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Installing Oracle 8.1.6

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ACS Documentation : ACS Installation Guide : Installing Oracle 8.1.6

Oracle is the RDBMS utilized by the ArsDigita Community System. If you have trouble installing it, please refer to Oracle's documentation.

Table of Contents

  1. Acquire Oracle 8.1.6 Enterprise Edition for Linux
  2. Things to keep in mind
  3. Pre-Installation Tasks
  4. Installing Oracle 8.1.6 Server
  5. Creating your first database
  6. Acceptance Test
  7. Automating Startup and Shutdown
  8. Appendix A: What to do about wrong dates
  9. Appendix B: Useful Procedures
  10. Appendix C: Oracle Defaults

Acquire Oracle 8.1.6 Enterprise Edition

You can obtain the software through a variety of methods.

  1. Order a CD from the Oracle Store. There is a link under the heading Buying Tips that says "Learn how to trial Oracle software." Click this for instructions on how to make your order. The cost is currently $39.95 with delivery estimated between 3-4 business days.

  2. Request a free demonstration CD. At the Oracle Downloads page, click on the appropriate version of Oracle 8.1.6 Release 2 for your OS. You should see a "Try Online" link. After filling out some information forms, you should be able to order a version of the CD. This takes about 2-3 weeks for delivery.

  3. You can download Oracle from the Technet ftp site. The Linux version is at

    Note that the Oracle tarball that you will download is huge (> 250Mb).


Things to Keep in Mind

Throughout these instructions, we will refer to a number of configurable settings. We will advise certain defaults. With the exception of passwords, we advise you to follow these defaults unless you know what you are doing. Subsequent documents will expect that you used the defaults, so a change made here will necessitate further changes later. For a guide to the defaults, please see Appendix 3.


Pre-Installation Tasks

Though Oracle 8.1.6 has an automated installer, we still need to perform several manual, administrative tasks before we can launch it. You must perform all of these steps as the root user. We recommend entering the X window system as a user other than root and then doing a su -. This command gives you full root access.


Installing Oracle 8.1.6 Server

Congratulations, you have just installed Oracle 8.1.6 Server! However, you still need to create a database which can take about an hour of non-interactive time, so don't quit yet. TOP

Creating the first Database

This step will take you through the steps of creating a customized database. Be warned that this process takes about an hour on a Pentium II with 128 MB of RAM. TOP

Acceptance Test

For this step, open up a terminal and su to oracle as usual. You should be running X and Netscape for this step. TOP

Automating Startup & Shutdown

You will want to automate the database startup and shutdown process. It's probably best to have Oracle spring to life when you boot up your machine.

Your installation of Oracle 8.1.6 is complete. Congratulations.


Appendix A: Troubleshooting Oracle Dates

Oracle has an internal representation for storing the data based on the number of seconds elapsed since some date. However, for the purposes of inputing dates into Oracle and getting them back out, Oracle needs to be told to use a specific date format. By default, it uses an Oracle-specific format which isn't copacetic. You want Oracle to use the ANSI-compliant date format which is of form 'YYYY-MM-DD'.

To fix this, you should include the following line in $ORACLE_HOME/dbs/initSID.ora or for the default case, $ORACLE_HOME/dbs/initora8.ora:

nls_date_format = "YYYY-MM-DD"
You test whether this solved the problem by firing up sqlplus and typing
SQL> select sysdate from dual;
You should see back a date like 2000-06-02. If some of the date is chopped off, i.e. like 2000-06-0, everything is still fine. The problem here is that sqlplus is simply truncating the output. You can fix this by typing
SQL> column sysdate format a15
SQL> select sysdate from dual;
If the date does not conform to this format, double-check that you included the necessary line in the init scripts. If it still isn't working make sure that you have restarted the database since adding the line if you didn't do it prior to database creation.

