NetWare 5.1 has been out for quite a while now, and Novell did a good job of making sure that it was stable and reliable. Inevitably, however, problems occur. To counter these, Novell recently released Support Pack 6. Here’s what you need to know about Support Pack 6, including how to install it.
Support Pack 6 with NetWare 5? Just say no
Support Pack 6 for NetWare 5.1 works only with NetWare 5.1 servers. If you’re running NetWare 5.0, do not install Support Pack 6. Instead, download and install Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0. Likewise, don’t install Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0 on a NetWare 5.1 server. Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5.0 files won’t work properly on a NetWare 5.1 server, even though the files are newer with Support Pack 6a for NetWare 5 and many of the NetWare 5.1 and NetWare 5 files and support pack files have the same filenames.
Why do I need Support Pack 6?
NetWare is basically a stable platform; once you have it up and running, you don’t need to do much to it. Even though NetWare 5.1 was developed from the solid foundation of NetWare 5, which itself came from the bedrock of the NetWare 4.x generation, bugs are still hiding in the software.
Support Pack 6 fixes these hidden bugs by updating and replacing almost all system components in NetWare 5.1. But be careful—no software is perfect, and support packs frequently cause more problems than they fix. In the past, Novell has had to recall and rerelease support packs due to unforeseen problems. For this reason, many NetWare administrators install support packs only if they’re having a problem specifically fixed by the support pack. This is a pretty good strategy. If you’re not having any problems, why risk introducing them through a support pack?
Even if you’re not experiencing problems with your server, you might still consider applying the support pack. If you do have any problems with your NetWare 5.1 server in the future and try to call Novell’s Support hotline, the support staff won’t talk to you until you’ve installed Support Pack 6. Applying the support pack up front can save you time later and squash any lurking bugs that you’ve been fortunate to avoid so far.
Unlike the myriad of patches Novell supplied with NetWare 3.x and 4.x, Support Pack 6 includes all of the patches you need for NetWare 5.1 in one file, including fixes released in Support Packs 5, 4, 3, 2a, and 1. You don’t need to install any previous patch file before you install Support Pack 6.
Fixes in Support Pack 6
Support Pack 6 fixes numerous hidden problems with NetWare 5.1. For a complete list of bug fixes, visit Novell’s Support Web site. Fixes that Support Pack 6 addresses include the following:
- Patches a security hole in Xconsole
- Fixes DNS returning errors for MX and SOA queries
- IMonitor no longer subject to DoS attacks
- FILESYS.NLM no longer hangs during searches
Fixes carried over from previous support packs
Fixes carried over from earlier support packs include solutions to the following:
- CIFS won’t save roaming profiles if the profile contains an empty directory.
- NetWare’s DHCP server sometimes won’t return a nondefault Renewal Time value and Rebinding Time value.
- A memory leak in NAMED.NLM can cause your server to deplete server RAM.
- If you Telnet to port 21, the server can reach a CPU utilization of 100 percent.
- The server can suffer a Disk Block abend when decompressing files.
- Valueless attributes in NDS objects can cause -632 errors.
- DSRepair may consume large amounts of disk space.
- Daylight saving time calculations are wrong in time zones that do not use daylight savings and for time zones in the Southern hemisphere.
- Memory leaks exist in THREAD.NLM.
- Abends may occur when exiting utilities such as UNICON, TCPCON, IPXCON, INETCFG, MONITOR, and DSREPAIR.
- SERVER.EXE may abend if an NLM unloads from a protected address space without deleting all of its processes.
- Abends may occur when you down Netscape Enterprise Server.
- NT 4.8 Client ignores SLP multicast replies.
- NSS Volume objects disappear on hosting servers. Servers that don’t have a replica of their own volume objects purge the external reference objects of their NSS volumes despite the fact that they are still required.
New features for NetWare 5.1 in Support Pack 6
Novell has done more than just fix bugs with Support Pack 6. It has also taken the opportunity to release new features for NetWare 5.1, such as:
- A new version of DS.NLM.
- The ability to administer TimeSync from NetWare Remote Manager.
- A Screens link in the NetWare Management Portal, which allows you to launch remote console sessions from the NetWare GUI.
- An enhancement that allows NDS to cache its objects into memory.
- Added directory space limitations for NSS.
- Improvements in the NetWare FTP server, including enhancements to anonymous logins and privileges, FTP restrictions, and a better Web Manager interface.
Where can I get it?
There are two versions of Support Pack 6. One version contains language packs for every language supported by NetWare 5.1. The other contains only the English-language files. For the purposes of this article, I’ll discuss the English version only. The fixes are identical, but you’ll shave off about 80 MB of download time by downloading the English-only version because it’s smaller.
You can get Support Pack 6 on Novell’s Support site at the NetWare 5.1 Support Pack 6 page, where you can view detailed information about the support pack and go to the download page. To download the file, click the link with the NW51SP6E.EXE filename.
Select the location to which to download the file. Make sure you have plenty of time or a very fast Internet connection. Novell’s Support Pack 6 for NetWare 5.1 is a monster at 368,684,307 bytes. On a standard 56K modem, the file can take several hours to download. Even on my T1 connection, the entire file took almost an hour to download.
Consolidated Support Pack CD
If you prefer to have the files on CD rather than downloading them from the Internet, you can order Novell’s Consolidated Support Pack CD. It includes the latest support packs for NetWare 5.x, NetWare 6, BorderManager, and GroupWise.
The CD is $49 plus shipping and handling, and Novell plans to update it every three months. If you currently subscribe to Novell’s Support Connection CD, you’ll receive the Consolidated Support Pack CD automatically. For more information, see the Consolidated Support Pack CD Web site.
