How many packages is to much, before its bloat?

I’m curious what everyone would consider to many packages? On this Arch/Cinnamon install i have 629packages, on my other pc which has EndeavourOS it has 808. I’m curious what everyone would consider to many packages or bloat? :grin:

I freely admit to a tendency to bloat - usually because of testing things out for others :grin: At least, that’s my excuse… I don’t really need three browsers!

Apart from that, partiality to particular items can lead there too - I shudder to think what all kolourpaint pulled in that isn’t otherwise used…

Between all that, and a habit of keeping things around ‘in case’ I’m happy that this isn’t worse:

┌21:09:53 WD= [~]
└───freebird@aerie ─▶$ yay -Q | wc -l

Edit: forgot to mention gnome-bloat too - I have gedit and gnome-terminal (unused now) both on hand, along with what they drag in… I really have to clean it up a bit!

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Anything more than 810 packages is bloat! :wink:

Just kidding. :smile:
The question really is: what are you doing with your machine.
Currently I have 1040 packages installed on this machine. But of course I have other operating systems as well on this, so the total number of installed packages is way more than 1040…

And disk space is relatively cheap these days, so I’m not very worried about how many packages to install. I’d define “bloat” as “useless” packages either for me or “in general” (whatever its definition might be). But what is useless is in fact quite tricky to find out, so the definition of “useless” comes to something like “does it prevent me from doing something”. If it does, then I most likely uninstall it.
Note that many of the small utilities are used by other apps, so uninstalling without thorough analysis can easily invalidate other apps.


Also there could be 2-3 packages which pull 50 dependencies each with them if they need whole stacks to be deployed as prerequisites. That would quickly increase the package count.


It does (see previous post!)

For me bloat is things that I don’t need and don’t use, those I usually try to remove from the system (if they were explicitly installed). Other than that the amount of packages is not so important (even though the less the better imo, as it reduces the complexity) and depends on the distro and usage.

I have 4 terminals installed :sweat_smile: Just don’t have the heart to remove any of them…

edit: actually it’s 5 terminals



But seriously, the number of packages makes no difference at all. Things can be packages differently. For example, some DEs are a ton of individual little packages and others are a handful of larger more comprehensive packages. The one with less packages isn’t always smaller than the one with more packages.

To me bloat is an excessive number of things being installed that you don’t need or want. The chance I any distro with a full DE and applications package having no software you don’t want is relatively low. I don’t consider the fact that you have to remove a few packages, “bloat”. However, when your install results in lots of extra stuff and/or adware/crapware/spyware that is what I would consider bloat.

For example, I spend a fair amount of timing testing Linux distros and I keep up-to-date on about 50 different distros. I was recently doing an install for a distro and when I told it to install the desktop, it installed 2190 packages totaling 4.3GB. To me, that is excessive and I would call it bloat. However, someone else might pick it up and say “Why is there so little software pre-installed here?” It is all a matter of perspective.


For me bloat is hard to define but software that is pre-installed and not part of a base package and cannot be unchecked in the installer is one thing. Especially when there are more than one application for the same purpose or clearly just there to cover all the bases.

It also depends on the distro. I expect an Arch based distro to be lean, while Ubuntu should have a full everything pre installed.

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I must be quite ignorant but I do not know how to determine the number of programs (packages) I have installed on my computer.

Will someone please tell me the command used to determine that number? Thank you.

In any case, I have only installed programs that I actually use. Thus, regardless of the number, I do not regard my computer to be “bloated.”


You can just use neofetch (it is pre-installed on EOS I believe) :slight_smile:

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Here are a a few ways:

pacman -Q | wc -l
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Thank you for responding to me.

neofetch wasn’t installed on my particular computer (perhaps because I have deleted the eos program) but I just installed it. It shows the number of programs I have installed through pacman (1444) but it does not show the number of programs installed through the AUR (of which I have quite a few).

Is there a command that will show the number of AUR programs installed as well as those installed via pacman?


It should count them all as far as I know. Try pacman -Q as @dalto suggested and check whether the programs you’ve installed are listed.

pacman -Q | wc -l

All of those commands show the same number: 1444. I do not know if this is the total number of programs I have installed or just the ones installed through pacman.

But I’ll tell you that I really don’t care all that much: I have my computer set up just the way I like it, with programs installed through the regular repositories as well as those installed from the AUR. I do not regard it as being bloated.

I was just curious. Thanks for the responses.


Just pacman -Q will show you the list of the currently installed packages, wc -l counts the lines, you can omit it and check :slight_smile:

It’s not only the packages you’ve installed though, but the total amount. To check only those explicitly installed you can use something like

expac -Q -d "\n" '%n: %w' | grep explicit | cut -d ":" -f1

if you have expac

I’m currently testing the heads-0.4-amd64-live.iso distro in VB with OpenBox and Awesom. You’ve tried ? And if so, what did you think, although it has not been maintained since 2017?

Wouldn’t it be easier to use pacman -Qe


Em. Yes, it would :smile:


I haven’t, let me take a look.

I have xfce4-terminal (because of Xfce DE), terminator (the main terminal because of versatility), qterminal (fast), and gnome-terminal (works with some special apps).
So I can understand you about many terminals… :wink:

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