If you're sure that you have restarted the database since adding the line, check your initialization scripts. Make sure that the following line is not included

export nls_lang = american
Setting this environment variable will override the date setting. Either delete this line and login again or add the following entry to your login scripts after the nls_lang line.
export nls_date_format = 'YYYY-MM-DD'
Log back in again. If adding the nls_date_format line doesn't help, then let me know about it. TOP

Appendix B: Useful Procedures


Appendix C: Defaults

We used the following defaults while installing Oracle.

ORACLE_HOME/ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.6This is the default Oracle installation directory.
ORACLE_SERVICEora8The service name is a domain-qualified identifier for your Oracle server.
ORACLE_SIDora8This is an identifier for your Oracle server.
ORACLE_OWNERoracleThe user who owns all of the oracle files.
ORACLE_GROUPdbaThe special oracle group. Users in the dba group are authorized to do a connect internal within svrmgrl to gain full system access to the Oracle system.

Previous: Installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 Installing Oracle 8.1.6
part of the ACS Installation Guide
Next: Installing AOLServer 3.0

Reader's Comments

For those of you installing under Debian (potato) Linux instead of Red Hat, everythings works just fine. The only differences in the above directions is with the startup and shutdown scripts. The init.d files live in /etc/init.d instead of /etc/rc.d/init.d and Debian uses update-rc.d instead of chkconfig. For example, to automatically start oracle:
$ su -
# cp /tmp/oracle8i.txt /etc/init.d/oracle8i
# chown root.root /etc/init.d/oracle8i
# chmod 700 /etc/init.d/oracle8i
# update-rc.d oracle8i defaults

-- Jason Waterman, June 24, 2000
If you are failing the acceptance tests with messages like:
ORA-01562: failed to extend rollback segment number 0
ORA-01628: max # extents (249) reached for rollback segment SYSTEM
ORA-06512: at "SYSTEM.THRASH_DATABASE", line 6
ORA-06512: at line 1
Then look at the following references: It may offer at least a place to begin.

-- Jade Rubick, June 26, 2000
8.1.6 is a much easier install than 8.1.5. If you are trying to make 8.1.5 work and still have problems with the AOL or ACS install after the 8.1.5 install, consider starting over with 8.1.6. The Oracle download site seems to be working a little better recently and I could actually download a copy of 8.1.6 from the site (280MB). For some reason I could never get a proper connection through Netscape under Linux (it tries to display the file on the screen or declines to connect at all), and anonymous ftp direct to the Oracle ftp server wouldn't login, but I could connect with IE under Windows. So I downloaded 8.1.6 under Windows and ftp'd it over to my Linux box. I used a Windows download manager (Netzip Download Demon from Real (RealAudio, etc.), available at as freeware/adware). The Oracle download took several hours overnight on an ISDN connection. You might first want to disable any screensavers and/or powersaver features that could shut down your machine after a certain amount of time with no keyboard or mouse activity. Also make sure your hard drive has available space on your target partition.

-- Dave Darden, June 28, 2000

Weirdness Xdisplaying Oracle Installer Programs

A funny thing happened when I ran the Oracle installers under the Exceed X server: they seem to disable the window manager. The titlebars and frames on all X windows from that machine disappeared, and buttons near the bottom were (sometimes) turned into lines. Also, stacking order of the windows could no longer be changed, nor could they be moved around. (N.b. I'm using Exceed under NT4SP6; it happened on two different machines.)

Upshots: The install can still be done, you just have to click on the "button" lines (hint: Next = rightmost), and won't see the titles of the windows (referred to in the docs above -- easy to guess, though). Getting the focus to the input fields (database sizes, etc.) can be stubborn. Try clicking on another window, then back to the installer, etc. Be patient when you click Next, as the cursor doesn't immediately turn into an hourglass. You have to run scripts from 'root' twice during the install; you may have to open a new xterm, run the script, and close it again each time.

The saving of the shell script to create the database (pretty much the last step) used a different path (actually one directory higher) than the one in the docs above. I had to type the filename in manually. It still runs, though.

