A patch is an accumulation of fixes for a known or potential problem within the Solaris OS or other supported software. A patch can also provide a new feature or an enhancement to a particular software release. A patch consists of files and directories that replace or update existing files and directories. Most Solaris patches are delivered as a set of sparse packages. For details about packages, see Chapter 18, Managing Software (Overview).
A software update is a change that you apply to software that corrects an existing problem or that introduces a feature. To update is also the process of applying software updates to a system.
You can manage patches on your Solaris system by using the patchadd command.
A signed patch is one that has a digital signature applied to it. A patch that has its digital signature verified has not been modified since the signature was applied. The digital signature of a signed patch is verified after the patch is downloaded to your system.
Patches for the Solaris OS, starting with the Solaris 2.6 release, are available as signed patches and as unsigned patches. Unsigned patches do not have a digital signature.
Signed patches are stored in Java archive format (JAR) files and are available from the SunSolve OnlineSM web site. Unsigned patches are stored in directory format and are also available from the SunSolve Online web site as .zip files.
For information about applying patches to your system by using the patchadd command, see Managing Solaris Patches by Using the patchadd Command (Task Map).
For additional overview information about signed patches, see Signed Packages, Patches, and Software Updates.