8.4. Working with Transaction History

The yum history command enables users to review information about a timeline of yum transactions, the dates and times they occurred, the number of packages affected, whether these transactions succeeded or were aborted, and if the RPM database was changed between transactions. Additionally, this command can be used to undo or redo certain transactions. All history data is stored in the history DB in the /var/lib/yum/history/ directory.

8.4.1. Listing Transactions

To display a list of the twenty most recent transactions, as root, either run yum history with no additional arguments, or type the following at a shell prompt:
yum history list
To display all transactions, add the all keyword:
yum history list all
To display only transactions in a given range, use the command in the following form:
yum history list start_id..end_id
You can also list only transactions regarding a particular package or packages. To do so, use the command with a package name or a glob expression:
yum history list glob_expression

Example 8.19. Listing the five oldest transactions

In the output of yum history list, the most recent transaction is displayed at the top of the list. To display information about the five oldest transactions stored in the history data base, type:
~]# yum history list 1..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, subscription-manager
ID     | Login user               | Date and time    | Action(s)      | Altered
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     5 | User <user>              | 2013-07-29 15:33 | Install        |    1
     4 | User <user>              | 2013-07-21 15:10 | Install        |    1
     3 | User <user>              | 2013-07-16 15:27 | I, U           |   73
     2 | System <unset>           | 2013-07-16 15:19 | Update         |    1
     1 | System <unset>           | 2013-07-16 14:38 | Install        | 1106
history list
All forms of the yum history list command produce tabular output with each row consisting of the following columns:
  • ID — an integer value that identifies a particular transaction.
  • Login user — the name of the user whose login session was used to initiate a transaction. This information is typically presented in the Full Name <username> form. For transactions that were not issued by a user (such as an automatic system update), System <unset> is used instead.
  • Date and time — the date and time when a transaction was issued.
  • Action(s) — a list of actions that were performed during a transaction as described in Table 8.1, “Possible values of the Action(s) field”.
  • Altered — the number of packages that were affected by a transaction, possibly followed by additional information as described in Table 8.2, “Possible values of the Altered field”.

Table 8.1. Possible values of the Action(s) field

Action Abbreviation Description
Downgrade D At least one package has been downgraded to an older version.
Erase E At least one package has been removed.
Install I At least one new package has been installed.
Obsoleting O At least one package has been marked as obsolete.
Reinstall R At least one package has been reinstalled.
Update U At least one package has been updated to a newer version.

Table 8.2. Possible values of the Altered field

Symbol Description
< Before the transaction finished, the rpmdb database was changed outside yum.
> After the transaction finished, the rpmdb database was changed outside yum.
* The transaction failed to finish.
# The transaction finished successfully, but yum returned a non-zero exit code.
E The transaction finished successfully, but an error or a warning was displayed.
P The transaction finished successfully, but problems already existed in the rpmdb database.
s The transaction finished successfully, but the --skip-broken command-line option was used and certain packages were skipped.
To synchronize the rpmdb or yumdb database contents for any installed package with the currently used rpmdb or yumdb database, type the following:
yum history sync
To display some overall statistics about the currently used history database use the following command:
yum history stats

Example 8.20. Example output of yum history stats

~]# yum history stats
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, subscription-manager 
File        : //var/lib/yum/history/history-2012-08-15.sqlite
Size        : 2,766,848
Transactions: 41
Begin time  : Wed Aug 15 16:18:25 2012
End time    : Wed Feb 27 14:52:30 2013
Counts      :
  NEVRAC :  2,204
  NEVRA  :  2,204
  NA     :  1,759
  NEVR   :  2,204
  rpm DB :  2,204
  yum DB :  2,204
history stats
Yum also enables you to display a summary of all past transactions. To do so, run the command in the following form as root:
yum history summary
To display only transactions in a given range, type:
yum history summary start_id..end_id
Similarly to the yum history list command, you can also display a summary of transactions regarding a certain package or packages by supplying a package name or a glob expression:
yum history summary glob_expression

Example 8.21. Summary of the five latest transactions

~]# yum history summary 1..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, subscription-manager
Login user                 | Time                | Action(s)        | Altered 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jaromir ... <jhradilek>    | Last day            | Install          |        1
Jaromir ... <jhradilek>    | Last week           | Install          |        1
Jaromir ... <jhradilek>    | Last 2 weeks        | I, U             |       73
System <unset>             | Last 2 weeks        | I, U             |     1107
history summary
All forms of the yum history summary command produce simplified tabular output similar to the output of yum history list.
As shown above, both yum history list and yum history summary are oriented towards transactions, and although they allow you to display only transactions related to a given package or packages, they lack important details, such as package versions. To list transactions from the perspective of a package, run the following command as root:
yum history package-list glob_expression

