Checking for a Support Pack on a Linux Desktop or Server

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Joe Harmon

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Posted: 16 Aug 2005

Applies To:

  • Novell Linux Desktop 9
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

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Note: There is an application that tests the current patch level of your system by querying against a specific set of packages and their versions. The package is called SPident and it is installed on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9 by default. It is not installed on Novell Linux Desktop (NLD) 9 by default because it didn't ship with NLD until Support Pack 2.
  1. Open a terminal.

  2. Verify that you have the SPident package installed by typing rpm -qa SPident within the terminal. If you show it being installed, then skip to step 4. If it is not installed then continue on with step 3.

  3. To install SPident you can use either Red Carpet or Yast2, depending on the OS. Since NLD was used for this example, I will be installing with Red Carpet. Either way, both scenarios are outlined in the following document: How to install Packages on your Linux Desktop.

  4. Once you verified that the package has been installed, you are ready to use the SPident utility. There are basically five bits of information that can be displayed using SPident. These bits of information are obtained by increasing the verbosity of the utility (using the -v command) as shown below.

    SPident gives us general information as to whether or not the support pack is up to date.

    SPident -v gives us the same information as SPident, plus a summary table showing whether or not there are any conflicts or updates.

    SPident -vv gives us the same information as SPident and SPident -v, plus the individual file names of conflicting packages. Note: Conflicting packages arise when a newer version was expected but was never installed. This is indicated by a minus symbol (-) in front of the package name.

    SPident -vvv gives us the same information as SPident, SPident -v, and SPident -vv, plus the individual file name of any updated packages. Note: Updated packages arise when the installed version of a package is newer then the expected version. This is indicated by a plus symbol (+) in front of the package name.

    SPident -vvvv gives us the same information as SPident, SPident -v, SPident -vv and SPident -vvv, plus the individual file name of every matched package. Note: A matched package is when the installed version and expected version are the same. This is indicated by an equal symbol (=) in front of the package name.

  5. Let's start by typing SPident within a terminal window. It should display information determining whether or not your server or workstation is up to date. If you get back information that you are up-to-date, then stop here. If you didn't be back the information information that you are up-to-date, then move on to step 6.

  6. Let's take the example of a support pack that was not fully installed. When the SPident command was run in this case, it should show information on what it found and what it expected. In this example it found that SP1 is installed, but that it expected SP2. Now it wouldn't have expected SP2 if components of SP2 had not been installed. So due to this fact, we know we have a partial install.

  7. We can obtain more information by typing SPident -v in the terminal. This option creates a table of information showing the number of conflicting and updated packages, as well as in which section they occur.

  8. The table in step 7 has some useful information, but it doesn't show the names of the conflicting packages. To see the names of the individual conflicting packages, let's add another "v" to the command to increase the verbosity. Type SPident -vv in the terminal. In this example it shows that there is an older version of glibc than is found in SP2. Remember that conflicting packages are denoted by a minus symbol (-).

  9. You can continue to add more v's to the SPident command if you need more information. Just as SPident -vv showed conflicting packages in step 8, SPident -vvv will not only show conflicting packages, but updated packages as well. These are packages that are newer than the SP2 package base. They are denoted by a plus symbol (+).

  10. SPident -vvvv will show conflicting, updated, and and matching packages. The matching packages are denoted by an equal symbol (=).

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