Installing SQLDeveloper 4 on Mint and Ubuntu – Minus the Alien

Deb recently bought a new kettle.
Now, a kettle used to simply boil water and turn itself off when it was done.
Not this thing.
It lights up as it boils and announces the fact that it’s finished with a melodious ping.
It’s got gauges and lights and switches.
I’ve decided that it’s probably a Dalek in disguise.
Like Daleks (or at least, the original Daleks), it can’t go up stairs – or if it can, it’s not advertising the fact.
Every morning, descending to the kitchen is filled with trepidation.
When will the Dalek tire of vaporizing innocent water molecules and move on to World Domination…

Doc-tor ! Doc-tor ! I feel like a ket-tle !

Doc-tor ! Doc-tor ! I feel like a ket-tle !

I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find that, like most whizzy modern appliances, it runs on Java.
Which brings us, by a fairly circuitous route, to the topic at hand – SQLDeveloper.

Oracle’s latest incarnation of it’s IDE does indeed run on Java – the version 7 JDK to be precise.
In this post, I’ll go through the steps required on Mint to :

  • Install the Java 7 JDK
  • Install SQLDeveloper 4
  • Persuade SQLDeveloper 4 to play nicely with Java
  • Add SQLDeveloper to the Cinnamon Menu

The good news is that we can do all of this without the messy alien conversion of an rpm package to .deb format.

NOTE – I’ve followed these steps on Mint13, but they should be pretty much the same for any Debian Distro.
Anyway, without further ado…

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Generating an md5sum on Oracle Database LOBs – or how to organise your Holiday Snaps

Following the trend in these straightened times, Deb and I decided to stay at home this year rather than going away on holiday.
I say “decided”, but this was really more due to the fact we were terribly grown up and bought a house last year.
As a result, the only recreation we could afford was a walk around the garden…whilst pushing a lawn-mower.
In an attempt to recall happier times, I’ve had a look back of some of the photos from our last proper holiday, in Canada.
As well as providing some happy memories, this also gives me the opportunity to explore how to compare an operating system file ( such as a jpeg) with a LOB held in the database.
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Simple Pleasures…rlwrap and SQL*Plus Command Line editing on Linux

Fat, bald, likes a drink and a smoke. No, not me. That’s a description of Darren Lehman, the new coach of the Australian Cricket Team.
Sounds like a good bloke to me.
As a cricket fan, with the Ashes as the highlight of the sporting summer, I’m getting a horrible sense of deja vu.
If you read the press, Australian and English, you might be forgiven for thinking that the series is a foregone conclusion.
Yes, England should win, on paper. However, unless the groundsmen at the relevant venues have been doing something very innovative, the Tests themselves will be played on grass.
In order to take my mind off some of the more worrying parallels with this series and the one in 1989 – when Alan Border and a bunch of Aussie no-hopers demolished England 4-0 – I’ve been looking at one of those niggling little problems that I always mean to get sorted but never quite get round to.

Generally speaking, I much prefer Linux to Windows. There is however, on area where Windows has the upper hand.
When you’re working in SQL*Plus, Windows allows command line recall and editing by default. This feature is not present in Linux by default.
However, Linux, being Linux, there is a handy utility that can implement this functionality. It’s called rlwrap.
What I’m going to cover here is :

  • a recap of built-in SQL*Plus editing capabilities
  • Using rlwrap with SQL*Plus
  • The joys of TAB-Completion

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Customising the Oracle XE Menu in XFCE – why it’s better to be vegetarian

Roberto Goldbrick. The name of the central character in a biting satire about a Premiership footballer ? Actually, it’s the name of the horse I drew out in the Office Grand National Sweep Stake.

“Oh well”, said Deb as the winner crossed the line with Roberto nowhere to be seen, “by next week it’ll be a value frozen lasagne”.
That’s the thing about vegetarians, they do like to assert their moral superiority at times. It can be quite difficult to find a suitable riposte. After all, you feel a bit of a twit accusing someone of vegicide.

In order to overcome my disappointment, I’ve taken refuge in Mint 14 XFCE running on my netbook.

Using the steps here and here I’ve managed to install Oracle 11gXE without any problems….apart from the fact that the Menu items now appear on the Others menu.
Being a lightweight desktop, XFCE doesn’t provide a default GUI to enable menu editing, so I’ve had to do a bit of investigation…
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ORA-00845: MEMORY_TARGET error installing Oracle XE on Mint and Ubuntu

It was my turn to “cook” tonight. Deb was quite emphatic on that point. Continuing the fine and long-held tradition, sustained through generations of British manhood, I duly trudged down to the chippy.
Fish and chips, with that unique and exquisite smell of malt vinegar. Never mind all those fancy aftershaves, for us Brits it’s Sarsons…pour homme.
Except that, when I get to the shop, I find that I have no cash on me and they don’t accept cards.
No, not even “Chip and Pin”.
Eventually, the hunter gatherer returns ( having made a short detour to an ATM) to be greeted by the now ravenous family. Honestly, this cooking lark is all go.

It could be worse I suppose. I mean, the recipe for Victoria Sponge doesn’t suddenly stop working for no readily apparent reason, unlike, to take a random example, installing Oracle XE on Mint and Ubuntu.

When I wrote the original post, all was working perfectly. Mint 11, Oracle XE 11g, job done.
However, Mint 13 ( or Maya, if you prefer) is a bit of a different story. So, for that matter is Ubuntu 11.10 and above.

At this point, I’d like to say a big thanks to Gil Standen, whose comment on the original post was spot on in pin-pointing and solving this issue.

