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OpenSolaris 2008.11 Image Packaging System Guide
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Actions in IPS

IPS manages software in units of packages. Packaging a product aids in easy distribution and installation of the software product.

A package is a collection of files, directories, links, drivers, and dependencies in a defined format. This collection represents the installable objects of a package. In IPS terminology, this collection is referred to as actions.

Actions are described in a package's manifest. Every action consists primarily of its name and a key attribute. Together, these attributes refer to a unique object and include a version history. Actions can have other attributes. Some of these attributes are interpreted directly by the packaging system, others are useful only to the system administrator or the end user.

Note - The attributes of a package are different from the attributes of an action. See the Package Attributes and Tags section to learn about the supported tags and attributes for a package.

Typically, only an action's key attribute is required, though some actions might work properly only with a more complete set of attributes.

The following list provides an overview of the type of actions and their standard attributes that are available with IPS. For additional details, see the pkg(5) man page.

Note - pkg(5) refers to the image packaging system and is different from the pkg(1) command, which is the retrieval client and is used to create, install, and manage images on the system

Note - The following table shows a list of the actions and their key attributes. For a complete list, refer to the pkg(5) man page.

Table 3-2 Actions and Key Attributes


Description and Key Attributes


The directory action represents a directory as a file system object.

path – The filesystem path where the file is installed.


The file action represents an ordinary file as a file system object.

path – The file system path where the file is installed.


The link action represents a symbolic link.

path – The file system path where the symlink is installed.


The hardlink action represents a physical link.

path – The file system path where the link is installed.


The driver action represents a device driver. It does not reference a payload, the driver files must be installed as file actions.

name – The name of the driver. This is usually, but not always, the file name of the driver binary.


The depend action represents a dependency between packages. A package might depend on another package to work or to install. Dependencies are optional.

No key attribute defined.


The license action represents a license or other information associated with the package contents. A package can deliver licenses or disclaimers to the package installer through the use of the license action. The payload of the license action is delivered into the image metadata directory associated with the package.

license – The keyword identifying the license type, for use in filter and query operations


The legacy action represents package data used by a legacy packaging system. The attributes associated with this action are added to the legacy system's databases so that the tools querying those databases might operate as if the legacy package were actually installed.

pkg – The abbreviation for the package being installed. The name of the package in the package FMRI is the default value.


The set action represents a package-level attribute, such as the package description.

No key attribute defined.


The group action defines a UNIX® group as defined in group(4). No support is present for group passwords. Groups defined with this action initially have no user-list. Users can be added with the user action.

No key attribute defined.


The User action defines a UNIX user as defined in /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow, /etc/group and /etc/ftpd/ftpusers files. Users defined with this attribute have entries added to the appropriate files.

No key attribute defined.

Package Attributes and Tags

The attributes and tags of a package can be set with the set action.

Packages carry information about themselves in the form of metadata, which is also informally known as attributes and tags. Attributes refer to settings that apply to an entire package. Tags are the settings that affect individual files within a package. The package developer provides specific information about the package through the tags and attributes.

The pkg attribute is the attribute that is common to all packages, regardless of any particular OS platforms that a specific package might target.

The IPS packages can contain the following set of tags and attributes.

Table 3-3 Package Attributes



Package Name :

Short, descriptive name of the package.

Package Description : pkg.description

A short paragraph describing the package.

Package URL: pkg.detailed_url

Used to provide links to sites with further information about the package.

Table 3-4 Tags



Debug Information: pkg.debug

Used to specify if the package needs to be installed in a debug configuration.


Distinguishes between different x86 platforms.

The opensolaris attribute is the attribute that is common to all OpenSolaris packages.

Note - In the following table, except ISA attribute, all attributes have opensolaris appended to them. For example, the attribute arc.url should be specified as opensolaris.arc_url.

Table 3-5 OpenSolaris Attributes

OpenSolaris Attribute



One or more URLs associated with the ARC case(s) associated with the component(s) delivered by the package.


A human readable string describing the entity that provides the package. For an individual, this string is their name, or name and email address.


Distinguishes between different x86 platforms.


A human—readable string describing the entity that creates the software. For an individual, this string is expected to be the individual's name, or name and email.


A URL associated with the entity that creates the software delivered within the package.


A URL to the source code bundle, if appropriate, for the package.


A URL to the source code repository, if appropriate, for the package.


A changeset ID for the version of the source code contained in opensolaris.repository_url attribute.


A list of labels classifying the package into the categories shared among pkg(5)graphical clients.

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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire