IBM Program temporary fix

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Program temporary fix or Product temporary fix (PTF), depending on date, is the standard IBM locution to designate a single bug fix, or group of fixes, distributed in a form ready to install for customers. They are often explained in tongue-in-cheek manner as permanent temporary fix or more practically probably this fixes, because customers have the option to make the PTF a permanent part of the operating system if the patch fixes the problem.

PTF usage[edit]

PTFs used to be distributed in a group on a so-called Program Update Tape (PUT) or Recommended Service Upgrade (RSU), approximately on a monthly basis. They can now be downloaded straight to the system through a direct connection to IBM support. In some instances IBM will release a "Cumulative PTF Pack", a large number of fixes which function best as a whole, and are sometimes codependent. When this happens, IBM issues compact discs containing the entire PTF pack, which can be loaded directly onto the system from its media drive. The PTFs are processed using SMP/E (System Modification Program/Extended) in several stages over a course of weeks.

  1. Receive (load) the proper PTF to the HA (non-production) system
  2. Apply the PTF to the HA system, and review the system's performance over multiple weeks to ensure it does not hinder your productivity or functionality
  3. Receive and apply the PTF to the production system and monitor its effects for several weeks

If the system is hindered by the PTF, a system administrator may sometimes reject (un-apply) the PTF and seek further support from IBM. However, if no problems are found after the PTF is applied, it can be permanently installed, accepted, or committed, to the system.

These repairs to IBM software are often in response to APARs (Authorised Program Analysis Reports) submitted by customers and others and acted on by IBM, and are a common first step to resolving software errors. It is generally expected by the customer that the problem would be fully corrected in the next release (version) of the relevant product.

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