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4.2.6. Working with Transaction History

The yum history command allows users to review information about a timeline of Yum transactions, the dates and times on when they occurred, the number of packages affected, whether 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.

Listing Transactions

To display a list of 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
For example, the list of first five transactions may look as follows:
~]# yum history list 1..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit
ID     | Login user               | Date and time    | Action(s)      | Altered
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     5 | Jaromir ... <jhradilek>  | 2011-07-29 15:33 | Install        |    1
     4 | Jaromir ... <jhradilek>  | 2011-07-21 15:10 | Install        |    1
     3 | Jaromir ... <jhradilek>  | 2011-07-16 15:27 | I, U           |   73
     2 | System <unset>           | 2011-07-16 15:19 | Update         |    1
     1 | System <unset>           | 2011-07-16 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:
Table 4.1. 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 4.2. 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.

Yum also allows 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
For instance, a summary of the transaction history displayed above would look like the following:
~]# yum history summary 1..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit
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
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, presto, refresh-packagekit
ID     | Action(s)      | Package
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     3 | Updated        | subscription-manager-0.95.11-1.el6.x86_64
     3 | Update         |                      0.95.17-1.el6_1.x86_64
     3 | Updated        | subscription-manager-firstboot-0.95.11-1.el6.x86_64
     3 | Update         |                                0.95.17-1.el6_1.x86_64
     3 | Updated        | subscription-manager-gnome-0.95.11-1.el6.x86_64
     3 | Update         |                            0.95.17-1.el6_1.x86_64
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-0.95.11-1.el6.x86_64
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-firstboot-0.95.11-1.el6.x86_64
     1 | Install        | subscription-manager-gnome-0.95.11-1.el6.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-gnome. In the third transaction, all these packages were updated from version 0.95.11 to version 0.95.17.

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
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
The following is sample output for two transactions, each installing one new package:
~]# yum history info 4..5
Loaded plugins: langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit
Transaction ID : 4..5
Begin time     : Thu Jul 21 15:10:46 2011
Begin rpmdb    : 1107:0c67c32219c199f92ed8da7572b4c6df64eacd3a
End time       :            15:33:15 2011 (22 minutes)
End rpmdb      : 1109:1171025bd9b6b5f8db30d063598f590f1c1f3242
User           : Jaromir Hradilek <jhradilek>
Return-Code    : Success
Command Line   : install screen
Command Line   : install yum-plugin-fs-snapshot
Transaction performed with:
    Installed     rpm-4.8.0-16.el6.x86_64
    Installed     yum-3.2.29-17.el6.noarch
    Installed     yum-metadata-parser-1.1.2-16.el6.x86_64
Packages Altered:
    Install screen-4.0.3-16.el6.x86_64
    Install yum-plugin-fs-snapshot-1.1.30-6.el6.noarch
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
For instance, for the first transaction in the previous example, the yum history addon-info command would provide the following output:
~]# yum history addon-info 4
Loaded plugins: langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit
Transaction ID: 4
Available additional history information:
  config-main
  config-repos
  saved_tx

history addon-info
In this example, three types of information are available:
To display selected type of additional information, run the following command as root:
yum history addon-info id information

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 merely 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 vice versa. If possible, this command will also attempt to downgrade all updated packages to their previous version, but these older packages may no longer be available. If you need to be able to restore the system to the state before an update, consider using the fs-snapshot plug-in described in Section 4.4.3, “Plug-in Descriptions”.
When managing several identical systems, Yum also allows 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
Note, however that the rpmdb version stored in the file must by identical to the version on the target system. You can verify the rpmdb version by using the yum version nogroups command.

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.