Glossary of support terms


Term Definition
APAR(Authorized program analysis report) Description of a problem resolution of an identified and accepted product defect.
BIOS (Basic input output system) An essential set of routines in a PC, which is stored on a chip and provides an interface between the operating system and the hardware.
Brochure High quality document (including artwork) that contains information such as product specifications, usage, support and services.
Certification Professional certification programs from IBM provide a structured program leading to an internationally recognized qualification in a specific area of expertise.
Driver A hardware device (typically a transistor) that provides signals or electrical current to activate a transmission. Also called a "device driver", it is a program routine that links a peripheral device to the operating system.
Downloadable file For the purposes of the ibm.com support site downloadable files are commonly executable code in the form of a "driver", "tool/utility", or "update". It also includes various online publications that can be downloaded.
FAQ (Frequently asked question) Question and answer to a frequently asked technical question.
Fix A change to a program or system intended to permanently cure a bug. Single fixes supply corrections to one file or a number of files. They usually do not include new features, functions or enhancements.
Fixpak Includes a large amount of single fixes for one component or a few components that are dependent on or related to each other. All FixPaks include SYSLEVEL information. They can include new features, functions or enhancements.
Flash Notification of product-related issues.
Forum / Discussion Group / Newsgroups An informal electronic medium where community members can share their knowledge and experience with others. Many people find answers to their questions by browsing the previously answered questions posted by other customers. These forums are not part of formal IBM support.
HAT (Hint and tip) Brief how-to information on installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and usage.
Manual IBM-warranted product documentation that normally ships with a product.
Newsletter Online or e-mail publication that highlights recent support-related documents and downloads, product announcements, and other new materials on the Web.
Online publication Refers to newsletters, periodicals for software products and installation guides, technical manuals, user guides, etc. for personal computing products.
Parts information Information about personal computing product options such as keyboards, CD-ROM drives, DVD drives, displays/monitors, hard disks, memory, modems, etc.
Passport advantage Program that provides technical assistance for customers who have purchased a consolidated support contract for Lotus and IBM software products.
Patch A temporary or quick fix to a program. The term also refers to a general purpose fix that does not actually patch a piece of the program, but is an entirely new executable module that replaces the old.
Preloaded software information Packages containing links to downloadable software for personal computing products along with installation notes and instructions.
Product information Product documentation normally shipped with a software product; for PC products, includes other types of information such as product overview, general information, warranty, technical specifications, etc.
Product specific support sites Links to IBM product pages.
PTF (Program temporary fix) cover letter Many PTF's are released between OS releases. The cover letter describes the content of the PTF or the problems being fixed.
Read me / Release notes A type of product information which is last minute documentation that gets included on the CD that ships with a product.
Redbook Technical manuals that provide positioning and guidance, installation and implementation experiences, typical solution scenarios, and step-by-step "how-to" instructions.
Solution A known fix for a specific problem.
Solution assurance Guide for going through a solution-specific process intended to assure successful installation by reviewing all prerequisite considerations.
Support Line Technical assistance for customers who have purchased an authorized support agreement.
Technote Another name for a HAT or FAQ; normally done in a "problem" and "resolution" format.
Tools / Utilities A program used for software development or system maintenance. Virtually any program or utility that helps programmers or users develop or maintain their computers or applications can be a tool. Utilities support everyday use of the computer, i.e., file management, searching, comparing files as well as performing diagnostic routines to check performance and current health of hardware.
Updates A change to the data in a file or database. The terms "update" and "upgrade" are sometimes used synonymously although "update" generally refers to adding and deleting elements and "upgrade" refers to changing to new software.
White paper Text and/or Adobe PDF documents that describe high-level solutions or strategies, or give technology and product overviews.