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Image Packaging System

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The Image Packaging System, also known as IPS[1], is a cross-platform package management system created by the OpenSolaris community in coordination with Sun Microsystems. It is used by Solaris 11 and several Illumos-based distributions: OpenIndiana, OmniOS, XStreamOS[2] and a growing number of layered applications, including GlassFish, across a variety of Operating System platforms. IPS is coded in the Python programming language.


  • Use of ZFS, allowing multiple boot environments and easy package operation rollbacks
  • Transactional actions
  • Support for multiple platform architectures within a single package
  • Legacy support for SVR4 packages
  • Extensive search grammar
  • Remote search capability
  • Changes-only based package updates
  • Network package repository
  • File and network-based package publication
  • Package operation history
  • On-disk package format (p5p)
  • Multi-platform ports for layered applications:


Due to the fact that IPS delivers each file in a separate shelf[clarification needed] with a separate checksum, a package update only needs to replace files that have been modified. When dealing with ELF binaries, IPS computes checksums only from the loaded parts of an ELF binary[citation needed]. This means in practice that when only the ELF comment section has been changed, there would be no need to update it. However, this method of delivery can cause slower operation when the input source is on a medium with high latency (e.g. internet with higher round trip time or CD/DVD media with slow seeks).


  1. ^ "Packaging and Delivering Software With the Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11.1". Oracle Solaris 11.1 Information Library. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Distributions - illumos - illumos wiki". Illumos wiki. Retrieved 12 May 2015.

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