Solaris Patches

The following applies to core Solaris packages and patches.  It does not necessarily apply to some applications embedded in Solaris, such as StarOffice.

Each marketing release of Solaris has it's own set of patches.

That is, there's one set of patches for Solaris 8, a separate set of patches for Solaris 9, and another set of patches for Solaris 10.

But the same set of patches will apply to all update releases of a Solaris marketing release.

Taking Solaris 10 as an example, the same Solaris 10 patches will apply to the original Solaris 10 03/05 release, Solaris 10 HW1, Solaris 10 HW2, Solaris 10 1/06 (Update 1), Solaris 10 6/06 (Update 2), Solaris 10 11/06 (Update 3), and Solaris 10 8/07 (Update 4).

The package version of core Solaris packages remains unchanged throughout the supported life of a Solaris marketing release. 

For example, the package version of SUNWcsr is the same in the original Solaris 10 03/05, the latest Solaris 10 8/07 releases, and all releases in between.  Looking at the relevant entries /var/sadm/pkg/SUNWcsr/pkginfo on an installed Solaris 10 x86 system, we see:

   NAME=Core Solaris, (Root)

Effectively, there's a single customer-visible code branch for each Solaris marketing release.

This means that new code changes, including new bug fixes, are made to the tip of the source tree for each Solaris marketing release.

All changes to pre-existing packages for each Solaris marketing release, whether bug fixes, feature enhancements, or new features, must therefore be delivered as patches.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows Sun to provide long-term, high quality support for each Solaris marketing release at a reasonable cost.  It also has the advantage that customers can apply the same set of patches to all their systems to bring them to the same patch level, irrespective of which update releases of a Solaris marketing release are installed on them.

To get a new bug fix made to the tip of the source tree, implies that customers will also be getting any preceding code changes to the same area of code.

[The above is a simplification.  Within Sun, there are temporary multiple source code branches to protect the stability of the source tree from new, potentially immature, feature code.]

For example, if a bug fix is made today to, it will be on top of all preceding changes to, irrespective of whether those changes were due to other bug fixes or feature enhancements.  Therefore, the resultant patch which contains the latest bug fix will contain a mixture of bug fix and feature code.  In the current Solaris source control model, it is not possible to get one without the other.

Some features may be entirely contained in patches - e.g. ZFS.  This means that customers on early releases of Solaris 10, such as Solaris 10 03/05 can install a set of patches to get the ZFS feature.  (ZFS was first shipped as part of Solaris 10 6/06 (Update 2). Obviously, it's also contained in all subsequent Solaris 10 update releases, as update releases are cumulative.)

Other new features may also introduce new packages.  These new packages are typically only available by installing or upgrading to the appropriate Solaris Update release, e.g. Solaris 10 8/07.

All available Solaris patches are included in the next Solaris Update release.  These are pre-applied to the Solaris install image in a process called "freshbitting".  This ensures that each Solaris Update release has all the bug fixes which were available at the time the Update was built, thus increasing the quality of each successive Solaris Update release.  Pre-applying the patches into the Solaris Update release image saves customers, who have installed or upgraded to that Solaris Update release, the time and expense of applying such patches using the Solaris patchadd utility. 

Note, new patches may become available after a Solaris Update release was finalized, so customers should check for applicable critical new patches - see the appropriate Recommended Patch Cluster or Sun Alert Patch Cluster on the SunSolve "Patches and Updates" page, which are available to customers with a valid Solaris Subscription or Sun System Service Plan. Such pre-applied patches will be listed as normal by the 'patchadd -p' and 'showrev -p' commands on an installed system.  The only difference is that since such patches are pre-applied, they cannot be removed (i.e. backed out).

Also, as noted in the A Bug's Lifecycle presentation mentioned previously, each bug fix and feature is first made to the current marketing release of Solaris under development (i.e. the next Solaris marketing release after Solaris 10, codenamed "Nevada" ).  Including all bug fixes in the next Solaris marketing release ensures that each successive marketing release of Solaris is of higher quality than the last release.  Only after the code change has successfully completed testing in the next Solaris marketing release, is it permitted to be back-ported to the currently shipping Solaris marketing releases where the code change is again tested before it is released.  This process of "soak-testing" code changes in the next marketing release under development prior to allowing them to be back-ported helps protect the quality and stability of the Solaris marketing releases which are currently shipping by ensuring code changes are test prior to being putback to the source code base.  Additional, Pre-Integration Testing is also performed to ensure the code changes don't regress functionality.