SuSE Linux 6.4 Issues

The install went as described, except that SuSE already has some Oracle provisions, and the auto-startup/shutdown stuff is different. (Seems like every Unix I've ever used has a different way of doing this . :-)

Oracle User

SuSE comes with an oracle user and oinstall and (I think) dba groups. You'll have to check these and make sure they're set up the ACS way.

ORACLE_HOME & Co. Variables

SuSE stores its commands to set ORACLE_HOME etc. in /etc/profile.d/ I set this with the ACS values, and call it from the various .profile files. The ACS scripts set them internally, so these will still work. (As long as you used the ACS directory names!)

Disabling X Server

SuSE gives you a nice GUI login screen by default (kdm). Hitting Ctrl-Alt-Backspace does indeed kill your running X session, but then it will just start up again and ask you to login. (You have to kill xdm from a root prompt to make it stay dead.)

The official way to disable that is to use YaST's sysadmin menu. This didn't work for me; I had to manually edit /etc/rc.config, set DISPLAYMANAGER = "" and run SuSEconfig to make it take effect.

Doing so will change your default runlevel. SuSE defines runlevel 3 as the default, and runlevel 2 as the default minus the GUI login. So, after doing the above, your system will boot up to runlevel 2. (Why do you care? Read on...)

Automated Start & Stop

SuSE doesn't have the 'chkconfig' command. So, you have to deal with runlevels and a subdirectory for each.

SuSE comes with some Oracle autostart scripts already enabled. I disabled these, and replaced them with the ACS ones, to have a cleaner install.

"Have a lot of fun..." (SuSE unofficial slogan)

-- Thomas Hundt, June 29, 2000

I would like to add a critical step that is necessary to install under Solaris. Upon creation of the database, Oracle startup will fail with "Out of Memory" errors unless you set shared memory parameters according to Oracle installation manual. At a minimum, for the settings recommended in this article, the additions to the /etc/system file should be as follows:

* Oracle 8i settings
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmax=4294967295
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmin=1
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmni=100
set shmsys:shminfo_shmseg=10
set semsys:seminfo_semmni=110
set semsys:seminfo_semmsl=100
set semsys:seminfo_semmns=220
set semsys:seminfo_semopm=100
set semsys:seminfo_semvmx=32767

After this, shut down the server with init 0 (from root) and reboot with boot -r from the PROM prompt.


-- Craig Steinberger, June 30, 2000

I installed Oracle 8.1.6 EE on Slackware 7.0, and ran into a snag when dbassist wouldn't run. I found this solution on the Oracle technet forum which solves the problem:
# ln -s /bin/free /usr/bin

Slackware puts the "free" program in /bin, while Red Hat puts it in /usr/bin. One would think that it wouldn't matter if both are in your path, but the dbassist program apparently looks only in the hard /usr/bin location, so you have to create a symlink. So far this is the only problem I've had using the elegant Slackware distribution vice Red Hat.

-- Ben Ballard, July 6, 2000
Additional debian notes:

I, too, used a 2.2/potato system.

1. You want to create the directory /var/lock/subsys before you test your /etc/init.d/oracle8i script, so as to avoid a little error message. The "lock" file placed therein isn't used for anything; perhaps it's a Red Hat cosmetic thing, perhaps aD or Oracle might have some future use for it. No harm in putting it there, methinks.

2. When you automate the listener startup/shutdown, you want to make sure that the listener starts after the instance, and shuts down before it. if you used the command,

update-rc.d oracle8i defaults

as suggested above when automating the instance, then for the listener, you want this command:

update-rc.d listener8i defaults 21 19

For the record, I agree with the other posters here-- the 8.1.6 install was much easier for me than 8.1.5 . If you're stuck with a dial-up connection and find yourself tempted by a copy of 8.1.5 on CD, don't do it-- wait for 8.1.6 on CD or avail yourself of a friend with a DSL line and a CD burner.

In particular, do not buy the $89 shrinkwrapped box published by MacMillan that includes the "standard edition of Oracle 8i for linux" (no version specified, but it's 8.1.5), an EUL prohibiting commercial use thereof, and a crappy doorstop of a book that you'd never buy if you had the chance to pick it up off the shelf and leaf through it for a minute. Do not be reassured by the Standard Linux Penguin on the box.

