I went to the March LOSUG / UKOUG where Chris Ridd gave a (long) talk about IPS – Image Packagaing System for OpenIndiana and Solaris 11. I have not used IPS so I was interested to see how it differed from the old pkgadd system I am familiar with.
He started out by saying there were little or no design docs for IPS but there are some blog postings by Stephen Hahn, Bart Smaalders and Tim Foster about the original ideas. Unfortunately I have not had time to look for or read them.
The comment was telling though as the impression I got at the end was that IPS was a system which lacked exactly that: a design. As a result, as Chris pointed out, the terminology is odd and key functionality is missing. Security, for example. As I understood it, the main conceptual difference is that unlike other packaging systems there is no “package” as such. What you make is a config file which describes the content, including metadata and how to get the files you need from a repository.
Until I play with it (which might be a while!) I’m not going to pass judgement. It was too much new information for me to absorb in one sitting.