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The Kernel Installation and Distribution System (KIDS) is a new tool introduced in Kernel V8.0. It introduces significant revisions to the process of exporting packages over the previous export mechanism, DIFROM. The KIDS tools provide a standard interface for distribution of packages from the platform to another.

Distribution is the mechanism KIDS uses to export packages. The system manager creates transport globals from build entries. KIDS stores these transport globals in a global. KIDS can then write the global to a host file. This file is the distribution file which can be distributed to its destination via FTP or a PackMan message in MailMan.


There are several advantages to using host files over INIT routines (Fileman's method of transport). The first advantage is that there is no limit to the size of a package you export. The second advantage is that you no longer have to overwrite a package's existing routines with new routines before running the installation.   Most importantly, KIDS allows transport of entities like PARAMETERs and PROTOCOLs  that the FileMan INIT process was not aware of.

KIDS provides many supplies for developers to help build and install packages. These supplies include tools to verify a build. This is useful for developers who are preparing to create a transport global. If there are missing components, the developer can either create the missing component or remove the component from the building entry. Another tool provided by KIDS is the ability to verify package integrity after an installation has been completed. After the installation, check sums of package components can be compared against the check sums of the components when they were originally transported.

Importing Distribution Tip

You may discover problems when trying to load KIDS Distributions from files. The 'Load a Distribution' option asks for a Host File name that should include a path.   However, the combination of path and file name cannot exceed 75 characters.   Here is a work around to make loading distributions from anywhere a snap.

Modify the following line in the Kernel XPDIL routine to allow up to 245 characters.

S DIR(0)="F^3:245",DIR("A")="Enter a Host File",DIR("?")="Enter a filename and/or path to input Distribution."

[Although it is not generally accepted practice to make modifications to VistA's infrastructure code, this is one that is defendable. It only changes a parameter (from 75 to 245) and the consequences, if overwritten by a future release, are not severe.]

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