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ZXnet http server: Note N00021: Patching Sun Solaris 2.6 (SunOS 5.6)

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Number: N00021
Created: 09 November 2008
Revised: 10 November 2008

This document gives a quick overview on patching the Sun Solaris 2.6 to the latest version. It is targeted at the SPARC version of Solaris but most of it should apply to the IA32 version too.

Patch Cluster

The Solaris 2.6 patch cluster contains a number of recommended patches which should be safe to install on all systems. The version linked to from here was released on the 14th of February 2005 - there do not seem to be any newer ones available on the Sun website.

  1. Download the patch cluster to the system somewhere. Sun doesnt appear to provide patch clusters for Solaris 2.6 anymore so one from the 14th of February 2005 can be downloaded from here. You should also review its README file.
  2. Check that you have enough free disk space. You can type the following to see how much disk space will be needed to extract the archive:
    $ zcat 2.6_Recommended.tar.Z | tar tvf - | awk '{ KILOBYTES += $3 / 1024 } END { print KILOBYTES }
  3. Extract the archive by running:
    $ zcat 2.6_Recommended.tar.Z | tar xvf -
  4. Login as the root user on the system console if you havent already. While the patch can be installed in multi-user mode (runlevel 3) it may cause problems with running programs and services so it can be best to bring the system down to single-user mode:
    # init S
  5. Backup the configuration files for any SCSI disk or tape drives: Installing the patch cluster will overwrite the drivers' configuration files. If you are using any SCSI disks with non-zero LUNs (common with RAID or external storage arrays) or wide-SCSI tape drives (SCSI IDs 8-15) these devies will not be recognised after the system reboot.
    # cp /kernel/drv/sd.conf /kernel/drv/sd.conf.cluster_installation_backup
    # cp /kernel/drv/st.conf /kernel/drv/st.conf.cluster_installation_backup
  6. Install the Recommended Patch cluster:
    $ cd $patch_cluster_directory
    # ./install_cluster
    During cluster installation some individual patches may fail to install. For example:
    Installation of patch failed. Return code 2.
    Installation of patch failed. Return code 8.
    Return code 2 indicates that the patch has already been installed. Return code 8 indicates the patch is for a package that is not currently installed on the system. Both of these error codes can be ignored.
  7. If you had to backup your disk and tape configuration files, restore them now:
    # cp /kernel/drv/sd.conf.cluster_installation_backup /kernel/drv/sd.conf
    # cp /kernel/drv/st.conf.cluster_installation_backup /kernel/drv/st.conf
  8. Reboot the system:
    # shutdown -i6 -g0 -y

After rebooting the system, the new patch level can be viewed using the showrev command. A list of all patches installed on the system can be obtained from the showrev -p command.

Individual Patches

A list of individual patches for Solaris 2.6 SPARC can be found at http://sunsolve.sun.com/show.do?target=patches/zos-s2.6. Not all of these will be present in the patch cluster linked to from here.

Old patch site

Sun took down their old anonymous FTP archive of patches some time ago making free access to patches a bit more difficult. One full mirror of their old FTP site can be found here.

Patch Automation Tools

Patch Check Advanced can be found at http://www.par.univie.ac.at/solaris/pca/.