Keeping OPatch up-to-date: an object lesson

I just did something silly while applying the January 2010 PSU to an 11gR1 ORACLE_HOME, and thought I'd share, in case someone else is Googling for the error message.

[oracle@dbserv patches]$ cd 9209238
[oracle@dbserv 9209238]$ opatch apply

Invoking OPatch
Oracle Interim Patch Installer version
Copyright (c) 2007, Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved.
(some OPatch output snipped)

ApplySession failed: Patch ID is null.
System intact, OPatch will not attempt to restore the system

OPatch failed with error code 73

A closer look at the installation prereqs reveals the following statement: "You must use the OPatch utility version or later," which I confess that I missed the first time around. D'oh. After installing the latest version of OPatch, the "opatch apply" command worked as expected.

Lessons reinforced:

  1. Even if you think you're up-to-date on prerequisites, triple-checking is a good idea
  2. Even humble tools like the OPatch utility can change pretty frequently
  3. Test systems are useful for testing your patching process, not just patches themselves

(Everyone join in, now: "Thanks, Mr. Obvious, you're a life saver!") :-P

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