Patching running systems

From: Bill Pechter <>
Date: Fri Jan 12 13:02:26 2001

> Both Windows and the popular varieties of LINUX are pretty easy to install
> these days. However, Windows suffers greatly from the fact that it has
> tried to maintain the usefulness of those applications that were written for
> and bought concurrently with much earlier versions of the OS. My brief
> encounter with UNIX systems (SUN) taught me that in order to have a
> functional system, the system has to be rebuilt every time there's a new
> module installed, AND all the software needs to be revised. That means
> about 6 weeks of downtime every time anything is revised, be it a serial
> port driver or an application patch. To have the system "up" most of the
> time, it required a man on duty 24/7. That meant a burn rate of $100K per
> year just to keep the OS working. I was REALLY grateful that I could unload
> that piece of junk onto my client. Do you think the average "user" wants
> that sort of overhead for his computer that he uses to download the latest
> nudies?
> >
> > -Dave McGuire

Boy... that's pretty surprising since the SUN Ultra10's here are running
5 year old Solaris 2.6 (with the y2k and recommended patches from Sun).

Was this back in the Sun 3 days with SunOS under v4.1?
I've never seen this in 13 years of Sys Admin and 20 in the business.

My stuff is up over 6 months at a time (usually rebooted for lab moves,
ups battery problems, and power failures.

I've got 6 months on an old FreeBSD box which I decommissioned.
Would've been at least two years if I left it running in the corner.

I've got Sparc's running SunOS 4.1.4 with the Y2k patches.
The uptime is pretty good.

Time to patch to was a couple of hours per Sun. The Solaris boxes
patch right up with a shell script and the only downtime involved is the
5 minutes of reboot. I patch 'em all about twice per year when things
are slow (between Christmas and New Years).

I do them all in a couple of hours... from one window to each desktop.
Type reboot when done and it's finished.

The SunOS y2k was done manually -- per patch scripts run and then
the changed files were moved to a tar file which dropped on top of each
machine at single user. Machine specific tweaks were applied
and they were rebooted -- time 15 minutes/Sun once per machine and about
3 hours testing and verifying the Sun patches.

Not quite as nice as RT11's PATCH and SIPP on PDP11's or VMSUPDATE... but OK.

--    | FreeBSD since 1.0.2, Linux since 0.99.10  
Brainbench MVP           | Unix Sys Admin since Sys V/BSD 4.2
Unix Sys.Admin.          | Windows System Administration: "Magical Misery Tour"
Received on Fri Jan 12 2001 - 13:02:26 GMT

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