Alistair Maclean's Web Site
Oracle DB

Oracle 8.1.7 On RedHat Linux 7.1

To say that I had fun doing this would be an overstatement of the facts, but as I wanted to try out the database, and I had just got RH7.1 to use for the servers, I thought it would be interesting to install one on the other.

The fun started immediately. I downloaded the latest version of Oracle for Linux ( It took 6 hours to download (sorry to anyone that was trying to get at the website during that period). The download was successful and the tar file was error free. I also downloaded the PDF that gives installation instructions. I read these through, they seemed to make sense...

I put the tar file on the Linux box and exploded it - there is a lot of file here so make sure you are not short of disk space. As I read the install instructions I realized that I was going to need some more downloaded stuff from the oracle site, the glibc2.1.3 stub library.

RH 7.1 uses glibc 2.2, a recent version. Oracle was written to use glibc 2.1. The two are slightly different hence the need for the stub file. It gets installed near the end of the install process.

Installing was a troublesome affair. I created an oracle account, all the groups (oinstall, sysdba, sysoper), directories (a /usr/local/Oracle and /usr/local/oraInventory) and set the rights. I amended the .bash_profile to have entries for ORACLE_HOME, ORACLE_BASE and ORACLE_SID. Then it was time to log on as the new user and run the ./runInstaller. As the downloaded version is a little different than the CD version, I took a few minutes to locate the script in the whereeverIputOracle/Disk1 directory.

The runInstaller is meant to start a Java application that helps you through the install process. It brought up nothing. Nada. Zilch. ps'ing I found that the process was starting but not completing. I found that using "killall -9 jre" became a well versed mantra.

I searched the newsgroups for information. Finally I found three items that looked interesting:

  • There is a SuSE Linux/Oracle page with info on unsetting the LANG environment variable.
  • There was reference to a variable called LD_ASSUME_KERNEL
  • There was talk about Exceed (an X Window client) needing only 256 colours.

Getting it installed

To cut a long story short(er), I ended up finding the LANG thing to be of minor import, the LD_ASSUME_KERNEL to be extremely important and the 256 colour limit in Exceed to be the break through.

I used Exceed as the X window client, this runs on Windows 2000.

The process I ended up with was:

On Linux, in the Oracle account:
unset LANG
export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5
On Windows 2K:
set screen colours to 256
Start an X session to Linux box
Run XTerm
cd to the installer
there are various errors, press ignore
When it gets to the NET8 install there is a pause
on the Linux box run the script that you downloaded and exploded earlier
resume the install
I found that the database name entry took a bit of time before I could do anything (like type)
I created a database
Voilà, it all ran.


Why did I go for Exceed rather than running on Linux - I could not get the Oracle installer to run under Linux. I may have been trying too hard, the instructions say use "xhost +machinename", however, I have recently seen that this command can run as just "xhost +". I may try this simpler form of the command, I was getting all sorts of invalid DISPLAY messages. Exceed avoided all that but did need the colour depth reduced.


The main remaining problem seems to be that the netasst command does not work, but there are lots of newsgroup comments about this.

I have not done any memory tuning on this, and don't intend to. I wanted to try Oracle, not become a DBA.

I did have some issues with starting the database after a shutdown, but eventually fixed this by editing the /etc/oratab file and changing the trailing 'N' to a 'Y' on the last line to allow dbstart to actually work.

If you want to look at a big professional database, then here is you chance. It's free to download, though you have to do a free Oracle developer sign up. It's not the same as running MySQL and takes a good deal of effort to preen.

Bon voyage!



Link to Oracle
Link to the SuSE Linux/Oracle page

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