Ubuntu – Remove documentation to save hard drive space


I like to create a rather small Ubuntu installation in a Virtual Box machine. It should basically just provide TeX Live and related tools. I figured now that I have almost 1GB of data under /usr/share/doc. I don't need this documentation in this case, just the LaTeX related man pages, which are not located there.

Is there a way to uninstall all these documentation files using apt-get?
Alternatively, is it reasonably save to just delete the content of /usr/share/doc?
I like to share the Virtual Box machine with others, which shouldn't run in trouble.

Best Answer

According to the Ubuntu wiki, you can instruct dpkg not to install any documentation. This should prevent any documentation (except copyright info) from being installed by apt.

Create a file /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/01_nodoc which specifies the desired filters. Example:

path-exclude /usr/share/doc/*
# we need to keep copyright files for legal reasons
path-include /usr/share/doc/*/copyright
# if you also want to remove the man pages uncomment the next line
#path-exclude /usr/share/man/*
path-exclude /usr/share/groff/*
path-exclude /usr/share/info/*
# lintian stuff is small, but really unnecessary
path-exclude /usr/share/lintian/*
path-exclude /usr/share/linda/*

Then you can manually remove any documentation already installed:

find /usr/share/doc -depth -type f ! -name copyright|xargs rm || true
find /usr/share/doc -empty|xargs rmdir || true
rm -rf /usr/share/groff/* /usr/share/info/*
rm -rf /usr/share/lintian/* /usr/share/linda/* /var/cache/man/*

If you also want to remove the man pages do:

rm -rf /usr/share/man/*

The example is written for OEMs, but it worked just as well for me. Took my /usr/share/doc/ directory down from ~150MB to ~20MB.

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