Tuesday Apr 29, 2014

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

Monday Apr 09, 2012

IPS Package Groups

IPS group packages consist solely of dependencies on other packages that make up a logical grouping of software. These are similar to, but not the equivalent of, Solaris 10 metaclusters. The main difference is that metaclusters are nested subsets ranging from a minimal install to nearly all packages on the media. Group packages have no such hierarchy. They can overlap other groups, or be completely disjoint sets.

A group dependency is set this way in an IPS package manifest file:

    depend fmri=full/pkg/name type=group

Current Solaris Groups

Solaris currently has 4 system groups defined. These are used for different types of installation, and are included in the xml manifest files used by the various Solaris installers:

Package Name



Default Installation For:


Oracle Solaris Desktop

Provides an Oracle Solaris desktop environment

Live Media


Oracle Solaris Large Server

Provides an Oracle Solaris large server environment

Text Installer from media

Automated Installer


Oracle Solaris Small Server

Provides a useful command-line Oracle Solaris environment



 Oracle Solaris Automated Installer Client

 Provides an Oracle Solaris Automated Installer client

Text Installer from network

There are also several "feature" groups such as AMP and GNU Developer Tools. These are provided for convenience, but are not used directly by any installers.

Retrieving Group Package Information

A listing of all current groups can be found with the command:

pkg info -r group/*

A listing of all the packages in a group can be obtained with:

pkg contents -o fmri -H -rt depend -a type=group groupname

An example:

$ pkg contents -o fmri -H -rt depend -a type=group solaris-desktop archiver/gnu-tar audio/audio-utilities codec/flac codec/libtheora codec/ogg-vorbis codec/speex communication/im/pidgin etc.

You can determine which package group is currently installed on your system:

$ pkg list group/system/\*  

Output would look like:

NAME (PUBLISHER)                                  VERSION                    IFO
group/system/solaris-desktop                      0.5.11-    i--

Note that there are not version numbers associated with a group package dependency. The package version that best fits the system will be used, based on other dependencies such as what is listed in incorporation files.

Installing a Group

To Install a group, simple use the group package name as you would any other package:

$ pkg install solaris-small-server

 If you want to exclude a package from installing, you can use the --reject flag:

$ pkg install --reject audio/audio-utilities solaris-desktop

Creating Your Own Group

To create your own group package, you can follow the pkg(5) documentation on how to create a package, and use this action for each package that is part of your group:

    depend fmri=full/pkg/name type=group 

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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