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Differences between Notes/Domino Maintenance Releases, Fix Packs & Upgrade Packs



This document provides an explanation of the differences between Lotus Notes and Domino Maintenance Releases, Fix Packs and Upgrade Packs.


What is a Maintenance Release?

Maintenance Releases (MR) are scheduled updates containing a large number of Server and Client fixes. They contain 500 to as many as 2,000 fixes. Maintenance Releases are shipped more frequently (1-2 times a year) shortly after a feature release ships, and less frequently as a release matures. Maintenance Releases undergo extensive testing which includes: bug fix verification, regression testing, interoperability testing with products that work with Notes/Domino, and are deployed in a production environment.

What is a Fix Pack?

Fix Packs (FP) are released periodically between Maintenance Releases to provide a greater level of stability for customer environments. They contain a small number of safe fixes that help to address the issues the broader customer base is or is likely to experience. The SPRs selected to be fixed focus on bad regressions, crashes, hangs, security issues, data loss issues, and critical functional bugs. To ensure quality, the triage criteria for inclusion in a fix pack targets safe fixes that have been deployed in a production environment, doesn't impact translation, and doesn't contain new features.  By delivering a limited number of fixes in a smaller package, customers can deploy with less testing and less risk then a bigger Maintenance Release.  Customers can also spend the time needed to validate a Maintenance Release before deploying, while utilizing Fix Packs in the interim to address the bulk of the more pervasive issues. Fix Packs undergo testing which includes: bug fix verification, targeted regression testing, interoperability testing with products that work with Notes/Domino, and are deployed in a production environment.

Starting with Release 8.0.2 Fix Pack 1, Fix Packs will be available for both the Client and Server. Prior Fix Packs were for the Server only. Fix Packs are cumulative and contain all of the fixes from earlier Fix Packs. For example, 7.0.2 Fix Pack 3 contains all of the fixes found in 7.0.2 Fix Pack 1 and 7.0.2 Fix Pack 2. Fix Pack fixes are also included in the next shipping Maintenance Release. Customers unable to upgrade to later Maintenance Releases will want to install Fix Packs to benefit from later fixes made to the product. By providing a small number of fixes, customers are able to accept fewer code changes with lower risk, allowing them to "patch" an older Maintenance Release until a more extensive upgrade to the current Maintenance Release is possible.

Fix Packs provide important fixes and IBM strongly recommends applying the latest Fix Pack available for a Maintenance Release, but IBM still recommends that customers upgrade to the latest Maintenance Release plus Fix Pack combination to receive the broadest set of fixes available. You will receive more overall fixes with a later Maintenance Release plus Fix Pack than with a set of Fix Packs on top of an earlier maintenance Release.

What is an Upgrade Pack?

An Upgrade Pack is an optional update for a specific new feature. NOTE: Prior to the 8.5.3 Maintenance Release, Upgrade Packs were referred to as Interim Feature Releases (IFR).

Comparison Table

Maintenance Release
Fix Pack
Upgrade Pack
Pre-ship Testing and Validation Extensive Extensive Extensive
Number of fixes 500+ Typically 50+ Feature release only
Types of fixes Mix of high & low impact High impact Feature release only
Client and/or Server Client & Server Client & Server starting in 8.0.2 FP1 Server or Client
Availability 1-2 times per year As needed As needed
Installation Full Notes installation Bug fixes applied to base Modification to full install
Platforms and Languages Specific installer for each language All; single install functions on all language versions All; single install functions on all language versions
Note about Mass Deployment:
  • To mass deploy an Interim Fix (hotfix) or Fix Pack for the Notes client, your options are to use the Notes/Domino Smart Upgrade feature and/or the Smart Upgrade RunAs (SuRunAs) utility.
  • While the Domino Update Site feature can be used to deploy plug-in updates, it cannot be used to deploy Notes client code fixes.

General Q&A

If there is both a client and server Fix Pack, do you have to install both?
Just like any prior release, where different client and server versions interoperate, the same is true with Fix Packs. They do not need to be running the same version.

Can you install fixes for Notes 8.x Standard Configuration clients on Notes 8.x Basic Configuration clients (or vice versa).
No. Be sure to download and apply the fix type specific to the configuration (mode) of Notes 8.x you are running.

Is it possible to combine a Notes maintenance release (e.g. 8.5.1) with a Fix Pack (e.g. 8.5.1 FP1) into a single install kit? I am interested in reducing the size of the installation kit and not have to install two discreet packages.
While it is not possible to combine the kits into a single MSI package, customers can execute the two install packages serially and silently, in essence having a single install package that executes two discreet installs underneath and silently (if desired). In the future, we hope to reduce the size of patches.

How do client MU I ( Multilingual User Interface) packs work with client Fix Packs? MUI packs for Notes 8.0.2.x and 8.5.x should be installed before fixes to avoid install issues. See technote #1404436 for details. MUIs produced in 8.5.1 and above will address this issue.

How are Fix Packs announced?
The status and subsequent announcement of Fix Packs can be found in the Notes/Domino Fix List on developerWorks.

Where can you find Fix Packs? Are CDs available?
Fix Packs are available for download at Fix Central. CDs are not made available. You can find direct download links to Fix Packs in the following technotes:

Related information

Maintenance update on Lotus Notes and Domino 8.0.x
Index of Maintenance Releases Fix Packs and additional
Support Content Highlights Newsletter
A simplified Chinese translation is available

Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Messaging Applications IBM Notes 8.5, 8.0, 7.0

Document information

More support for: IBM Domino

Software version: 7.0, 8.0, 8.5

Operating system(s): Windows

Reference #: 1368141

Modified date: 05 June 2012

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