After you download the file to a temporary file on your hard drive, run the self-extracting executable to unpack the file. You can extract the file to the root directory of your server’s SYS volume or your workstation’s C: drive. If you’re updating multiple servers, you might find it handier to extract the installation files to your workstation and install the support pack to your servers from there. When you extract the files from NW51SP6E.EXE, you’ll notice more than 1,400 files taking up in excess of 425 MB.
Support pack caveats
Be aware of a few minor issues before you install the support pack. After you’ve finished installing the support pack, or if you install new software after applying the support pack, you may have to go back and make some adjustments to your server’s configuration. The main problems associated with Support Pack 6 include the following:
- You may need to increase the number of file handles in the CONFIG.SYS file on your server. Make sure the files contain a line that says files=100 or greater. If the file handles are set too low, the server may abend or NLMs may fail to load.
- The new JVM with Support Pack 6 won’t support 16 colors in standard VGA. Make sure the video card in your server can run in 256 colors in Super VGA mode. If it won’t, replace the card before applying the support pack.
- WebSphere won’t run on the JVM included with the support pack. If you’re using WebSphere, make sure you’re running JVM 1.2.2 or earlier.
- If you’ve previously installed the Apache Web server on your server, you might receive errors during the support pack installation. You can ignore the errors.
- If you install GroupWise 5.5 on your NetWare 5.1 server after applying Support Pack 6, you may have problems with NetWare Administrator. GroupWise 5.5’s installation program overwrites the version of NetWare Administrator on your server with one older than the version included with Support Pack 6. After installing GroupWise, reinstall Support Pack 6.
- If you use Symantec Norton AntiVirus Enterprise 7.5, you may encounter a Page Fault error on your server. You can download an update from Symantec to fix this problem. It doesn’t occur with Symantec Norton AntiVirus Enterprise 7.6 or later versions.
For a complete list of the issues associated with the support pack, read the NW51_ISS.TXT file that comes with the support pack.
Installing the support pack
The installation may take some time, so consider installing it over a weekend or after business hours. If you run multiple NetWare 5.1 servers, you should upgrade them all at once. Likewise, if you have NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers in your tree, update them at the same time as your NetWare 5.1 servers. Make sure you have several good backups of your entire network, especially your NDS database, before installing a support pack.
If possible, install Support Pack 6 in a test environment before rolling it out to all of your NetWare 5.1 servers, especially if you use many third-party NLMs for such things as backups or network management. Novell tries very hard to make sure that support packs don’t break third-party applications, but it can’t test everything. If you double-check your NLMs in advance, you may save yourself some headaches.
You have the choice to install the support pack from your server’s console or from a workstation. If you plan to install the support pack from your workstation, make sure you have RSPX and RConsole loaded on your server—using RConsole is probably the easiest choice if you have many servers to update. After loading RConsole on all of the servers, you’ll connect to each server one at a time and apply the support pack to them in succession.
To begin applying Support Pack 6, type LOAD NWCONFIG at your server’s console prompt and press [Enter]. You’ll see the NetWare Configuration screen. Highlight Product Options on the Configuration Options menu and press [Enter]. You’ll then see the Other Installation Actions menu. Highlight Install A Product Not Listed and press [Enter]. By default, NWConfig tries to install new products from the A: drive. To change this, press [F3] to specify a location on your server. If you’re running RConsole, you can press [F4] to specify a location on your workstation. Type the path to the location where you extracted the NW51SP6E.EXE files and press [Enter].
NWConfig will copy a few of the support pack files and then display license screens. Press [Esc] to dismiss each license screen after you read it and agree to its terms. If you’ve previously installed Java on your NetWare 5.1 server, NWConfig will ask if you want to upgrade from your previously installed version. Select Yes if you plan to use Java on your server.
NWConfig will then ask whether you want it to back up files that it’s going to replace. This backup procedure doesn’t replace the full backup you did before you started installing the support pack—it only copies older files to a backup directory in case you need to back out the support pack. As I said, Support Pack 6 may not be compatible with some of your third-party NLMs. If you don’t allow Support Pack 6 to back up files, you may have problems backing out the support pack.
NWConfig will also ask if you want to update any LAN drivers on your server. If you’re not having any problems with your current LAN drivers, you may want to select No rather than create potential problems. Next, NWConfig will ask if you want to reboot the server after installation. You’ll have to reboot anyway to make the support pack take effect; however, you should select No and press [Enter] to continue. You’ll want to check your server’s NCF files before you reboot to make sure the support pack didn’t accidentally make changes you don’t want to implement.
Finally, NWConfig will ask you if you want to install Support Pack 6. This is your last chance to bail out. Select [Enter] to continue or [Esc] to exit. NWConfig will then copy the Support Pack 6 files to your server. Depending on the speed of your server, this may take some time. Don’t panic if your server’s console appears to lock up. NWConfig may swap out temporarily to load and unload additional NLMs. As long as the hard drive on your server is making noise, you’re probably okay.
NWConfig may prompt you to enter your Admin user ID and password to install LDAP Services. You’ll need to give the fully distinguished context for the Admin user object in the Administrator Name field. After you enter the ID and password, press [Enter] to continue.
Fixed and ready to go
After the files finish copying, you’re finished. Check all of your NCF files to make sure Support Pack 6 didn’t accidentally change anything. Shut down and restart your server and go back to work. You can do so by using the DOWN command, followed by EXIT, and then turning your server off and on. You can also use the RESET SERVER command at the console prompt to reboot.
Don’t forget to apply Support Pack 6 to the other NetWare 5.1 servers in your tree. Also, remember to apply Support Pack 6a to any NetWare 5 servers and Support Pack 9 to any NetWare 4.11/4.2 servers that are in the same NDS tree as your NetWare 5.1 servers. If you have NetWare 6 servers in your NDS tree, make sure you install Support Pack 3 for NetWare 6.