8.3.2. Obtaining Updates

Package updates in UNIX are handled much differently than in Linux. For instance, Solaris relies on Patch Clusters to update multiple packages at once, while Red Hat operating systems use Errata Updates to associate upgrades with specific packages. In addition, Solaris uses answer files to automate interactive package installations, something Linux doesn't understand, while Red Hat offers the concept of source packages. For this reason, this section seeks to highlight differences in using RHN tools on UNIX systems. (Note: RHN does not support Solaris answer files in the current release; such support is planned for future releases.)
Despite inherent differences, such as the lack of Errata, the channel and package management interfaces within the RHN website on the Satellite work largely the same for UNIX systems. All software channels designed to serve UNIX variants can be constructed almost exactly as the custom channels described in the RHN Channel Management Guide. The most significant difference is the architecture. When creating a UNIX software channel, ensure you select the base channel architecture appropriate for the systems to be served.
Furthermore, Red Hat recommends you break down your packages into base and child channels depending on their nature. For example, on Solaris, installation packages should go in the Solaris base channel, while patches and Patch Clusters should go in a child channel of the Solaris base channel. Extra installation packages can go in a separate Extras child channel.
RHN treats patches similarly to packages; they are listed and installed in the same way and with the same interface as normal packages. Patches are 'numbered' by Solaris, and will have names like "patch-solaris-108434". The version of a Solaris patch is extracted from the original Solaris metadata, and the release is always 1.
Patch Clusters are bundles of patches that are installed as a unit. RHN keeps track of the last time that a Patch Cluster was installed successfully on a system. However, Patch Clusters are not tracked on the client as installed entities so they do not appear in the installed packages or patches list. Patch Cluster names look like "patch-cluster-solaris-7_Recommended". The version is a datestring, such as "20040206", the release is always 1 and the epoch is always 0. Uploading Packages to the Satellite

RHN does not provide UNIX content; any Solaris packages, patches or Patch Clusters must be uploaded to the Satellite in a format that it understands from a client system. That package can then be managed and distributed to other systems. RHN created solaris2mpm to translate Solaris packages, patches, and patch clusters to a format that the Satellite can understand. solaris2mpm
As mentioned briefly in Section 8.1.4, “Differences in Functionality”, solaris2mpm is part of RHN Push for Solaris. The content that is pushed to a Solaris channel on the Satellite must first be in .mpm format.
A .mpm file is an archive containing a description of the package data and the package or patch itself. The solaris2mpm command must be run on the client, never the Satellite.


solaris2mpm requires free space equal to three times the size of any package, patch, or patch cluster it is converting. Normally, space in /tmp/ will be used for this purpose. However, the --tempdir option allows you to specify another directory if necessary.
Multiple files may be specified on the command line of solaris2mpm. Below is a usage example:
# solaris2mpm RHATrpush-3.1.5-21.pkg RHATrpush-3.1.5-23.pkg
Opening archive, this may take a while
Writing out RHATrpush-3.1.5-21.sparc-solaris.mpm
Opening archive, this may take a while
Writing out RHATrpush-3.1.5-23.sparc-solaris.mpm
Because no other directory was specified, the resulting .mpm files are written to the /tmp/ directory. Note that the name of the resulting .mpm files includes the architecture of the client on which it was created. In this case, this was Sparc Solaris. The general format of mpm file names is:
Patch clusters are "exploded" — .mpm files are generated for each patch in the cluster, as well as a top-level "meta" .mpm file containing information about the cluster as a whole.
Below are the options of solaris2mpm:

Table 8.1. solaris2mpm options

Option Description
Displays the program's version number and exits
-h, --help
Displays this information and exits
-?, --usage
Prints program usage information and exits
Temporary directory to work from
Selects the architecture (i386 or Sparc) for multi-arch packages. rhnpush with .mpm Files
The Solaris version of rhnpush works like the standard utility, but with the added ability to handle .mpm files. Below is a usage example:
% rhnpush -v --server testbox.example.com --username myuser -c solaris-8 \
 Red Hat Network password:
 Connecting to http://testbox.example.com/APP
 Uploading package RHATrpush-3.1.5-21.sparc-solaris.mpm
 Uploading package RHATrpush-3.1.5-23.sparc-solaris.mpm


Patch cluster .mpm files must be pushed either concurrently with or after — never before — the .mpm files for the patches contained in that cluster.
Use solaris2mpm on each of the packages, patches, or patch clusters you wish to manage via the Satellite, then use RHN Push to upload them to the channel you created for them.