I don't know if Sun is trying to turn off customers or what, but I installed Solaris 10 on the old Sun Blade I've got kicking around my cubicle, but the simple task of updating it may prove to be beyond me. They have about four different unfriendly methods to accomplishing this, none of which seem to work. There's a built-in utility called smpatch that should do the trick, but fails to install 95% of the patches it claims I need.
It seems to be indicating that I also need some other piece of software, which is actually required to do the updates, a Sun Patch Manager. Why this isn't installed, I don't know, but I attempt to get it from their web site. Oops, wait, no, you have to have a valid support contract to download it. Okay, I have a valid support contract, I give it to them, they still won't let me download it, and the web site insists I'm not logged in, though the screen clearly greets me as Seth Bokelman and says I am.
Why do I need a support contract when Solaris is now free? Is Sun trying to build up a large reputation for having their operating system exploited often by not letting people who have installed it patch?
Why is it so difficult to make patching easy? Assuming this new smpatch system works, my understanding is that one only has to run "smpatch update". That's reasonable, I can handle that, but why didn't it install ready for me to do that? There's a GUI installer, it made installation a breeze. Isn't the first thing most people would do after installing a system is update it? I think so, but Sun apparently thinks you should be able to install a system with an IQ of 75, but you need to be a trained professional to run an automated patch process.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I know very little about Solaris, but I can handle updating my Red Hat box with "up2date -u" and I update numerous Windows boxes via my WSUS server. If Sun can't make the updating process easy enough for me to sit down and do it in under an hour, they don't deserve to survive in their ongoing struggles with Microsoft and the Linux vendors.