Unix Software Management
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Ein Auszug aus einem ziemlich guten "Paper"...; dabei wurden Solaris 8, HP-UX 11i, Tru64 UNIX 5.1, AIX 4.3.3 und UnixWare 7.1.1 miteinander verglichen.


Software management is (...) a challenge. This spans control over the installation of applications, middleware, and system-software patches that sit on top of the operating system. Administrators typically have to contend with a continuous cycle of updates in these areas, as well as a stream of customizations that address particular issues. Several functions can help to simplify this task, including,

All studied systems except UnixWare provide some form of a registry mechanism to keep track of software, extensions, and patches that have been installed (UnixWare uses the traditional UNIX method of /etc files). AIX has the Object Data Manager (ODM), one of the earliest implementations of a UNIX-system configuration database. HP-UX maintains a software registry called the System Configuration Repository (SCR), which provides centralized change management and tracking across multiple systems. Administrators can compare nodes and, for troubleshooting, get "before and after" snapshots to determine what is changed in the system configuration. HP-UX 11i's Service Control Manager also records role and group settings in the SCR. Solaris includes the Solaris Product Registry, a mechanism to manage software that is installed using Solaris Web Start 3.0, Solaris Web Start Wizards, or the Solaris package-management commands (i.e. pkgadd). The registry allows administrators to view a list of installed and registered software and some software attributes, install additional software products, uninstall software, and browse for and launch an installer.

Tru64 UNIX uses a hybrid approach for registering software-configuration information, in which the traditional /etc files remain in place, but the system accesses them via a single, consistent framework (internally known as MCL) that contains component definitions for each file and how it can be read and modified. The MCL creates a common data model that cleanly maps to (and can be exported) to Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) MIBs. This model can also be exported in future releases to LDAP directories and the Common Information Model (CIM) of the cross-platform Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) initiative. MCL provides a structured but user-interface independent set of APIs to be used for building management tools in past, present, and future user-interface paradigms. This piece of the framework is known as the Sysman User Interface Toolkit, or SUIT, and all Compaq’s UNIX system management tools are built on top of it. Because the MCL/SUIT approach maintains the existence of /etc files that are familiar to traditional UNIX administrators, it allows new system-management methodologies to develop while preserving old capabilities.

While all of the studied systems provide standard procedures for installing patches to the base operating system, AIX, HP-UX, and Tru64 UNIX have a slight advantage over competitors due to their ability to allow patches to be installed using two-phase commits. AIX gives administrators the option to apply an update, and then reject or commit to it after testing. The mechanism can be used with licensed options, patches, and any installable application software. Tru64 UNIX provides a tool called dupatch for managing patches. This tool allows administrators to keep preexisting code around, so that patches can be backed out if necessary. HP’s Software Distributor (SD-UX) allows patches to be in applied status (i.e., they can be rolled back), committed (cannot be rolled back) or superseded. The other systems do not provide formal mechanisms allowing system administrators to back out of patches by automatically restoring software to its preexisting state if necessary.

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