With DST nigh, here's the latest on vendor patches, fixes

Updated daylight-saving time repair information from major IT vendors

With the move to daylight-saving time (DST) fast approaching, IT vendors are still posting last-minute software and hardware fixes to resolve any problems associated with the time change, which goes into effect at 2 a.m. local time this coming Sunday.

Some companies plan to have IT staffers working over the weekend to make sure the change goes smoothly. Others have said they're ready for the clocks to move forward an hour.

For those still applying patches, work-arounds and quick fixes, here's a sampling of major IT vendors and their current DST patch and information status:

  • Apple Inc. -- Mac OS X has already been updated to handle the DST change through an update pushed out to users by the company's automatic update feature. More information on Apple DST updates for older operating systems can be found at the Apple Web site.
  • BEA Systems Inc. -- BEA WebLogic users can get information on how to deal with the DST changes at the company's Web site.
  • CA Inc. -- CA enterprise customers who have software service agreements can get DST updates for their CA products through the company's support site, where users can find a complete list of products and their DST status (download PDF).
  • Cisco Systems Inc. -- Information on DST issues and Cisco products can be found at the vendor's Web site.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co. -- HP has assembled information on its DST updates and patches for its products at a special Web page.
  • IBM -- Details about the DST changes for a wide range of IBM products can be found at the vendor's special DST Web site, along with more specific information about problems related to Sun's Java.
  • Microsoft Corp. -- The new Windows Vista operating system already includes the updated DST rules, but earlier versions of Windows will need to be changed. For Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Microsoft released a single global time-zone update, which will include updates for the U.S. time change. A detailed summary of the effects of the DST changes on Microsoft products is available at the company's Web site.

    Earlier versions of Windows, including XP SP1 and NT 4.0, are no longer supported, but can be patched manually using Microsoft's tzedit.exe utility. That allows administrators to create and edit time-zone entries for the Date/Time settings in the Control Panel. Other affected applications include Windows Server, Windows Mobile, Windows SharePoint Services, Exchange Server, Office Outlook, Dynamics CRM, Biztalk Server and Entourage, according to the company.

    The most recent DST patch, released last week, is for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 application.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. -- Sun has created a portal page with DST information for all Sun products. Sun is offering free patches for its Solaris Unix operating systems, Versions 8, 9 and 10; Patches for Versions 5, 6 and 7 will only be provided for a fee, according to the company. And patches for Java applications, including the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), will have to be applied, according to the vendor.

    More recent JRE versions -- including Java SE 6 or later, J2SE 5.0 Update 6 or later, J2SE 1.4.2_11 or later and J2SE 1.3.1_18 or later -- already include new time rules, according to Sun. Older versions can be replaced with the newer, corrected versions, or administrators can use Sun's tzupdater tool from the Java SE download page to update Versions 1.4 or later.

    Users of older Solaris operating systems do have another alternative to updating the systems with newer releases, however. At least one third-party vendor, Terix Computer Service, has announced free software to update the DST features in Sun Solaris 5, 6 and 7.

Several third-party software vendors are offering automated applications that can help identify and patch some DST issues.

Numara Software Inc. in Tampa, Fla., is offering free trials of its Numara Track-It and Numara Asset Manager applications, which look at a computer's operating system to correct DST problems. Tony Thomas, a Numara product manager, said users can install the applications and get some status reports on their Windows systems within three to four hours. Other operating systems, including Linux, Unix and Macintosh, can be evaluated through more detailed manual configuring, he said.

"The biggest fire is the operating system," Thomas said. The free trial can handle up to 100 nodes, but additional free evaluation node monitoring will be provided by request, he said.

Ecora Software Corp. in Portsmouth, N.H., offers users a 30-day free trial of its Ecora Patch Manager 5.0, which uses a proprietary knowledge base to bring together technical service bulletins from Microsoft and Sun. The application automates the patch discovery and installation, according to Bryan Cote, a senior product manager. Most applications that run on top of the operating system today rely on proper time calls at the operating system level, so once the operating system's DST stamps are correct, the applications will be fine, he said.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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