How to Patch an AIX 5L System

Apr 28, 2007 | 2 minutes read
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Tags: Bug, Patch

On a fresh AIX 5.3ML1 (the corresponding output of oslevel -r is 5300-01), a bug was encountered when trying to change the NIS password of a remote user with yppasswd(1): the command systematically dumped core.

Opening a soft call at the IBM support center leads to patch the system with the APAR IY66747 (memory fault in chpass_netgroup). The fix package contains 19 filesets for a total package size of 54,464,512 bytes. After downloading it from IBM Fix Central (which can be found at, all the .bff were stored in a temporary location /files/tmpcdinst/IY66747 which was NFS mounted in order to reduce needed space on each concerned host.

The System Management Interface Tool (SMIT) recognizes /usr/sys/inst.images as the default directory for fixes downloaded onto hard disk. This was not the case here!

Here are the steps to install the fix package:

# cd /files/tmpcdinst/IY66747
# inutoc
# TERM=vt220 smitty update_all
 * INPUT device / directory for software               [.]
 *  SOFTWARE to update                                  _update_all
 *  PREVIEW only? (update operation will NOT occur)     no
 *  COMMIT software updates?                            no
 *  SAVE replaced files?                                yes
 *  AUTOMATICALLY install requisite software?           yes
 *  EXTEND file systems if space needed?                yes
 *  VERIFY install and check file sizes?                no
 *  DETAILED output?                                    no
 *  Process multiple volumes?                           yes
 *  ACCEPT new license agreements?                      yes
 *  PREVIEW new LICENSE agreements?                     no

Verify that the fix package applied correctly:

# instfix -ik IY66747
    All filesets for IY66747 were found.

Then, here is the correct behavior of the freshly patched system:

# yppasswd jpeg
Old NIS password:
jpeg's New password:
Re-enter jpeg's new password:
NIS passwd changed on neptune

All seems ok!

Side note: Since smitty update_all need to issue the bosboot command at the end of the update, a reboot is mostly recommended!