I would like to know where I can find the logs for the following package managers:

  • Synaptic Package Manager
  • Ubuntu Software Center
  • The logs when using the terminal with apt-get

4 Answers 4


Apt logs can be found in /var/log/apt/term.log. To view them with GEdit you can use the command:

gedit /var/log/apt/term.log
  • 1
    Could I use cat to view them?
    – sdale1930
    Feb 25, 2014 at 1:11
  • 5
    yes you can man
    – nux
    Feb 25, 2014 at 1:13
  • 6
    Of course, cat /var/log/apt/term.log will display the file contents just fine. You may also be interested in tail -f /var/log/apt/term.log. This only displays the last few lines (tail) of the file, and, more interestingly, will continually print whatever gets appended to that file. This is quite interesting if you want to "observe" the log. Feb 25, 2014 at 1:14
  • 11
    use lessso you can scroll easier.
    – sjas
    Jul 9, 2014 at 14:53

I like /var/log/apt/history.log. It is very concise.

Also note that older logs are archived with logrotate once a month. To combine the current history.log and all the older compressed history.log files you can use cat and zcat like this:

cd /var/log/apt && cat history.log > ~/Desktop/allhistory.log && zcat history.log*gz >> ~/Desktop/allhistory.log && cd

Then you can, for example, use grep to find what you need:

$ grep package_name ~/Desktop/allhistory.log where you will put what you want in place of package_name.

$ grep google ~/Desktop/allhistory.log
Upgrade: google-chrome-stable:amd64 (32.0.1700.102-1, 33.0.1750.117-1)
Upgrade: google-chrome-stable:amd64 (31.0.1650.48-1, 32.0.1700.77-1)
Upgrade: google-chrome-stable:amd64 (32.0.1700.77-1, 32.0.1700.102-1)
Upgrade: google-chrome-stable:amd64 (30.0.1599.101-1, 31.0.1650.48-1)

And, Bohr, in a comment, suggested using zgrep directly if one is searching for lines related to a specific package. This works for me assuming I'm searching both history.log and its existing archived files for smtube:

zgrep smtube /var/log/apt/history*
  • 2
    Or run zgrep directly.
    – Bohr
    Jun 29, 2015 at 10:55
  • If you want your log in cronological order (I think it was just unintentional), the command should be rearranged: cd /var/log/apt && zcat history.log*gz > ~/Desktop/allhistory.log && cat history.log >> ~/Desktop/allhistory.log
    – topher217
    Mar 4 at 2:26

check the file


which records all the apt activities, such as installs or upgrades, for the various package managers

also you can view synaptic logs through its gui


You can use:

zcat /var/log/dpkg.log.*.gz | cat - /var/log/dpkg.log

or if you want less details:

zcat /var/log/dpkg.log.*.gz | cat - /var/log/dpkg.log | grep -E 'install |upgrade |remove '
  • I do not have zcat in my default 20.04 lts Ubuntu install. Where did that come from?
    – David
    Mar 16 at 14:36
  • you can install it using sudo apt install gzip Mar 17 at 20:34
  • OK that means that your answer would just be confusing to anyone. You should have included that you need to install zcat.
    – David
    Mar 18 at 5:49

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