The Caboteria / Tech Web / DatabaseTips / OracleOnDebian (19 Jun 2003, TobyCabot)
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During Black Ink Systems' restructuring I hosted our software in my basement on a small VA Linux server. Since I like Debian GNU/Linux (and since the bonehead MIS people had blown away the OS) I decided to try to get Oracle and Java going on Woody. It wasn't fun, but of course most of the problems that I had were caused by flight crew error, not anything inherent in the software.

The Oracle community tends to be pretty conservative, so most of our potential customers were still running Oracle 8i in mid-2002, so that's what we ran as well. This complicates things since 8i for Linux is linked against GNU libc 2.1, and by this time most modern distributions were running on 2.2. It turns out that there's a patch that you can apply to bridge the gap (the URL might require you to log in to the Oracle Technology Network).

There's no lack of documentation about running Oracle on GNU/Linux, but most of it seems to focus on Red Hat or SUSE, which makes sense since those are both popular with businesses, which are the people running most Oracle (there are enough good Free databases that there's really very little reason to run Oracle "for fun"). Google and I couldn't find anyone that claimed to have a working 8i on Debian Woody. I found people who ran 8i on potato and 9i on woody, but not the combo that I was looking for. On the other hand, many people had run 8i on Red Hat 7.x which seems to have similar software (at least kernel and libc) to Woody.



It's a good idea to make sure that you can run the installation cleanly from end-to-end. I much prefer to blow a half-baked installation away and start from scratch than to limp along with something I'm not sure that I'll be able to recreate. If you want to blow away an Oracle install it looks as if you not only need to delete $ORACLE_BASE, you also need to delete the two files that Oracle drops into /etc, otherwise the installer thinks that it's upgrading rather than starting from scratch. /etc/oraInst.loc, /etc/oratab.

I shouldn't need to tell you to make sure that your disk I/O and network I/O are working solidly before starting the Oracle install (but I wish someone had told me).

At one point I got a lot of ORA-03113: end-of-file on communication channel errors which I think were caused by me not applying the libc patch. When I applied it they went away.

The script that Oracle asks you to run mid-way through the installation process is full of bugs, but it appears as if most of them are cosmetic. The one thing that you will probably have to do is make a softlink ln -s /usr/bin/awk /bin/awk so that the script can find awk.

At one point I had my ORA_NLS33 set up wrong and this caused all sorts of strange errors that you wouldn't expect, such as Oracle telling me (in svrmgrl) that I had already started an instance that I definitely had not started.

Oracle 9

The work I did was using Oracle 8 (or 8i or whatever they call it) but other people have done the same thing with Oracle 9i, for example

-- TobyCabot - 01 Jun 2002 - 19 Jun 2003

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