Monthly Archives: October 2006

Installing Oracle in RHEL4

Note: If you get stuck at any point, see bottom for troubleshooting tips!

1. up2date xorg-x11-deprecated-libs : is required by the installer
2. up2date gcc gcc-c++ libaio libstdc++-devel compat-libstdc++-33 sysstat : required by Oracle

Create the oracle groups and user account:

groupadd oinstall
groupadd dba
useradd -m -g oinstall -G dba oracle
mkdir /opt/oracle
chown oracle.oinstall /opt/oracle
chmod 775 /opt/oracle

Set shell limits for the oracle user:

1. In /etc/security/limits.conf add these lines:

oracle soft nproc 2047
oracle hard nproc 16384
oracle soft nofile 1024
oracle hard nofile 63536

2. In /etc/pam.d/login add this line: session required /lib/security/
Note: In RHEL4 with SELinux enabled, a comment says that “ open” should be the last session rule. So i added the line right before that.

3. Add to /etc/profile these lines:

if [ $USER = oracle ]; then
    ulimit -u 16384 -n 63536
    umask 0022

Starting the installer…

su - oracle
cd database

It’s probably a good idea to make notes of the relevant screens that appear. I simply take screenshots with Alt + PrintScreen, twice per screen: first with the original values, then again after i made my changes.

In the first screen, set Oracle Home Location to /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1 and fill in the password fields. The location can be anywhere else too, but this seems to be a common practice.

In the next screen you can accept the default settings, the oraInventory directory will only be needed during the installation. (You may still want to keep it afterwards, for the log messages during installation.)

Next, Oracle will complain about all kinds of things, missing packages, insufficient kernel parameters, etc. Make sure you eliminate all these problems. (Or as many as possible. See my notes at the end of this section.)

In my case the kernel parameter insufficiencies were something like:

Checking for semopm=100; found semopm=32.       Failed <<<<
Checking for semmni=128; found semmni=128.      Passed
Checking for shmmax=536870912; found shmmax=33554432.   Failed <<<<
Checking for shmmni=4096; found shmmni=4096.    Passed
Checking for shmall=2097152; found shmall=2097152.      Passed
Checking for file-max=65536; found file-max=25025.      Failed <<<<
Checking for VERSION=2.6.9; found VERSION=2.6.9-42.EL.  Passed
Checking for ip_local_port_range=1024 - 65000; found ip_local_port_range=32768 - 61000. Failed <<<<
Checking for rmem_default=262144; found rmem_default=110592.    Failed <<<<
Checking for rmem_max=262144; found rmem_max=110592.    Failed <<<<
Checking for wmem_default=262144; found wmem_default=110592.    Failed <<<<
Checking for wmem_max=262144; found wmem_max=110592.    Failed <<<<

…which i fixed by adding these lines to /etc/sysctl.conf
(The commented lines indicate the orginal values. These definitions were not originally in the file, i added them myself for future reference.)

# semmsl, semmns, semopm, semmni
#kernel.sem = 250       32000   32      128
kernel.sem = 250        32000   100     128
#kernel.shmmax = 33554432
kernel.shmmax = 536870912
#fs.file-max = 25025
fs.file-max = 65536
#net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 32768   61000
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 1024     65000
#net.core.rmem_default = 110592
net.core.rmem_default = 262144
#net.core.rmem_max = 110592
net.core.rmem_max = 262144
#net.core.wmem_default = 110592
net.core.wmem_default = 262144
#net.core.wmem_max = 110592
net.core.wmem_max = 262144

Note that to add the right definitions, you need to know the fully qualified sysctl variable names, but Oracle’s error message isn’t detailed enough. For example, Oracle says wmem_max is not enough, but the fully qualified name of the variable is net.core.wmem_max. You can figure out the proper names by grep-ing through the output of sysctl -a, like sysctl -a | grep wmem.

To make these changes take effect do sysctl -p. This will reload the default sysctl config file and apply the settings. If you want you can confirm the changed values like sysctl -a | grep wmem.

