I would be very glad if someone could explain what the 1: before the package name signifies.

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1 is the RPM epoch number. It overrides the normal comparison order on version checking. So, if there is some odd reason why you as a packager want to mark a lower version number as an upgrade, you can tag it with an Epoch number.

yum info xorg-x11-xauth

Name        : xorg-x11-xauth
Arch        : x86_64
Epoch       : 1
Version     : 1.0.9
Release     : 1.el7
Size        : 30 k
Repo        : base/7/x86_64
Summary     : X.Org X11 X authority utilities
URL         : http://www.x.org
License     : MIT
Description : xauth is used to edit and display the authorization information
            : used in connecting to an X server.
  • I notice that not every package has an epoch number. – Sajuuk Jun 21 at 2:16

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