New Format for Solaris IPS Repository Downloads

I haven't contributed anything to this blog in a while, mostly because I haven't contributed anything directly to Solaris in a while. With the release of Oracle Solaris 11.2 Beta, I now have something to write about.

In prior Solaris 11 releases, Oracle offered the downloadable version of the Solaris 11 ISO repository in different formats depending on which download site was being used (Oracle Technical Network, My Oracle Support, etc.). This was due to varying file size limitations on the different sites, as the repository has grown beyond the 4GB boundary. One site contained a single ISO file that was split into several pieces, while another had 2 separate ISO files that had to be mounted and copied to a single repository location. README instructions varied as well. And while offering the entire repository on OTN as a single download sounded like a simple solution, it caused issues on some client systems, depending on the operating system, browser and filesystem.

These varied formats also contributed to service calls, with claims that the ISO images were broken. In reality, it was just that the wrong method was often used for the particular download site. It was an "easy fix" to tell customers that the procedure they used for the media pack was different than for the same bits on My Oracle Support, but we could see why the problem occurred and how much time was spent in unnecessary extra downloads.

Starting with Solaris 11.2, we are now offering a single format for the repository images. Abandoning the ISO format altogether, the repository is now a set of zipped archive files. This format solves the issues mentioned above with the varying formats:

  • each segment is less than 2GB, which allows it to be downloaded on a variety of systems
  • if a single segment fails to download, the entire repo download does not need to be restarted
  • it eliminates the extra steps of combining segments and mounting or burning the resulting ISO
  • customers downloading from My Oracle Support get the same format as OTN customers who get the same format as Oracle Software Delivery Cloud media packs - a single set of instructions for all
  • repository images can continue to grow without concern for any media size limits

In addition to the format change, an installation script is also now available to unzip each segment into the designated repository filesystem. Prior to unzipping, it will check if the target is an existing repository. If it is, a warning will be given with the current level of Solaris contained in the repository. The user can choose to add the new repository packages to the current repository, or quit the application and choose a different target. This will help to prevent accidentally adding software to the wrong local repository. 

The script has a few additional options to make the work a bit easier:

  • validation of the md5 sums of the downloaded zip files
  • validation of the repository after unzipping
  • creation of an ISO image for portability

With the combination of the changed download format and the script to apply the downloads, I think this solution will work out for all customers regardless of system type, Internet connection, or contract status. I won't bother with the cliche "one download format to rule them all."

 For detailed documentation of creating and maintaining repositories, look for these documents on docs.oracle.com:

 Copying and Creating Package Repositories in Oracle Solaris 11.2

 How to Copy a Repository From a zip File

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Insights on Solaris from the Release Engineering view. We aren't upstream in development, or downstream in QA. We're in the middle of each Solaris build.

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