Sunday, 22 July 2012

Oracle 11gR2 on Arch Linux

The Oracle Database software is only "supported" on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle Enterprise Linux I believe. But it can be made to work on many other Linux distributions one way or another, as a lot of the stuff is the same or equally available on other Linux distributions. While this is not supported or recommended in any way by Oracle, it can be useful if you have a different Linux distribution installed on a test system for one reason or another and cannot change it. Here I will present the recipe for how I got Oracle 11g Release 2 installed on Arch Linux. Remember that none of this should be used in any kind of production like environment as it is unsupported.

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is a Linux distribution based on a rolling release model. This primarily means that there is only ever one version of Arch, being the "latest version", and whenever new releases of software packages are made by the developer they are then added to the Arch repositories after a small delay. This means that you can always get the latest version of any available software package on Arch, and that there is never a big upgrade or reinstall hassle with Arch every 6 or 12 months. Instead you regularly do a system upgrade which pulls down the latest versions of all installed packages from the repository, so that your system is always "up to date".

Another thing about Arch is that it is highly customisable to whatever combination of Linux software applications you want. It does this by only installing a "bare bones" set of Linux packages that gives you a text only console with a "login" prompt (classic old school UNIX). From this you then install all the extra packages you want, to arrive at your customised Linux, just as you want it. No bloat from other applications you never wanted in the first place. This means installing and configuring Arch is more than just booting from a Live CD and clicking on "Install". But Arch has an excellent Wiki including an "Installation Guide" that explains everything.

Arch has its own package manager (pacman) that handles all of the downloading, resolving dependencies and installation of the packages. So if a package is available you can just install it and everything it needs through one simple command.

I'm assuming for this article that you already have Arch Linux installed, and know enough about how to install it. And that you have installed Arch plus X Windows plus a full Desktop Environment (e.g. Gnome or Xfce) plus a Display Manager to handle the initial user login (e.g. GDM). If you don't use a full blown Desktop Environment then you will need the equivalent combination of Window Manager, Application Menu, etc., which is also possible in Arch.

Extra packages

Oracle 11g requires "gcc" which is in the "base-devel" package along with other development tools, such as "make". Install this, plus some other needed packages:
pacman -S base-devel elfutils libaio unixodbc sysstat pdksh icu gdb
pacman -S libstdc++5
The last one - "libstdc++5" - is needed because the make files provided with Oracle make explicit reference to this. Since Oracle 11g was originally compiled on the current at that time version of Red Hat Linux the standard C library has moved on to version 6, but Oracle still wants something called version 5 when installing.

Symbolic links

Oracle expects some commands to exist in the /bin directory when they are now in the /usr/bin directory as standard. You can work around this by creating symbolic links from one location to the other for these files:
ln -s /usr/bin/basename /bin/basename
ln -s /usr/bin/tr /bin/tr
ln -s /usr/lib/ /lib/
Other symbolic links are mentioned by other people for other Linux distributions, but for Arch these are the only ones I needed to make - other links already existed for some other files. Also bash is the default shell on Arch, which is the same as on Red Hat.

Normal Oracle Pre-Installation

  • Configure the Linux kernel and other settings as stated in the Oracle installation instructions. This includes:
    • Settings in /etc/sysctl.conf
    • Settings in /etc/security/limits.conf
    • Adding a line to /etc/pam.d/login if not already present
  • Create the groups needed (oinstall and dba), and the "oracle" user account.
  • Create the directories where the software will be installed e.g. /apps/oracle and /apps/oraInventory
  • I create a ".profile" file for the "oracle" user and set ORACLE_BASE, ORACLE_HOME based on the installation directories. Also set ORACLE_SID, and add ORACLE_HOME/bin to PATH.

Install Oracle 11g

Get the Oracle 11g software distribution - downloadable from - and unzip the files to another directory. Run the installer and make your choices from the screens it presents - I normally go for "Install Software Only" and "Single Instance".

You will get the following issues when running the Installer:
  • All prerequisite checks will fail. This is because Oracle uses "rpm" to find out what packages are installed, and Arch does not use "rpm", so Oracle thinks everything is missing.
    • Providing you have installed the packages listed earlier, simply click on the "Ignore All" check box on the top right of the screen, then click "Next".
    • Click "Yes" on the pop-up dialog box that warns you about ignoring prerequisites. Then click "Install" as normal on the final screen
  • You will get a failure message during installation about "target agent nmhs", from the make file "sysman/lib/".
    • This only affects the Enterprise Manager Agent, which is generally not used, and so can be ignored.
    • It is due to a change in how "gcc" scans libraries to find referenced symbols in a program.
    • If you really want this Agent, a workaround is possible by editing the makefile - just Google it to find a solution.
    • Assuming you don't want this Agent, just click "Continue" to ignore it can carry on.
Eventually you will get the normal pop-up dialog box about running the "" scripts as root, and then the installation is complete.

From here you can go on and create a database using the Database Configuration Assistant (dbca) or the "CREATE DATABASE" SQL statement, whichever you are more familiar with.


Anonymous said...

Thank you! This helped me a lot in getting Oracle running.

Unknown said...

Hi there, could you posibly provide a
detailed step by step guide for absolute beginnners. I just need to be able to install it as is just like i could on rpm based systems where it was a matter of clicking the rpm package and everything would install

Unknown said...

This is cool! Great explanations...thanks...why no posts in 2017?