 files, 2MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/p11-kit/0.23.15... (63 files, 2.9MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/gmp/6.1.2_2... (18 files, 3.1MB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libffi/3.2.1... (16 files, 296.8KB)
Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/libgpg-error/1.35... (27 files, 854.8KB)
Package gpg and its dependancies have been removed.
$ 

Conclusion

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