Following trend, Oracle sets schedule for patches

Releases dates of quarterly bulletins for 2005 to allow companies to better plan system updates.

Oracle has released the dates on which it will issue quarterly security patches in 2005.

The company said Thursday that it will release security bulletins and accompanying patches for its products on Jan. 18, April 12, July 12 and Oct. 18. The bulletins will address security vulnerabilities for products such as Application Server, E-Business Suite and Enterprise Manager and will be issued through the company's support Web site.

"Organizations prefer regular, planned schedules for patching their information technology systems," Mary Ann Davidson, chief security officer of Oracle, said in a statement. "The quarterly schedule strikes a balance between issuing patches often enough to protect customers from serious vulnerabilities while making it easier for customers to manage the maintenance process."

The schedule is also designed to avoid common blackout dates; many organizations are not allowed to update systems at the end of the quarter when they are closing their books. Oracle also said the updates could help cut the cost of applying patches by delivering a single patch for fixing multiple vulnerabilities.

The move reflects an industry trend of software companies releasing fixes to tackle security vulnerabilities in their products on appointed dates. Last year, Microsoft announced a plan to release patches on the second Tuesday of every month.

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