-- Ed Slocomb, July 9, 2000

When running Debian Potato, the scripts specify /bin/awk as the default awk. I had to change that to /usr/bin/awk.

Also, with the new Oracle 8.1.6 Standard release, if you enable archive logging during installation, the install puts the wrong type of LOG_ARCHIVE_DEST parameter in the init<sid>.ora file. The parameter specifies an archive log for a database on standby, which appears not to be supported in standard edition. When starting the newly created database Oracle throws an error "Managed Standby Not Supported" or somesuch. The fix is to change

LOG_ARCHIVE_DEST_1 = (location=<pathname>)


LOG_ARCHIVE_DEST = <pathname>.

in the init<sid>.ora file.

-- C. R. Oldham, July 14, 2000

If you have troubles getting the Net8 configuration to work, a discussion and working listener.ora and tnsnames.ora files can be found at

-- Jade Rubick, July 25, 2000
If you have to reinstall Oracle, the Oracle installer doesn't deinstall everything. I'm not sure if it is important to actually go through and delete the leftovers, but here are files that looked like Oracle's installer missed (on RH6.2): I also deleted the /ora8 directory and all subdirectories after uninstalling, just to be sure.

-- Jade Rubick, July 26, 2000
For the Oracle Standard Edition (which is now available, and much easier to install than 8.1.5), the Net8 Configuration Assistant didn't come up for me before the screen with the "Configuration Tools" button. I received the following error message:
SIGSEGV received at befffa34 in /usr/X11R6/lib/ Processing terminated
Writing stack trace to javacore2387.txt ... OK
See my previous comment for a link to a web/db thread which discusses this problem.

Also, for the Standard Edition, the number of products it installs is 88, not 91, as in the Enterprise Edition.

-- Jade Rubick, July 26, 2000

I got the SIGSEGV error as well. Mike Bonnet's suggestion in the q-and-a thread, which is to disable access control with the command
xhost +
solved the problem for me.

-- Paul Epps, July 28, 2000
If you get a 'permission denied' when running runInstaller, create a new mountpoint for the cdrom, chmod it (777) and manually mount the cdrom there. This fixes the above problem.

Possibly it's ok to just chmod the current mountpoint and then remount the cdrom. (I didn't test).

-- Gustaf Björklund, August 22, 2000

The runInstaller executable does not work on redhat 6.2, perhaps other versions as well.

There appears to be a problem with it finding the jre, even though the correct version (they recommend 1.1.6, although the error message suggests 1.1.8, and I've tried every release yet put on the market anyway) is set up with the correct links according to the documentation. runInstaller always seems to look for /jre/bin in a path lead by some bizarre ASCII character.

It's too bad they've done away with the editable shell script launcher, as any problems could have been quickly eliminated, instead of my wasting 4 hours on this one install.

-- fn ord, August 22, 2000

Another possible resolution to the error (below) that occurs whenever trying to start dbassist or the DB Configuration Assistant and it will not start at all:

JNLS Exception:oracle.ntpg.jnls.JNLSException Unable to find any National Character Sets. Please check your Oracle installation and make sure that the ORACLE_HOME environment variable is defined correctly.

Try changing/adding the following in oracle's profile: ORA_NLS33=$ORACLE_HOME/ocommon/nls/admin/data


-- Marco Shaw, August 26, 2000

I ordered the Oracle CDs from their website, and received a package with 15 (!) CDs. Average cost ? $3. each.

More about Oracle 8i on SuSE 6.4 : by default, it creates some groups needed, the one you have to add is 'oracle' . It also creates the *user* oracle during install, and it goes on the /opt dir . I chose to delete it altogether and follow the instructions from these pages line by line, to add the user and configure its environment. Guaranteed success !

