Another system administration task is managing system software patches. A patch is a fix to a reported software problem. Sun will ship several software patches to customers so that problems can be resolved before the next release of software. The existing software is derived from a specified package format that conforms to the ABI.
Patches are identified by unique alphanumeric strings. The patch base code comes first, and then a hyphen, and then a number that represents the patch revision number. For example, patch 110453-01 is a Solaris patch to correct a known problem.
You might want to know more about patches that have previously been installed. Table 2.5 shows commands that provide useful information about patches already installed on a system.
The tools in Table 2.5 are tools you might already be accustomed to if you've managed patches using earlier versions of the Solaris operating environment. In Solaris 10, Patch Manager helps you manage patches by displaying information about installed patches. It also assists you in adding patches to one or more systems concurrently, removes patches, analyzes a system's patch requirements, and downloads patches from the SunSolve Online service.
I'll first describe how to manage patches using the conventional tools described in Table 2.5, and then I'll describe Patch Manager.