So, if you’ve found your way here having been frustrated in your installation attempts by this pesky error, what follows is an explanation of the issue, together with the steps that I used to resolve it on Mint 13. Continue reading

Debbie in Linuxland

For those of us who use Linux on the Desktop, it’s probably fair to say that we live in interesting times. Having sat on the fence that is Gnome 2, whilst looking on as the relative merits of Gnome Shell, Unity, KDE and XFCE are hotly debated, I was recently given a fresh perspective on this particular debate by the lovely Debbie.

What follows is the story of how Deb converted to Linux, told (for reasons which will become apparent) through the medium of fairytale. Continue reading

VPN access on Mint using rdesktop

This post was going to begin with one of my occasional bulletins on the fortunes of Luton Town, beloved club of my mate, Simon. However, the man himself has been bitten by the blogging bug and the resultant musings on all things Teradata ( and various other topics) can be seen here.
So instead, I’d invite you to consider the Nordic majesty that is Milford Sound. Nestled in the heart of Fjordland in New Zealand’s South Island, this watery expanse evokes awe and wonder, even in a land where jaw-dropping scenery is always just around the next bend.
Milford Sound was itself named after the equally picturesque sounding Milford Haven. Yes, Milford Haven in Wales, site of one of the largest oil terminals in Europe.
I should note at this point that the Welsh Ambassador has demanded that I point out that Milford Haven does have some nice bits.

Moving swiftly on, in the vain hope of avoiding domestic disharmony, my point is, the fact that two things share common characteristics doesn’t mean that they are necessarily identical.

All of which provides a somewhat tortuous link to the subject of this post, namely, setting up remote desktop access via a VPN on Mint.

Now, you’d think this was pretty much the same as on Ubuntu, and it is…up to a point. Continue reading

Upgrading to APEX 4.1 on XE 11g

It’s that time of year. Slay bells ringing, children singing…and the UKOUG Conference.
This year, I was lucky to get along to attend the last day in the company of my good friend Alan.

I love going to the Conference. You get the chance to see lots of great presentations about all sorts of things in the Oracle world.
Takeaways from this year? Well, apart from the stress-ball and the cuddly Rhino ( yes, we did have a wander through the exhibition hall as well), I learned quite a bit about Application Express.

Just in case they’re struggling for an angle for APEX in the Oracle marketing department, how about :
“Application Express – Forms 3.0 for the Internet Age”

I suppose I’d better do some explaining fairly quickly before I am taken to task by any APEX aficionados who happen to be reading.

Back in the good old days, when I still had hair, Forms 3 was the character based interface for the Oracle database. A major advance on Forms 2.3, you were able to code actual PL/SQL right into the triggers. Of course, everything ran on the server back then. Forms, the database ( we don’t talk about SQL*Reportwriter…ever !)

APEX has certain similarities to it’s ancestor. The code is stored in the database itself and you can write PL/SQL in it. Of course, it is also “web-aware”. It could easily be thought of as a UI for SQL and PL/SQL…without all that mucking about with Java.

Enough of this Oracle Tech naval gazing. The point of this post is that, if you’ve downloaded Oracle 11g XE, you will have APEX4.0 included. Due to the tiresome reluctance of software vendors to use major release numbers, you may have been under the misapprehension that APEX 4.1 was just a minor tweak. The truth is a rather different.

APEX is maturing rapidly. So, if you’re running XE 11g on a Debian OS ( or even 10g XE), you may very well be interested in getting the latest version of APEX to have a play with…

NOTE – I ran this installation on 11g XE running on Mint.
I’ve tried to highlight any differences you may get when installing on 10gXE, but I haven’t actually done the installation on this database version. Continue reading

Installing Oracle 11gXE on Mint and Ubuntu

Things have been a bit hectic lately. What with putting in a new kitchen, being insanely busy at work, and trying not to come out with embarrassing sheep jokes, I’ve ended up with quite a long list of things to do blog-wise.
Top of the list, until now, was installing the long-awaited Oracle 11gXE Release 2 onto one of my Linux machines.
Yes, the free version of Oracle’s RDBMS has finally had an upgrade from 10g and I really want to get my hands on it and have a good nose around.
As well as being based on the latest release of the RDBMS, the Express Edition has had one or two other improvements added. Maybe the most significant of these is that the limit for the amount of user data that XE can hold has been increased from 4GB to 11GB.
What I’m going to do here is :

  • Go through the package conversion process
  • Install the database using steps applicable both to Mint and Ubuntu ( and any other Debian based distro)
  • Apply some finishing touches so that the menu items work as intended
  • Along the way, we’ll find out just why Oracle can’t speak English (and lots of other languages), where Mint has hidden the .bashrc, and how Aliens can be friendly.

Because I’m trying to cover both distros in this post, the installation process will be done entirely on the command line. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

But first…a small morsel of Linux history. Debian, the distro upon which both Mint and Ubuntu are based, was named after a Deb. I had to mention that as this will cause my beloved to think that I’m writing about her ( again), and thus give me enough time to finish writing this !

What are we waiting for then ? Let’s get going. Continue reading

Converting ogg file to mp3 format with Sound Converter

It’s the holiday season. The English summer rain serves only to sharpen the anticipation of the foreign sun that you will be enjoying in the not too distant future.
There is only one problem. How do you take your music collection with you when it’s all in ogg format and you don’t have a handy Android device to transfer it onto.

Step forward Sound Converter – another in the seemingly endless supply of really useful open source utilities for Linux.

NOTE – I’ve tried this on both Ubuntu and Mint and, as you’d expect, the steps are the same. The screenshots in this post are taken from Mint because the novelty still hasn’t worn off yet :-) Continue reading