Example 8.22. Tracing the history of a package

For example, to trace the history of subscription-manager and related packages, type the following at a shell prompt:
~]# yum history package-list subscription-manager\*
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, search-disabled-repos, subscription-manager
ID     | Action(s)      | Package
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     2 | Updated        | subscription-manager-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64          EE
     2 | Update         |                      1.15.9-15.el7.x86_64          EE
     2 | Obsoleted      | subscription-manager-firstboot-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64 EE
     2 | Updated        | subscription-manager-gui-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64      EE
     2 | Update         |                          1.15.9-15.el7.x86_64      EE
     2 | Obsoleting     | subscription-manager-initial-setup-addon-1.15.9-15.el7.x86_64 EE
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-firstboot-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-gui-1.13.22-1.el7.x86_64
history package-list
In this example, three packages were installed during the initial system installation: subscription-manager, subscription-manager-firstboot, and subscription-manager-gui. In the third transaction, all these packages were updated from version 1.10.11 to version 1.10.17.

8.4.2. Examining Transactions

To display the summary of a single transaction, as root, use the yum history summary command in the following form:
yum history summary id
Here, id stands for the ID of the transaction.
To examine a particular transaction or transactions in more detail, run the following command as root:
yum history info id
The id argument is optional and when you omit it, yum automatically uses the last transaction. Note that when specifying more than one transaction, you can also use a range:
yum history info start_id..end_id

Example 8.23. Example output of yum history info

The following is sample output for two transactions, each installing one new package:
~]# yum history info 4..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, search-disabled-repos, subscription-manager
Transaction ID : 4..5
Begin time     : Mon Dec  7 16:51:07 2015
Begin rpmdb    : 1252:d2b62b7b5768e855723954852fd7e55f641fbad9
End time       :            17:18:49 2015 (27 minutes)
End rpmdb      : 1253:cf8449dc4c53fc0cbc0a4c48e496a6c50f3d43c5
User           : Maxim Svistunov <msvistun>
Return-Code    : Success
Command Line   : install tigervnc-server.x86_64
Command Line   : reinstall tigervnc-server
Transaction performed with:
    Installed     rpm-4.11.3-17.el7.x86_64                  @rhel-7-server-rpms
    Installed     subscription-manager-1.15.9-15.el7.x86_64 @rhel-7-server-rpms
    Installed     yum-3.4.3-132.el7.noarch                  @rhel-7-server-rpms
Packages Altered:
    Reinstall tigervnc-server-1.3.1-3.el7.x86_64 @rhel-7-server-rpms
history info
You can also view additional information, such as what configuration options were used at the time of the transaction, or from what repository and why were certain packages installed. To determine what additional information is available for a certain transaction, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
yum history addon-info id
Similarly to yum history info, when no id is provided, yum automatically uses the latest transaction. Another way to refer to the latest transaction is to use the last keyword:
yum history addon-info last

Example 8.24. Example output of yum history addon-info

For the fourth transaction in the history, the yum history addon-info command provides the following output:
~]# yum history addon-info 4
Loaded plugins: langpacks, product-id, subscription-manager
Transaction ID: 4
Available additional history information:
  config-main
  config-repos
  saved_tx

history addon-info
In the output of the yum history addon-info command, three types of information are available:
  • config-main — global yum options that were in use during the transaction. See Section 8.5.1, “Setting [main] Options” for information on how to change global options.
  • config-repos — options for individual yum repositories. See Section 8.5.2, “Setting [repository] Options” for information on how to change options for individual repositories.
  • saved_tx — the data that can be used by the yum load-transaction command in order to repeat the transaction on another machine (see below).
To display a selected type of additional information, run the following command as root:
yum history addon-info id information

8.4.3. Reverting and Repeating Transactions

Apart from reviewing the transaction history, the yum history command provides means to revert or repeat a selected transaction. To revert a transaction, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
yum history undo id
To repeat a particular transaction, as root, run the following command:
yum history redo id
Both commands also accept the last keyword to undo or repeat the latest transaction.
Note that both yum history undo and yum history redo commands only revert or repeat the steps that were performed during a transaction. If the transaction installed a new package, the yum history undo command will uninstall it, and if the transaction uninstalled a package the command will again install it. This command also attempts to downgrade all updated packages to their previous version, if these older packages are still available.
When managing several identical systems, yum also enables you to perform a transaction on one of them, store the transaction details in a file, and after a period of testing, repeat the same transaction on the remaining systems as well. To store the transaction details to a file, type the following at a shell prompt as root:
yum -q history addon-info id saved_tx > file_name
Once you copy this file to the target system, you can repeat the transaction by using the following command as root:
yum load-transaction file_name
You can configure load-transaction to ignore missing packages or rpmdb version. For more information on these configuration options see the yum.conf(5) man page.

8.4.4. Starting New Transaction History

Yum stores the transaction history in a single SQLite database file. To start new transaction history, run the following command as root:
yum history new
This will create a new, empty database file in the /var/lib/yum/history/ directory. The old transaction history will be kept, but will not be accessible as long as a newer database file is present in the directory.