Major PatchFinder enhancements available now!

I'm delighted to announce the release of the 2nd phase of our PatchFinder tool enhancements, which include:

  • The ability to see the "Entitlement Classes" of patches and get information on the support contracts necessary to access and use them.  
  • A "Patch Basket", into which you can add selected patches from multiple search results.
  • When you click on the "Go To Patch Basket" link, the patch dependencies for all the patches you have in your Patch Basket will be dynamically resolved, including filtering out redundant dependencies.   This saves you having to manually transfer patch dependency trees!   If you already have some of these installed, you can de-select them.
  • You can then click the "Download Selected" button to download a 'wget' script and instructions which you can use to download all of the selected patches from SunSolve.   Once you make sure you install the latest version of the patch utilities patch first, you can then use "patchadd -M" to install all the patches in the correct order on your target system.

Sample Searches

Let's assume you applied the Solaris 10 SPARC Recommended Patch Cluster on August 15th 2009.  So what Solaris 10 SPARC Recommended Cluster patches have been released since then ?   To find out, for "OS Release" select "Solaris 10", for "Architecture" select SPARC", select "Recommended Only", and select August 15th 2009 from the calendar beside the "Released After" box.   (Select view 50, 100, or 200 to see the entire list in one page.)   You can then decide if you want to download some of all of these patches to add to your system.  Coupled with the dynamic dependency resolution and 'wget' download capability, this effectively enables you to create customized patch clusters for yourself with just the patches you need, rather than having to download the entire Recommended Cluster each time.

Or you could bookmark a search to show you all the patches released in the last day: Simply enter the number "1" into the "Released After" box and select any other selection criteria you are interested in and click "Search".  Depending on timezone differences with respect to California and your local time of day, you may need to enter the number "2" in the "Released After" box.

You can also use PatchFinder to see what Solaris 8 Vintage patches Sun has released since Solaris 8 entered End-Of-Service-Life (EOSL) Phase 2 on April 1, 2009.   Simply select "Solaris 8" for "OS Release", select "OS Patches Only" and click "Search".  Since the patches are listed in date order, most of the patches with a release date after April 1, 2009, including patches delivering security fixes, will have the "Solaris8VintageSoftwareUpdate" Entitlement Class associated with them if you mouse-over the red padlock symbol shown for them (assuming you don't have a Solaris 8 Vintage Patch Service Plan associated with your Sun Online Account).   You will see a couple of non-Vintage patches released after April 1, 2009.  This is a transition phase and these patches address issues escalated by customers prior to April 1, 2009.

Some other sample searches to satisfy your curiosity:

Ever wondered how many patches Sun has ever released ?   To find out, simply select "Show Obsolete" and then click "Search".

How many current "active" patches does Sun have ?   De-select "Show Obsolete" and then click "Search".

How many patches can be installed on Solaris 10, including application product patches ?   For "OS Release" select "Solaris 10" (and optionally "Show Obsolete" ) and then click "Search".

How many current "active" Solaris 10 OS patches there are for SPARC ?  For "OS Release" select "Solaris 10", for "Architecture" select "SPARC" and then select "OS Patches Only" and then click "Search".

Patch Access Entitlement Classes

You need a support contract or have hardware under warranty in order to access and use patches.

When you look at the list of patches returned from a search, a green open padlock symbol shows the patches you have access to thanks to the support contracts which you currently have associated with your Sun Online Account (SOA).  A red closed padlock shows the patches which you are not currently entitled to access or use with the support contracts you currently have associated with your Sun Online Aaccout.

You can mouse-over these symbols for any patch and it will show you the "Entitlement Classes" associated with the patch. 

Read the "What is it?" help link and the SunSolve "How Entitlement Works" wiki to find out about the support contracts which you need to buy in order to access and use these patches.

Feedback

I hope you'll find the new PatchFinder enhancements useful.

We are really interested in your feedback as to what further enhancements you would like to see, so feel free to post your comments here or else use the feedback link on the PatchFinder page.

Many thanks to Brian Kidney and Julien Colomb for all their work on this - nice work guys!

Comments:

Wonderful, thanks a lot!
Patch Basket dependency resolution is particularly neat.

Also a nice touch being able to enter via a simple
PatchID, CR, etc search from the main SunSolve page.
I'm sure many other will benefit from the improvements too.
-- Stuart.

Posted by Stuart Remphrey on October 26, 2009 at 01:40 AM GMT #

Thanks Stuart!

I'm glad you like it!

Feel free to let me know what other enhancements you'd like to see.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Posted by Gerry Haskins on October 26, 2009 at 10:48 AM GMT #

Hmm, maybe add a list of patchids to patch basket?
(e.g. via alternative to 1 x PatchID search box, such as
cut+paste into a text area, or upload a file listing them)

Or is that getting a bit "large/untidy" for a "simple" web-page approach;
possibly also starting to stray towards xVM/UCE services and/or pca etc?
Not that I'm ungrateful for what we've just got, out here in customer-land :-)
Stuart.

Posted by Stuart Remphrey on October 26, 2009 at 06:39 PM GMT #

Hi Stuart!

You can enter a space separated list of PatchIDs into the PatchID search box.

Going forward, we're thinking about how to implement an option for customers to tell PatchFinder what patch level they are on (e.g. just the Kernel PatchID or a full 'patchadd -p' output) so that when it resolves dependencies, it can discard patches you already have installed. Perhaps we could link into the Explorer database.

Another potential option is to provide a dymanic patchdiag.xref style file based on the contents of the Patch Basket which could be used by 'pca' or other consumers of patchdiag.xref. I haven't talked to Martin Paul about this yet.

As you say, we need to be careful not to stray into YAPAT (Yet Another Patch Automation Tool) territory.

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Posted by Gerry Haskins on October 27, 2009 at 08:21 AM GMT #

Hi Gerry,

Nice quick drop-down for PatchID, CR Id, Keywords, Synopsis on main page, btw.
Thanks to the team for the continued work on these SunSolve Patch Pages.

A potential improvement occurred to me for the patch search fields:
Is it feasible to add a search on package name,
and get patches released for that package?
(and just the corresponding arch, release...)

e.g. I was recently looking for patches to the SUNWemlxs SAN driver.

Admittedly, searching for patches to SUNW core packages would
return a long list, so it may not be as useful in all cases.

Also, do you assume the user knows to include related
packages, say all of SUNWsshr SUNWsshc SUNWsshu?
If not, do you include or exclude implicit "sets" of pkgs?
(especially for some multi-pkg unbundleds like SunMC)

Not quite as straightforward as it first appears;
but perhaps worth considering allowing e.g. SUNWefc\*

Rgds, Stuart.

Posted by Stuart Remphrey on November 10, 2009 at 08:39 AM GMT #

Hi Stuart!

We were planning to put in a search by object name - e.g. show me the latest patch which fixes usr/bin/ls.

My thinking is that if you have an object core dumping or suspect a bug in libc.so, it would be useful to be able to easily see which patches provide fixes for that object.

I'm trying to understand the use case of searching by pkgname. Wouldn't searching by object name be an easier association for most users ?

Best Wishes,

Gerry.

Posted by Gerry Haskins on November 10, 2009 at 08:50 AM GMT #

Yes, it might be more straightforward to search against
the filesystem object(s) delivered by the patch.

Posted by Stuart Remphrey on November 10, 2009 at 09:20 AM GMT #

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About

This blog is to inform customers about patching best practice, feature enhancements, and key issues. The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. The Documents contained within this site may include statements about Oracle's product development plans. Many factors can materially affect these plans and the nature and timing of future product releases. Accordingly, this Information is provided to you solely for information only, is not a commitment to deliver any material code, or functionality, and SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON IN MAKING PURCHASING DECISIONS. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described remains at the sole discretion of Oracle. THIS INFORMATION MAY NOT BE INCORPORATED INTO ANY CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENT WITH ORACLE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES. ORACLE SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THIS INFORMATION. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gerry Haskins, Director, Software Lifecycle Engineer

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