Many major Linux distribution might already package rmlint – but watch out for the version. This manual describes the rewrite of rmlint (i.e. version \(\geq 2\)). Old versions before this might contain bugs, have design flaws or might eat your hamster. We recommend using the newest version.

If there is no package yet or you want to try a development version, you gonna need to compile rmlint from source.


Hard dependencies:

  • glib \(\geq 2.32\) (general C Utility Library)

Soft dependencies:

  • libblkid (detecting mountpoints)
  • libelf (nonstripped binary detection)
  • libjson-glib (parsing rmlint’s own json as caching layer)

Build dependencies:

  • git (version control)
  • scons (build system)
  • sphinx (manpage/documentation generation)
  • gettext (support for localization)

Here’s a list of readily prepared commands for known operating systems:

  • Fedora \(\geq 21\):

    $ yum -y install git scons python3-sphinx gettext json-glib-devel
    $ yum -y install glib2-devel libblkid-devel elfutils-libelf-devel
    # Optional dependencies for the GUI:
    $ yum -y install pygobject3 gtk3 librsvg2

    There are also pre-built packages on Fedora Copr:

    $ dnf copr enable sahib/rmlint
    $ dnf install rmlint

    Those packages are built from master snapshots and might be outdated.

  • ArchLinux:

    There is an official package in [community] here:

    $ pacman -S rmlint

    Alternatively you can use rmlint-git in the AUR:

    $ pacman -S git scons python-sphinx
    $ pacman -S glib2 libutil-linux elfutils json-glib
    # Optional dependencies for the GUI:
    $ pacman -S gtk3 python-gobject librsvg

    There is also a PKGBUILD on the ArchLinux AUR:

    $ # Use your favourite AUR Helper.
    $ yaourt -S rmlint-git

    It is built from git master, not from the develop branch.

  • Ubuntu \(\geq 12.04\):

    This most likely applies to most distributions that are derived from Ubuntu. Note that the GUI depends on GTK+ >= 3.12! Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and earlier still ships with 3.10.

    $ apt-get install git scons python3-sphinx python3-nose gettext build-essential
    # Optional dependencies for more features:
    $ apt-get install libelf-dev libglib2.0-dev libblkid-dev libjson-glib-1.0 libjson-glib-dev
    # Optional dependencies for the GUI:
    $ apt-get install python3-gi gir1.2-rsvg gir1.2-gtk-3.0 python-cairo gir1.2-polkit-1.0 gir1.2-gtksource-3.0
  • macOS

    rmlint can be installed via homebrew:

    Prerequisite: If homebrew has not already been installed on the system, execute:

    $ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL".

    With homebrew installed, execute:

    $ brew install rmlint

    See also this issue for more information on the homebrew formula.

  • FreeBSD \(\geq 10.1\):

    $ pkg install git scons py27-sphinx pkgconf
    $ pkg install glib gettext libelf json-glib

Send us a note if you want to see your distribution here or the instructions need an update. The commands above install the full dependencies, therefore some packages might be stripped if you do not need the feature they enable. Only hard requirement for the commandline is glib.

Also be aware that the GUI needs at least \(gtk \geq 3.12\) to work!


Compilation consists of getting the source and translating it into a usable binary. We use the build system scons. Note that the following instructions build the software from the potentially unstable develop branch:

$ # Omit -b develop if you want to build from the stable master
$ git clone -b develop
$ cd rmlint/
$ scons config       # Look what features scons would compile
$ scons DEBUG=1      # Optional, build locally.
# Install (and build if necessary). For releases you can omit DEBUG=1
$ sudo scons DEBUG=1 --prefix=/usr install


You should be now able to see the manpage with rmlint --help or man 1 rmlint.

Uninstall with sudo scons uninstall and clean with scons -c.

You can also only type the install command above. The buildsystem is clever enough to figure out which targets need to be built beforehand.


On some distributions (especially Debian derived) rmlint --gui might fail with /usr/bin/python3: No module named shredder (or similar). This is due some incompatible changes on Debian’s side.

See this thread for a workaround using PYTHONPATH.