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HP-UX System Administrator's Guide: Overview: HP-UX 11i Version 3 > Chapter 3 Major Components of HP-UX

Operating System and Software (Installation, Modification, and Removal)


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Software is distributed in many forms (tar files, zip archives, and so on). HP-UX supports many of the utilities that are used to distribute software; however, in the world of HP-UX, one format is preferred above all others: Software Distributor (SD).

Software Distributor

Software Distributor is a collection of tools used for installing, maintaining, and distributing applications and other software on HP-UX servers. It is the format HP uses to distribute HP-UX and many other HP-UX related applications.

In addition to being a distribution format — which can reside on top of tar, cpio, ISO_9660, HFS, VxFS, and most other physical file storage methods — Software Distributor maintains an Installed Product Database that contains information about what applications and software are currently installed on servers, version information about that software, and other important attributes about the installed software. The installed product database is used by the SD utilities to maintain the applications on a server.

Software Distributor is multi-server aware. Software packages (known as software depots) can be maintained on one server and used by another server to install the associated packages.

The section “Software Distributor (SD)” describes the individual components that make up Software Distributor. The document Software Distributor Administration Guide fully describes this technology.

Other Software Operating System Installation Technologies

There are several other pieces of the software installation picture:


If you need to install a common set of HP-UX software on multiple systems and would like to do it at one time, from one location, you can use Ignite/UX. See “Ignite-UX”.


The update-ux command updates the HP-UX operating system from new HP-UX media. See the manpage update-ux(1M) for details.

Dynamic Root Disk

Dynamic Root Disk is an HP-UX system administration tool set used to clone an HP-UX system image to a disk other than that from which the system is currently booted, for purposes of software maintenance and recovery. In this way, you can install software and patches to a clone of your current system without affecting the running system. Then, when an opportunity to reboot the system is available, the patched or updated clone can be booted. This reduces system downtime to just the time it takes to reboot to the clone. Also, if necessary, the changes can be quickly backed out by simply rebooting to the original clone.

Software Manager

Software Manager is used by Ignite-UX and Update-UX to perform software installation. Software Manager improves software selection, provides support for OEs, and provides update support for preview and a terminal user interface (TUI). See the manpages swm(1M) and swm-oeupdate(1M) for more details.

Further Reading about Software Maintenance on HP-UX

See also the following manpages for additional information about various software packaging utilities supported by HP-UX:


The ar command maintains groups of files combined into a single archive file. Its main use is to create and update library files as used by the link editor (see ld(1)). It can be used, however, for any similar purpose.


The cpio command saves and restores archives of files on magnetic tape, other devices, or a regular file, and copies files from one directory to another while replicating the directory tree structure.


The gzip command compresses files to save disk space. It can compress single files or whole directory structures, packaging the files of the directory structure into a single archive in the process.


The pax command extracts, writes, and lists archive files and copies files and directory hierarchies. A more contemporary utility, pax performs basically the same functions as the older (still available) utilities cpio and tar.


sd — overview of Software Distributor: commands to create, distribute, install, monitor, and manage software.


The shar command bundles the named files and directories into a distribution package suitable for mailing or moving to a new location. Use the posix shell (/usr/bin/sh) to unpack the archive. If any named files contain unusual data, shar uses uuencode to protect the data from certain mailers that do not properly handle the file’s native format. See uuencode(1). If uuencode is used to encode the data, a uudecode script is included in the shar package so that the shell can still be used to unpack the archive.


The tar command saves and restores archives of files on a magnetic tape or in a disk file.

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