The image packaging system, is an attempt to design and implement a software delivery system with interaction with a network repository as its primary design goal. Other key ideas are: safe execution for zones and other installation contexts, use of ZFS for efficiency and rollback, preventing the introduction of incorrect or incomplete packages, and efficient use of bandwidth.
After an initial installation of OpenSolaris 2008.11 operating system, you will find that many of the software applications that you use on a regular basis are not immediately available to you. These software applications are available as packages in a repository for downloading and installing over the internet. A repository is a source for packages.
The Image Packaging System enables users to connect to the repository and download and install packages.
The OpenSolaris 2008.11 release uses IPS for its packaging system. Besides installing packages from a repository, users can create and publish their own IPS packages, set up an OpenSolaris repository, mirror an existing repository, and publish existing packages to a repository.
Once you have installed packages, IPS enables you to search, update, and manage packages on your system.
With IPS , you can upgrade your system to a newer build of OpenSolaris, install and update your software to the latest available versions in a repository, and retrieve packages from mirror repositories.
If the system on which IPS is installed is on the network, IPS can automatically access the OpenSolaris repository. For the OpenSolaris 2008.11 release, your IPS client can access the packages from http://pkg.opensolaris.org.