About Software Management and Patch Releases
Software management involves keeping your Oracle Database software up-to-date
with the latest product fixes. When a product defect, or a bug, is discovered, a patch is
created to fix the problem. A patch corrects a single defect in the installed software.
Individual patches, also referred to as interim patches, are made available to
customers who for business reasons cannot wait until the next patch set to receive the
Oracle periodically issues maintenance releases for its software, in the form of patch
sets. A patch set is a collection of product fixes that have been released up to the time
of the maintenance release. Patch sets are fully tested and integrated product fixes. All
the product fixes in the patch set have been tested and are certified to work with each
Every patch or patch set is associated with a bug number for identification purposes.
Patch sets are also associated with version numbers. For example, if you use Oracle
Database 11g Release 1 (188.8.131.52), then an available patch set might be 184.108.40.206. The
version number of the patched software does not change if an interim patch is applied.
Every patch has an associated README file that describes how it fixes the software.
The README file also has instructions for applying the patch.
Every patch set is accompanied by a Patch Set Notes file that contains installation
instructions and information about the product fixes contained within the patch set.
When you apply a patch set to your Oracle software, you change the maintenance
release number for your installed software. Applying a patch set affects the software
residing in your Oracle home only, with no change to the data in the database.
You can use Oracle OPatch and Oracle Universal Installer (OUI) to apply patches and
patch sets respectively. Alternatively, you can automate the application of these
patches using Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control. Use of these products is
beyond the scope of this documentation.
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