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Linux Patch testing

February 21st, 2006

Critical to the concept of patch management is testing. When applied indiscriminately, patches can override working drivers, break existing software, and change the links to key files. They may introduce new features that override services on which you rely. Best practices suggest that you test every patch before installing it on production computers. Ideally, you´ll have one or more extra computers available for this purpose.

Test computers may be a luxury unavailable to administrators of smaller networks. If you´re in that position, you should at least test each patch on your own administrative system. Every problem you see on your own system is one less problem that you hear about from each of your users.

There is no single method for patch testing. Testing methods are as diverse as available applications and services. I´ve divided the testing process into three categories: installation, applications, and services. In any case, always follow this maxim: Do not install a patch on a production computer before testing.Read Full Story

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