AIX and system P support terms


The alt_disk_install command allows users a way to update the operating system to the next release or Technology Level without taking the machine down for an extended period of time. This can be done in two ways: by installing a mksysb image on a separate disk, or by cloning the current system and then applying updates to get to the next Technology Level on a separate disk. If a problem is encountered with the new level, the bootlist command can be run after the new disk has been booted, and the bootlist can be changed to boot back to the original disk in order to get the system back to the original level.


Authorized Program Analysis Report. A formal report to IBM development, of a problem caused by a suspected defect in a current unaltered release of an IBM program.

An Authorized Program Analysis Report (APAR) associates a fix to a PMR. You can then use the APAR number to obtain the required fix. When documenting software requirements, it's best to list the APAR number rather than the PTF or PMR number. You will always be able to determine if an APAR is installed on your system using the command instfix -ivk APAR_NUMBER, whereas installed PTFs are not trackable.

Continuing with our U476294 example, the PTF contains the following APARs: IY18782, IY18936, IY18950, IY19534, IY19690 (2 defects), IY19765, IY20521, IY20877, IY20919, and IY20921.

An APAR can drag into it other APARs for fileset dependencies.

APARs and PTFs are tightly coupled in that PTFs contain multiple APAR fixes. An APAR is a single fix that is delivered using a PTF packaging.

Concluding Service Pack

(CSP) AIX 5L terminology. A CSP is the last Service Pack to be released for an AIX Technology Level. Like a Service Pack, a CSP contains fixes for highly pervasive, critical or security-related issues, but it can also contain fixes from the newly released Technology Level that fall into these categories. Thus, a CSP can contain a very small subset of service that was just released in the new Technology Level. CSPs allow for extended service on a Technology Level through the utilization of Interim Fixes


Also called a device driver, it is a program routine that links a peripheral device to the operating system.


A software maintenance package such as an interim fix, fix pack or PTF that solves one or more product defects.

Fix list

A list of the fixes currently available for a particular product.

Fix Readme

Detailed information about a fix including any special instruction.FlashAlert notification of significant product related issues.


High Impact. An APAR that describes a serious problem. The APAR should be reviewed and if applicable, the fix should be installed as soon as possible.

Interim fix

Generally, this term refers to a certified fix that is generally available to all customers between regularly scheduled fix packs or other releases. It can contain fixes for one or more product defects (APARs). The associated APARs are closed. Specifically for AIX, the term Interim Fix (IF) is used as a replacement for "emergency fix" or "efix". While the term emergency fix is still applicable in some situations (a fix given in the middle of the night with minimal testing, for example), the term Interim Fix is more descriptive in that it implies a temporary state until an update can be applied that has been through more extensive testing.

Limited availability (LA) interim fix

A fix that is offered on a limited basis. It may contain one or several APARs.

Maintenance Level

Legacy AIX terminology. A Maintenance Level (ML) is a release that contained service updates for AIX releases, but often also contained new features and functions. For AIX 5L, Maintenance Level packages have been replaced by Technology Level packages. Some Maintenance Levels are maintained online for legacy AIX releases.

Manufacturing refresh

An update to an existing product version in which the product media are completely replaced. A manufacturing refresh contains new function(s) and cumulative fixes. It is intended for new customers who want to install the current level of the product.


Beginning with AIX 5L 5300-03, the multibos utility allows the root level administrator to create and maintain two bootable instances of the AIX 5L Base Operating System (BOS) within the same root volume group (rootvg). This utility is provided primarily as an upgrade vehicle.

The multibos utility allows the administrator to access, install maintenance, update, and customize the standby instance of BOS (during setup or in subsequent customization operations) without affecting production on the running instance. Migration to later releases of AIX 5L will be supported when they are available, so that will be a future option to keep in mind.

The file systems /, /usr, /var, /opt, and /home, along with the boot logical volume, must exist privately in each instance of BOS. The administrator has the ability to share or keep private all other data in the rootvg. As a general rule, shared data should be limited to file systems and logical volumes containing data not affected by an upgrade or modification of private data.