Solaris 8, 9, and 10 are the currently supported Solaris marketing releases.

Only the latest marketing release, Solaris 10, will have further periodic Update releases, the last such being Solaris 10 8/07 (Update 4).  The Solaris Updates facilitate the release of cool new features such as NewBoot (GRUB), ZFS, Trusted Solaris Extensions, Secure By Default, etc.

No further Update releases are planned for Solaris 8 or Solaris 9.  These releases are now in pure sustaining mode - i.e. bug fixes and very limited enhancements only.  These older releases can be advantageous from a risk minimization perspective, as they are subject to less code change than the current release, which is taking in new features as well as bug fixes.  The downside of remaining on these older releases is that do not contain Solaris 10's cool new software features,  significant performance enhancements, and support for (quite literally) cool new hardware.

To get the latest bug fixes, customers can either apply patches, or Install or Upgrade to the latest Solaris Update release which, as mentioned previously, contains all the bug fixes which were available at the time it was built.  I'll explore later why installing or upgrading to the latest Solaris Update release can be beneficial from a risk minimization perspective, especially on Solaris 10.

For customers who are already on the latest Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Update Release, the only way to get new bug fixes is through applying patches as no more Update Releases are planned for these marketing releases.


Correction only 2.5.1 is a micro release and that is the last micro release we have shipped. The updates to Solaris 10 are patch releases. In the ARC interface taxonomy there is a distinction between micro and patch. One area where there is a distinction is that for a patch binding backout is required but that isn't required for micro. Unless uname changes it is not a micro release.

Posted by Darren Moffat on January 04, 2008 at 10:35 AM GMT #

I've changed the language in this posting to drop references to the Solaris interface taxonomy minor/micro/patch nomenclature due to the issues which Darren raised and have replaced it with language referring to Solaris Marketing releases (e.g. Solaris 8, Solaris 9, Solaris 10), and Solaris Update releases (e.g. Solaris 10 8/07 (Update 4)).

Posted by Gerry Haskins on January 07, 2008 at 10:25 AM GMT #

Hey, Gerry! It's great to see you blogging about this area of expertise, an area of great importance to our customers. Very cool. Have fun with the blog!

Posted by Kimberley on January 09, 2008 at 02:27 PM GMT #

How to install the patchs in solaris(5.10)

Posted by rajkumar on May 28, 2008 at 12:42 AM IST #

Hi Rajkumar!

Please be a little more specific in your question.

'patchadd' is the basic Solaris tool to apply patches to a system.

The Sun Alert Patch Cluster, which is available on to customers with a support contract, provides the minimum set of patches which fix the most critical issues - namely Security, Data Corruption, and System Availability issues. You should try to keep your systems as up to date as possible with the contents of this cluster. The cluster has its own install script. Read the cluster README file for further information.

For more advanced patching information, please see other articles in this blog, , and the Big Admin Patching Hub,

Posted by Gerry Haskins on May 28, 2008 at 05:16 AM IST #

i am currently using a toshida L300 satellite pro,whenever i want to open solaris it brings this error messages;the loadable device for display SUNWtext is not installed or Addscreen failed for SUNWtextxf86.vesa

Posted by adrian ifeanyi chiejina on October 15, 2008 at 11:55 AM IST #

Hi Adrian!

Looking at the Hardware Compatibility list of supported hardware,, I see the Toshiba Satellite L30 is supported. I don't see an "L300" on the list, but I assume we're talking about similar systems.

This is not a support alias, so I am unable to answer your query regarding the error message you are seeing.

I suggest you contact Support (e.g. via
See also

Best Wishes,


Posted by Gerry Haskins on October 17, 2008 at 04:59 AM IST #

where can I download solaris 2.6 Recommended and Cluster Patches

Thank you

Posted by eddie lawson on July 01, 2010 at 08:37 PM IST #

Hi Eddie,

You can't download the 2.6 Recommended Patch Cluster as 2.6 is long past End Of Service Life and thus the 2.6 patch clusters are no longer available.

Best Wishes,


Posted by Gerry Haskins on July 16, 2010 at 10:37 AM IST #

how does one go about getting patches? is maintenance required? are patches for Solaris 7 and 9 available for free anywhere?

Posted by guest on August 03, 2011 at 11:28 AM IST #

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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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