Browse Prior Art Database

File Format for Packaging of System Software Updates

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013231D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Document File: 4 page(s) / 65K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a description of a specialized file format which is well suited for conveying both updates of system-level software (such as BIOS images, diagnostics, device drivers, management agents, etc. and important information about the software updates. The format is intended to be usable to both a human administrator and to software programs which automate some aspects of systems management. The specialized format is hereafter referred to as the Software Image File Format (or SIFF). A SIFF file consists of two main sections. A first section, which must be located at the beginning of the file, contains printable text characters followed by an End Of File character. This first section of the file is intended for use by human operators who may wish to know what type of update is contained in a specific file. The text contained in this section may be viewed by the administrator by 'typing' the file to the console or copying it to a display device such as a printer. When displayed, the operating system shows the text characters up to the End Of File character and then stops. The Figure shows an example of the text available from such a file. Figure 1. Example of SIFF File Displayed on Console. D:\images> dir /W Volume in drive D is D_VOL Volume Serial Number os 5078-9A44

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File Format for Packaging of System Software Updates

Disclosed is a description of a specialized file format which is well suited for conveying both updates of system-level software (such as BIOS images, diagnostics, device drivers, management agents, etc. and important information about the software updates. The format is intended to be usable to both a human administrator and to software programs which automate some aspects of systems management. The specialized format is hereafter referred to as the Software Image File Format (or SIFF).

A SIFF file consists of two main sections. A first section, which must be located at the beginning of the file, contains printable text characters followed by an End Of File character. This first section of the file is intended for use by human operators who may wish to know what type of update is contained in a specific file. The text contained in this section may be viewed by the administrator by 'typing' the file to the console or copying it to a display device such as a printer. When displayed, the operating system shows the text characters up to the End Of File character and then stops. The Figure shows an example of the text available from such a file.

Figure 1. Example of SIFF File Displayed on Console.

D:\images> dir /W Volume in drive D is D_VOL Volume Serial Number os 5078-9A44

Directory of D:\images

[.] [..] P67F1234.SIF P82G5678.SIF
P8238394.SIF P19S8474.SIF P29R3383.SIF P57F8282.SIF

8 File(s) 263,182 bytes

11,730,944 bytes free

D:\images> type 82g5678.sif IBM Netfinity 7000 M10 (8680-3SY) System BIOS
P/N 82G5678
Version 2.06

1

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Build QYKT24AUS US English September 10, 1999
(C) Copyright 1981, 1999 IBM All Rights Reserved Release notes:

-none-

D:\images>

A second section of the file contains machine readable data. This second section is further divided into a header and additional 'data blocks'. The header allows software utilities which are expected to process the file to verify that they have located the end of the text portion of the file and the beginning of the machine readable portion of the file. The header may also contain information regarding the utility which created the file, the revision level of the file format, etc. Each subsequent 'data block' follows an architecturally controlled format containing fields which report the length of the block, the usage of the block, a check value for verifying integrity of the block, and information which is specific to the type of data block

Each data block may be used to convey a useful piece of information regarding the software update, including (but not limited to):

  - a description of the update (such as a title, revision level, build ID number, revision date, etc.

  - hardware prerequisite information (such as the requirement for a specific system platform
or adapter card) - software prerequisite information (such as the requirement for a specific revision level of firmware
or a specific device driver) - co-requisite informat...