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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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