-- Fernando Rabelo, August 27, 2000

Installation on SuSE Linux 7.0

I ran into problems at the point where the Net8 Config. Assistant was supposed to come up, which it did not. Looking at the /ora8/m01/app/oracle/oraInventory/logs/installActions.log there was no trace of an error. But when I ran the same command manually, it failed with a seg.fault.
Solution:Mike Bonnet mentioned netca as an alternative way to configure Net8 in his posting on the web&db forum and it worked for me.

Another problem was that the "Database Creation Assistant" (or whatever it is called) did not run. Running the command line from the log produced an error saying that the argument "-createtype none" is invalid.
Solution: Just leave this out or replace none with NO_VALUE.

Except for the minor troubles mentioned above, the installation worked like a charm.

-- Michael Hanisch, October 6, 2000
I started from an existing Redhat 6.2 system, and didn't go back to read the previous material. My Oracle installation failed a couple of times, with no useful messages that I could find.

In desparation, I went back and reviewed the earlier sections, set up my Linux with 400Mb of swap space, and the installation went fine. (If slowly, given only 96Mb RAM.)

-- Steven Graham, October 7, 2000

Another Installation on SuSE 7.0

After much pain trying to install Oracle on Red Hat 7.0, I switched over to SuSE 7.0 Professional and everything worked fine. Why SuSE? They published a web page listing version compatibilities (, and is listed as compatible with SuSE 7.0.

I still don't know why Red Hat 7.0 didn't work out. Everything was fine up until the instance creation step (where you run At this step, the first script ( generates an oracleora8 process which becomes a zombie after a couple of minutes. I tried re-compiling the kernel with the recommended parameters (e.g. larger SHMMAX) -- an ordeal in itself since things appear to be in flux with gcc -- but this did not help.

-- Andrew Grumet, October 8, 2000

Redhat 7.0

REDHAT 7.0 : Oracle8i doesn't work with Redhat 7.0 yet--at least not for this configuration. After getting hacked and having to turn my hard drives over to the FBI as evidence I decided to rebuild my box on Redhat 7.0. The Oracle8i install seemed to go fine up to the point that I ran the script to build the database. It hangs indefinitely.

Rather than try to troubleshoot I reverted back to 6.2 and had the database built in no time. If this is relevant to your situtation I recommend you consult Oracle and/or Redhat to see if they have a patch or new version out yet. I'm sure they will soon. (Oct 2000)

-- Joshua Stout, October 17, 2000

Oracle 8.1.6 vs. Redhat 7.0:

It looks like Oracle 8i really wants to link against glibc-2.1. So much so that it doesn't work on RH7, which uses glibc 2.2. Much more information, including a workaround is available at Red Hat's Bugzilla page about this.

Here are links (copied from the Bugzilla comments) to valinux' workaround:

This patch worked perfectly. Or, at least, far better than all my previous efforts combined :)

Oracle 8.1.6 vs. Shared Memory (perhaps less relevant; no one else has posted a problem with this)

When following these instructions for installing Oracle, the resulting initora8.ora file includes the line

shared_pool_size = 524288 00
which seems to tell Oracle to use 50MB of shared memory. The kernel shipped with RedHat has a limit of 32MB of shared memory (SHMMAX in /usr/src/linux/include/asm-i386/shmparm.h). The first system I installed Oracle on (with only 128MB of RAM) ran fine with the kernel from the distribution. On the second (and fourth) systems (which both had 512MB of RAM), Oracle was cranky until I recompiled the kernel with a larger SHMMAX.

-- Eric Northup, October 24, 2000
Slackware 7 Install

.I ran into two small things I had to fix to install Oracle on Slackware 7.. one is to copy the free command from /bin to /usr/bin otherwise dbassist will error out with java errors regarding number format. The other fix I can't remember... wish I had posted this at the time, but was also a command in a different directory in Slackware than RH, but as I remember it was easier to figure out

-- James Ross, October 31, 2000

If the installer chokes with a grey box upon install, you may want to look at this link: The source of the problem seems to be one of the security updates for Linux.

This is related to the runInstall script not working.