When updating the non-running BOS instance, it is best to first update the running BOS instance with the latest available version of multibos (which is in the bos.rte.bosinst fileset).

Preloaded Software

Lists the software that comes preloaded on personal computer systems.

Preventive Service Planning

Service recommendations summary, installation information, documentation changes.

Problem Management Record

A Problem Management Record (PMR) is a tracking record for customer-reported problems.

Product Documentation

Last minute documentation that gets included on the CD shipping with products.

Product LifeCycle

Product announce and market availability, end of service dates, follow-on product upgrade.

Product Readme

Helpful information about a product, intended to be reviewed prior to product installation.


Program Temporary Fix. For System p products, a PTF is a fix that is made available to all customers. A PTF is tested by IBM. It contains a PTF record.


A pointer document describing the contents of a specific Redbook. A Redbook is a technical manual that provides positioning and guidance, installation and implementation experiences, typical solution scenarios, and step-by-step "how-to" scenarios.

Release date

This is a field that appears in a fix list in the "Details" section for a particular fix. It is the date that the fix was made available on the internet.

Release modification

A release modification is a fix that delivers new functionality for a particular Version and Release. There are two types of release modification:

Refresh pack

A cumulative collection of all of the function(s) and fixes that are available since the base version (V.R.) of the product. The refresh pack may contain function and fixes not previously released, and they can span multiple products or components. A refresh pack can be applied on top of any previously-shipped maintenance to bring the system up to the current refresh pack level. Documentation that support a release of a product, listing the modifications and fixes included in the release as additions or modifications from the prior release.

Service Pack

(SP) AIX 5L terminology. Service Packs contain service-only updates (also known as PTFs) that are grouped together for easier identification. SPs are released between Technology Levels and contain fixes for highly pervasive, critical, or security-related issues. SPs are provided for the N and N-1 releases (for example, V5.3 and V5.2) on the latest Technology Level for each release (for example, 5300-05 and 5200-09). Service Packs are cumulative.


(Sev) The severity of a particular APAR can range from one to four. Severity values are defined in the IBM Software Support Handbook (in particular with regard to how problem records should be classified, but the same guidelines apply to APARs too).

Technology Level

AIX 5L terminology. Technology Level (TL) denotes an AIX release that contains new hardware and software features, as well as service updates. A TL is release twice each year. The first TL is restricted to hardware features and enablement, in addition to software service. The second TL includes new hardware features and enablement, software service and new software features, making it the larger of the two yearly releases. The term Maintenance Level (ML) was used in the past, even though an ML release contained code for new features or functions. Technology Level is a more appropriate term for this code.

Installing a TL should be viewed as an "all or nothing" operation, meaning that requisites will be added so that the whole TL is installed, and not allow a TL to be partially installed. You should back up your system prior to installing a TL.


Documents a reported customer problem and the currently available solution to that problem. May include brief how-to information on installation, configuration, troubleshooting and usage, as well as answering frequently asked questions.

Test fix

A temporary fix that is supplied to specific customers for testing in response to a reported problem.


A program used for software development or system maintenance. Virtually any program or utility that helps programmers or users develop or maintain their computers or applications can be a tool. Utilities support everyday use of the computer ie file management, searching, comparing files as well as performing diagnostic routines to check performance and current health of hardware.


A program used for software development or system maintenance. Virtually any program or utility that helps programmers or users develop or maintain their computers or applications can be a tool. Utilities support everyday use of the computer ie file management, searching, comparing files as well as performing diagnostic routines to check performance and current health of hardware.UpgradeA new version or release of a software product.


A software tool that assists with software installation, migration, testing, configuration, administration, or development.


Version, release and modification. The combination of "version", "release" and "modification" numbers uniquely identifies the version that fixes apply to. The "version" number indicates a separate IBM licensed program that usually has significant new code or new functions. Each version potentially has multiple "releases". Each release makes available major new product functionality. Generally if new functionality is included in a delivery (modification release), then a new modification level will be created.

White Paper

Document that describes high level solutions or strategies, or give technology and/or product overviews.