Solaris 9's slow patch installs
Yesterday was my first time installing the Solaris 9 recommended patch set on a production machine; we rolled it onto a basically unpatched server. Because it was a server, I did it in single user mode (the patch set recommends this, as some patches in the patch set say explicitly to apply them in single-user mode).
I already knew that installing the patch set was achingly slow on my test machine, but my test machine is an Ultra 10 so I wasn't surprised. The machine from yesterday was a Sunfire V210, which has modern CPUs and more importantly modern amounts of memory and fast SCSI disks.
It still took an hour.
There are 134 patches in the patch set, so Solaris was only able to average a patch every 26 seconds. Considering how much work a modern machine can do in 26 seconds, I believe I can safely say that the Solaris patch install system is hideously inefficient.
(And, as previously noted it spews incomprehensible and alarming messages on the screen.)
Fortunately it doesn't demand I answer any questions during its run, so next time around I'll know to just go back to my office for a while. Still, an hour is an irritatingly long time to have a production server down in single-user mode.