-- Jade Rubick, November 1, 2000

I cannot get oracle installed. Tried 3 times now. Running redhat 6.2 on a pIII 800mhz, 256 ram and 20 gig hd. I have a 600mb swap also. THe installation fails up to the acceptance test. I go into oracle first. i type svrmgrl then connect internal then startup Then i recieve a oracle error ora- 02050 i think ...controle file error. Whats up? i followed the directions results? :( HELP ME !!!!!!~

-- ahmed ahmed, December 4, 2000
I'm installing on Redhat 7.0 everything works except the autostart script It won't autostart and when I go to start it as root, which is what the auto start does I get thois message.

Oracle Server Manager Release - Production

Message 4505 not found; No message file for product=SVRMGR, facility=MGR

Error while trying to retrieve text for error ORA-12545
SVRMGR> connect internal
Message 701 not found; No message file for product=SVRMGR, facility=MGR
Message 701 not found; No message file for product=SVRMGR, facility=MGR
Error while trying to retrieve text for error ORA-12545 SVRMGR>
Anyone have an answer.

-- Christopher Brown, December 15, 2000
I just finished installing Oracle 8.1.7 on fresh install of Red Hat 6.2 [whew!] and wanted to share two items which are incorrect/missing from the "Installing Oracle 8.1.6" instructions for version 8.1.7.

Firstly, do NOT include the "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ORACLE_HOME..." line in ~oracle/.bash_profile. If you forget, and added the line anyway, your install will report an error about 85% into it during the linking. Not to worry, just launch a terminal window, su - oracle (enter passwd), emacs ~oracle/.bash_profile, now remove that line. Now exit (logout), then su - oracle (log in again), env | grep ORA, check to make sure that line is missing, and if so, exit terminal. Now click retry & the install process should recover. Secondly, when trying to start dbassist, I kept getting SIGSEGV error. Simply type 'xhost +' in the terminal window and then retry dbassist.

Two days ago I began this installation process with Red Hat 7.0 and kept getting the same linking errors during install. Removing the LD_LIBRARY_PATH line probably would have fixed my errors here as well (I spent most of my energies installing glibc2.1 over 2.2 and then wearily decided to revert to 6.2). Hope this helps other Oracle/Linux install newbies like myself.

-- Liz Pelletier, February 13, 2001

Several people mentioned the need of re-compiling the kernel to set SHMMAX. This can be set at runtime nowadays via the sysctl or /proc interfaces. For RedHat add the following to /etc/sysctl.conf:
# For oracle, half of physmem
kernel.shmmax = 67108864
Or do
$ echo 67108864 > /proc/sys/kernel/shmmax

-- Maarten Ballintijn, March 6, 2001
A note on running the runInstaller file from Oracle cdrom. I also ran into the problem before on Redhat and now Caldera eServer. I have had this problem with the Staroffice disk from Sun also. The fix i did was to make sure I did the mount with "-t iso9660" in my mount command. I could then execute the file. Hope this helps.

-- Jay Bennett, March 15, 2001
SuSE 7.1 issues

In addition to the comment of Thomas Hundt further up you have to keep in mind that SuSE changed the runlevels to version 7.1:

SS / 1

So that would mean that instead of creating the symbolic links to oracle8i and listener8i in /etc/rc.d/rc2.d and rc3.d you have to create them in the directories rc3.d and rc5.d.

-- Timo Hentschel, June 19, 2001

SuSE 7.1 and 7.2 issues

Before running the runinstaller you probably have to use

unset LANG
It seems that Oracle has some problems with recent versions of glibc. You should therefore have a look at the SuSE support page, download the glibc-stubs from oracle technet and read the README carefully before using it AFTER installing oracle and BEFORE generating the first database.

-- Timo Hentschel, July 4, 2001
Installing Oracle 8.1.6 or 8.1.7 under RedHat 7.1

I would suggest to follow the easy and great instructions of Bruno Mattarollo:
and check how I did following the steps that are here in this page:
message board

-- Rocael Hern√°ndez, July 6, 2001
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