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man pages section 1M: System Administration Commands

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Updated: July 2017



pkgadm - manage packaging and patching system


pkgadm addcert [-ty] [-a app] [-k keystore] [-e keyfile] 
     [-f format] [-n name] [-P passarg] 
     [-p import_passarg] [-R rootpath] certfile
pkgadm removecert [-a app] [-k keystore] -n name 
     [-P passarg] [-R rootpath]
pkgadm listcert [-a app] [-f format] [-k keystore] -n name 
     [-P passarg] [-o outfile] [-R rootpath]
pkgadm dbstatus [-R rootpath]
pkgadm sync [-R rootpath] [-q]
pkgadm -V
pkgadm -?


The pkgadm utility is used for managing the packaging and patching system. It has several subcommands that perform various operations relating to packaging. The pkgadm command includes subcommands for managing certificates and keys used.

Managing Keys and Certificates

pkgadm maintains the packaging-system-wide keystore in /var/sadm/security, and individual user's certificates in ~/.pkg/security. The following subcommands operate on the package keystore database:


Add (import) a certificate into the database, with optional trust. Once added, trusted certificates can be used to verify signed packages and patches. Non-trusted user certificates and their associated keys can be used to sign packages and patches. Added user certificates are not used to build certificate chains during certificate verification.


Removes a user certificate/private key pair, or a trusted certificate authority certificate from the keystore. Once removed, the certificate and keys cannot be used.


Print details of one or more certificates in the keystore.


Writes the contents file and rolls the contents log file. With use of the –q option, forces the contents file server to quit.

Internal Install Database

The Solaris operating system relies upon enhanced System V revision 4 (SVr4) packages as the basis for its software installation and revision management. The package maintenance software stores information about installed packages in an internal database. The pkgadm subcomand dbstatus is used to determine how the package internal database is implemented. The dbstatus command returns a string that indicates the type of internal database in use. In the current implementation, the dbstatus command always returns the string text, which indicates that the contents(4) package database is inuse. Future releases of Solaris might supply alternative database implementations.


The following options are supported:

–a app

If this option is used, then the command only affects the keystore associated with a particular application. Otherwise, the global keystore is affected.

–e keyfile

When adding a non-trusted certificate/key combination, this option can be used to specify the file that contains the private key. If this option is not used, the private key must be in the same file as the certificate being added.

–f format

When adding certificates, this specifies the format to expect certificates and private keys in. Possible values when adding are:


Certificate and any private key uses PEM encoding.


Certificate and any private key uses DER encoding.

When printing certificates, this specifies the output format used when printing. Acceptable values for format are:


Output each certificate using PEM encoding.


Output each certificate using DER encoding.


Output each certificate in human-readable format.

–k keystore

Overrides the default location used when accessing the keystore.

–n name

Identifies the entity in the store on which you want to operate. When adding a user certificate, or removing certificates, this name is required. The name is associated with the certificate/key combination, and when adding, can be used later to reference the entity. When printing certificates, if no alias is supplied, then all keystore entities are printed.

–o outfile

Output the result of the command to outfile. Only used when examining (printing) certificates from the key store. Standard out is the default.

–P passarg

Password retrieval method to use to decrypt keystore specified with –k, if required. See PASS PHRASE ARGUMENTS in pkgadd(1M) for more information about the format of this option's argument. console is the default.

–p import_passarg

This option's argument is identical to –P, but is used for supplying the password used to decrypt the certificate and/or private key being added. console is the default.


(Applies to sync subcommand.) Shuts down the contents file cache daemon.

–R rootpath

Defines the full name of a directory to use as the root (/) path. The default user location of the certificate operations is ${HOME}/.pkg. If the –R option is supplied, the certificates and keys will be stored under <altroot>/var/sadm/security. Note that this operation fails if the user does not have sufficient permissions to access this directory. The listcert command requires read permission, while addcert and removecert require both read and write permission.

Note - The root file system of any non-global zones must not be referenced with the –R option. Doing so might damage the global zone's file system, might compromise the security of the global zone, and might damage the non-global zone's file system. See zones(5).

Indicates the certificate being added is a trusted CA certificate. The details of the certificate (including the Subject Name, Validity Dates, and Fingerprints) are printed and the user is asked to verify the data. This verification step can be skipped with –y. When importing a trusted certificate, a private key should not be supplied, and will be rejected if supplied. Once a certificate is trusted, it can be used as a trust anchor when verifying future untrusted certificates.


Print version associated with packaging tools.


When adding a trusted certificate, the details of the certificate (Subject name, Issuer name, Validity dates, Fingerprints) are shown to the user and the user is asked to verify the correctness before proceeding. With –y, this additional verification step is skipped.


Print help message.


The following operand is supported:


File containing the certificate and optional private key, used when adding a trust anchor or certificate/key combination. Certificates must be encoded using PEM or binary DER.


All keystore entries (user cert/key and trusted certificate entries) are accessed via unique aliases. Aliases are case-sensitive.

An alias is specified when you add an entity to a keystore using the addcert or trustcert subcommand. If an alias is not supplied for a trust anchor, the trust anchor's Common Name is used as the alias. An alias is required when adding a signing certificate or chain certificate. Subsequent pkgcert or other package tool commands must use this same alias to refer to the entity.


See the pkgadd(1M) man page for a description of the passwords supplied to the pkgadm utility.


Example 1 Adding a Trust Anchor

The following example adds a well-known and trusted certificate to be used when verifying signatures on packages.

example% pkgadm addcert -t /tmp/certfile.pem

Example 2 Adding a Signing Certificate

The following example adds a signing certificate and associated private key, each of which is in a separate file, which can then be used to sign packages.

example% pkgadm addcert -a pkgtrans -e /tmp/keyfile.pem \
Example 3 Printing Certificates

The following example prints all certificates in the root keystore.

example% pkgadm listcert

Exit Status


successful completion


fatal error


See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

Interface Stability

See Also

pkginfo(1), pkgmk(1), pkgparam(1), pkgproto(1), pkgtrans(1), svcs(1), installf(1M), pkgadd(1M), pkgask(1M), pkgrm(1M), removef(1M), svcadm(1M), admin(4), contents(4), exec_attr(4), pkginfo(4), attributes(5), rbac(5), smf(5)

Packaging and Delivering Software With the Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11.3


The service for pkgadm is managed by the service management facility, smf(5), under the service identifier:


Administrative actions on this service, such as enabling, disabling, or requesting restart, can be performed using svcadm(1M). The service's status can be queried using the svcs(1) command.