The Oracle Utilities Application Framework is introducing the concept of Group Fixes in an effort to simplify the patching process and move into line with other Oracle products. In the past, individual single fixes were introduced for individual registered issues and off cycle enhancements. This was sufficient as long as each site diligently downloaded and applied fixes on a regular basis. Issues can arise when sites do not apply fixes regularly which would increase the manual effort to keep the site up to date. The single fix facility was both flexible but also can be harder to manage when you have to download prerequisites and related fixes to get something implemented the longer the site took to keep up with fixes.
Feedback from customers and partners was that a more flexible arrange was needed to ensure customers kept up to date. In line with other Oracle products and based upon this feedback we are now shipping Group Fixes. A Group Fix is a regular scheduled fix (at the moment scheduled for every two months) which contains all the fixes for the product in one convienant installation.
This differs from service packs (which will be still available) in a number of ways:
The advantage of the Group Fixes is that they are one installation, every release period, that keeps your software up to date rather than individual single fixes that may have prerequisites.
As this is the first Group Fix there is a specific way to install it. Since the Group Fix has been release post FW4.1 GA date, this fix requires that all the fixes available for that version be installed prior to installing the single fix. To make this easier we have created a rollup which includes ALL the fixes that are required for the Group Fix (like a service pack it is individual installations). This is a prerequisite for the Group Fix. The Patch number is 12831936 - GROUP FIX 001 ROLL UP RELEASE PACKAGE available from My Oracle Support.
For convienance we have included the Group Fix in that installation as well so that you only have to install Patch #12831936 to save installation of multiple fixes. We also provide the Group Fix as an installation as Patch #12548444 as a courtesy. In future just the Group Fix will be available as an individual download only (no rollup). Service Packs will still be available over the long term but will contain less fixes (as it will contain Group Fixes).
Note: If you install Patch #12831936 you do not need to install Patch #12548444 as it will be installed as part of Patch #12831936.
Implementation of Group Fixes will change the way single fixes are delivered. From now on, single fixes will only be released for critical patches only (as dictated by support policy) and all other fixes will be delivered as part of a scheduled Group Fix. This will make delivery of fixes and new functionality more predictable. Group Fixes will contain any critical fixes as well to save on installation time.
Please note: New functionality may be delivered as part of a Group Fix BUT the functionality is delivered such that it is backward compatible with past releases. In most cases, new functionality is delivered disabled so that you the customer can decide when to take advantage of the new functionality.
The delivery of Group Fixes will hopefully allow customers and partners to keep their installations up to date in patching. The Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.1 will be the first of the products to introduce the Group Fix functionality. If successful, other product will also introduce this new facility to allow customers an easier path to keep up to date.
Basically in the past, customers and partners waited until Service Packs to keep up to date. Now a group fix, which installs in one pass, every two months can be installed to keep up to date. That is far more efficient than installing many individual fixes and also installing a Service Pack (which occurs every 6-12 months usually). It means customers and partners can keep up to date more frequently.