Oracle Instant Client on Ubuntu…with added Aliens

“This is the voice of the Mysterons…have you got any Lemsip ?”
Yep, I’ve caught Deb’s cold and now sound like the alien menace from Captain Scarlet.
This provides a somewhat tenuous link to the subject at hand – namely installing Oracle Instant Client on Ubuntu.
I think I’d better explain. As you probably know, Ubuntu – being a Debian based Distro – uses the Debian packaging mechanism. Oracle, on the other hand, provides Instant Client for Linux in rpm ( RPM Package Manager) format. In order to bridge this divide, we’re going to need to use the alien utility. Look, I did say it was tenuous OK.

I’m doing this on a 32-bit Ubuntu installation ( 10.04, since you ask). If you’re running 64-bit, you’ll need to download the appropriate equivalent files. Continue reading

Oracle Client on Ubuntu – Installation and Configuration

Having obtained a sick laptop and nursed it back to health ( i.e. installed Ubuntu 10.04), I’ve decided to do something a bit more useful with it.
I want to be able to connect to the Oracle 11g database on my server. This means, installing an Oracle Client.
I’ll be using the machine mainly for SQL*Plus ( although I may well be installing SQLDeveloper shortly). Therefore, rather than mess about downloading the client directly from the Oracle site, I’m going to use the XE client, which is available in the Oracle supplied apt package repository.
NOTE – if you simply must have the full Oracle Instant Client, then you can find details of that installation here.
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Troubleshooting Oracle 10g XE Installation on Ubuntu

You’ve followed the instructions, everythings working fine. You shutdown your machine and go for a celebratory pint / cup of tea / curry.
Then, when you next start your machine, Oracle doesn’t want to know. What’s going on ?
To be honest, I don’t know. What I do know is that there are some steps you can take to at least attempt to diagnose your problem.

Before I go any further, I’d like to dedicate this post to Wayne.
He found himself in this position. After much head scratching between the two of us, he managed to find and resolve his problem.

Whilst a hardened veteran in computing terms, Wayne was new to both Linux and Oracle. From the mails I’ve received regarding this post, there seem to be a number of people in a similar position to him. Therefore, this post is written with these interpid souls in mind and I’ve tried to take time out to explain why we’re doing stuff at each step.

Update

It’s now quite a while since I posted this and some people have contributed some really useful comments. These include solutions that they found to various problems, which are additional to the ones in this post. So, if you’re still having problems, check out the comments as well. MestreLion’s tip about sudo chmod -t /var/tmp/.oracle seems to be a particularly good example of this.

One other point worth mentioning is that Oracle 11gXE is now available. Many of the issues in this post are still relevant. However, if you’d like to know how to install the latest XE on Ubuntu or Mint, here are the instructions
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