I was applying the recommended patch cluster to a solaris 8 server, and there were all these weird Patch return code 5's. Now, patch code 2, is fine, it means the previous admin already applied the patch. 8 is fine because we dont have the package installed. But 5 means there is something wrong.
At first I thought it might be because I had edited the patch cluster, and removed certain patches that might cause a conflict. But that did not make sense since I've done this before on other servers. Looking at the logs for patchadd, I saw that patchadd wasn't able to run a script that was located deep in the cluster directory, which itself was quite deep with the parent directory being a symlink as well. So I moved the cluster directory to root, and started the install and Voila!! it works! I think the symlink might have confused the install script, I'm not sure.
Patch return code
The only thing I dont like is that it is recommended that you go to maintainence mode when applying patches. It makes sense considering that the kernel and other system level stuff is being updated, but it also means downtime. I just dont like it.