At-spi2 and package bloat


It is frustrating to me that this accessibility stuff (along with lots of other bloatware) is required to use MATE. I am not in need of a screen-reader, so why must I install and run accessibility software to begin with?

When I look into the conf file on a fresh 19.04 install in: /usr/share/defaults/at-spi2/accessibility.conf I see lines like:

<policy context="default">
  <allow user="root">
 <allow send_destination="*" eavesdrop="true"/>
<allow eavesdrop="true">
<allow own="*"/>

Not sure what all that is telling me, but it sounds totally legit... what could possibly go wrong? Well, they do call it "SPI", so I guess they got the name right.

Does anyone know a good way in a post systemd world to stop this nonsense from running? Ideally, the file manager and the desktop environment should not be package dependent on what should be an optional piece of accessibility software. I could say the same for lib-goa* (I don't need or want a GNOME account anymore than I want a Facebook or a google account or an STI, so why do I need this gnome account library installed AT ALL?) and that geo-location spyware stuff that calls home every two seconds? Why is that installed by default, AT ALL? I was at least able to remove it with a minimum of fuss (and watch the network traffic plummet).

And why on earth does the systemd default setting call out over the network EVERY 32 SECONDS to set the current time? Yeah, I fixed it-- but it should have had a sane default to begin with.


So I tried removing it by editing the desktop file, copying it to ~/.config/autostart, and even removing the /etc/xdg/autostart/ desktop file entirely. No love. Still starts.

Then I tried this (removing execute permission):

(attempting to insert the link directly results in this software taking you to a different page entirely, about bluetooth... so you will just have to copy paste it).

No love, the system becomes unresponsive while systemd keeps trying to start this thing that won't start up. Spams the log file too.

There was a variable at one time that paid lip service to shutting this thing down: NO_AT_BRIDGE=1.
Yeah... nada. Still starts.

I have grepped for the executable name across the entire disk and moved every instance of anything that appears to call this. It still starts it, or tries to. Removing the package, removes lots of other things that should not depend on it in the first place... sigh.

Next I go through every file in the spi2 package to see if I can figure out how to stop systemd from ever trying to start this.

Far more effort than should be required to remove something unneeded and unwanted by 80% + of the userbase.


So, the process is started before you login (by the greeter as well). Placing:

export NO_AT_BRIDGE=1

in /etc/environment seems to tame the beast and get it to not start up.


There is an important distinction to make. Ubuntu will include things that Canonical developers think should be included.

The desktop environment MATE on the other hand is developed by MATE developers and is much cleaner. AFAIK the desktop MATE has none of the dependencies you mention and can be installed on most distros.

I have MATE on MX Linux that boots with sysvinit and the closest thing to MATE dependency bloat I have come is a dependency on a samba package.

It's nice because it reminds me of the good old Ubuntu days "Linux for human beings" and all that. It reminds me of why I use Linux instead of Windows. I control what software is installed and which processes are running.