Another thing Oracle complained about was insufficient swap space. The installer is simply a little paranoid, I guess. I figured it should be enough and I had no problems. If you are paranoid you can create a swap file. (Actually i would have created one gladly, but was already very tight on disk space, in the vmware virtual machine with 8GB.) To create a swap file refer to man mkswap. This file is only needed during the installation, you can delete it later.

These were all the errors i encountered. They may be different in your system. If you are at all serious, i suggest you leave NOTHING behind.

Oracle’s installation logs are in /home/oracle/oraInventorylogs/installActions*

In the following steps the installer went on to create the database. Finally a screen requested me to execute with root the following commands:

..which went without a glitch, and the installer finished normally.

In the end you will get a screen with urls to Oracle Enterprise Manager (port 1158) and isqlplus (port 5560). I suggest you take a screenshot of this screen too.


How to install without X windows on target machine?
From X windows on remote machine, ssh to target machine with -X flag on (ForwardX11 ssh config option or -X on command line). For this to work you also need to install xorg-x11-xauth package.
Installation in CentOS
1. Start the installer with ./runInstaller -ignoreSysPrereqs
2. There is no xorg-x11-deprecated-libs in CentOS, instead the following packages are required: libXp, libXtst, ,
Installer of Oracle Net Configuration fails with JVM crash, when getting DNS domain name.
Checked the output of hostname and domainname, since there was no domain name set I set it to something, and also added the hostname and hostname.domainname to the line in /etc/hosts.


Installing RHEL4 in vmware

The catch was that the RHEL4 installer needs two CDs and i wanted to use the downloaded images without burning them to physical CDs. So i created the virtual machine with two CDROMs linked to the two ISO images. It worked! The installer successfully found the second CD!

Replacing the hard drive of a G4 iBook and recovering user data

It was my friend Joe’s iBook. He kept it running all the time. But one day it just froze. (Btw, this happened shortly after he upgraded to iTunes7… Coincidence?) After restarting, the system wouldn’t come up. So he took it to Mac. They said the hard drive is busted. They can replace it for $500. You would think it’s natural that they either recover your data or return your busted hard drive, right? Well at least i thought so. But no, they said they won’t recover the data and won’t give back the broken hard drive.

When i heard this from Joe, i told him to call the manager. Get himself back his own damn hard drive. But it all seemed too much of a trouble. So Joe looked for other ways instead and found this website:

Replacing the hard drive of a G4 iBook

…and asked me if i thought it was possible that we replace the hard drive ourselves. I said: absolutely.

We asked Mac to return the iBook. That cost $30.
Next we bought an external hard drive case for $10.
And a new hard drive, bigger and better, $135.

Before doing anything else, i popped in an Ubuntu live CD to check out if i can see the hard drive and its contents. But had no luck there, the partition table appeared to be empty and i couldn’t mount the disk. For all Ubuntu cared, the hard drive was blank. So i tried the live CD with another friend’s iBook, but got the same result. I still don’t know how come the partition table appeared to be blank when it wasn’t actually blank. The size of the hard disk was correct. I used cfdisk btw. This was a bit of a disappointment about Ubuntu.

Next, we followed the instructions of the excellent website. The steps were not exactly the same, but we managed. There was nothing scary about the many screws and bolts and the funny tools we needed. But unclipping the clips was a bitch.
After replacing the hard drive, everything worked and the reinstallation of the OS went smoothly. After the system was back up, we connected the external hard drive to try to see the old data. Unfortunately, iBook didn’t recognize the drive… Then i connected it to my Ubuntu system, and guess what, it worked just fine…

I tried to copy all his user files. Copying got stuck in Joe’s Firefox profile. Apparently that’s where the hard drive got busted. So i skipped those files and copied everything else. Documents. Photos. Music. Movies. Later he simply dragged those folders over his new system, and everything fell into place. Mails too. From his Firefox profile i could salvage a backup of his bookmarks that was a month old, more than good enough for him.

He was very happy. Instead of paying $500 and losing all his data, he paid roughly $175 and got back all his data and a more or less still usable hard drive. I pat myself on the shoulder 😉