You can expect any operating system release to contain problematic issues in a number of its programs and scripts no matter how rigorous the testing procedure. It’s possible to overcome these problems by installing patches. A patch is a group of files and directories that replace existing files and directories that are preventing proper execution of the software.
Patches are distributed through a directory format, identifiable by a unique number. This number is made up of a base code then a hyphen followed by the number that represents the patch revision number. For example, in the case of a patch directory called 101945-03, the base code is 101945 and 03 is the revision number.
Software and securiy
Generally, patches replace just a few files but occasionally, patches insert new files instead of replacing existing ones. The two main types of problems patches address are software bugs and security problems. Software bugs occur because of programming errors in the software or compatibility issues. A software bug can be a basic problem such as failure of a program to execute an option from its man page. More serious problems can lead to program crashes under heavy system loads or under exceptional circumstances.
Security problems don’t necessarily arise because of bugs in the software. They are more likely to crop up through weaknesses in the software that unwelcome users exploit in gaining authorized access to your system. Chinks in the software security armor can also allow unauthorized users to orchestrate denial of service (DOS) attacks against your system. DOS strikes can crash a system or leave it unusable. In either case, legitimate users will lose the ability to access your system.