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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.

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