PC support tips…

1) When your dad rings up asking for help with his computer, ask the following questions:

  • Do you know what [a browser | Internet Explorer] is?
  • Do you know what the “Start” button is?

If the answer to either of these questions is “NO!”, make plans to visit him on Sunday, rather than starting World War III trying to talk him through his ADSL setup!

2) Every time you visit anyone, regardless of who they are, sneak into their study and make sure their AntiVirus software is up to date. A stitch in time saves nine!

2.5) Don’t believe people when they say, “I’ve got a Norton AntiVirus subscription!” They invariably mean they run the version of Norton that was bundled on their machine and they’ve never renewed the subscription. Simply uninstall it and install AVG, then sit back and watch them marvel at how many infected files they have, and how quickly their machine runs without Norton sapping all it’s strength…


PS. The free edition of AVG is available for Linux. It seems pretty reasonable…

Could you reinstall your Oracle software without a problem?

Here’s a not-so hypothetical situation:

You install your 10g RAC on Tru64 and dutifully write down exactly what you did. Once it’s working you feel happy you could repeat the process. Indeed, you have to when you install your test and production environments. Everything works and your documentation looks good.

Fast forward to a disaster recovery test and your installation procedures don’t work anymore!

The same kit is working in production, so what’s the difference?

The software was installed on the production system, but the kit was later upgraded (more CPUs and memory) to it’s current configuration.

When attempting a fresh install on the revised configuration Oracle seemingly uses a different bunch of flags during the linking phase, which doesn’t affect the software installation, but results in “ORA-12547: TNS:lost contact” when the DBCA attempts to connect to an instance. This is repeatable from SQL*Plus.

A quick relink using the following commands and everyone is happy.

cd $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/lib
make -f ins_rdbms.mk numa_off
make -f ins_rdbms.mk ioracle

So, back to the question that is the title of this post.

Question: Could you reinstall your Oracle software without a problem?
Answer: If you’ve dabbled with the hardware, maybe not 🙂



“DROP object IF EXISTS” in Oracle?

When you run installations and patches you often have log files full of error messages that can be ignored, such as dropping objects that don’t exist prior to creating them, or in some cases creating objects that already exist. As a result, trying to identify “real” errors is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

It would be nice if these meaningless errors could be supressed. I guess it would be a little like the IGNORE=Y option in the import utility.

Of course, there is a judgement call about what constitutes a real error. In some cases, an object not being present when you try to drop it signifies something is very wrong, but for many scripts it’s no big deal.

If Oracle included a “DROP object IF EXISTS” syntax like mySQL, and maybe even a “CREATE object IF MISSING” syntax, it would be a real bonus.

I feel an enhancement request coming on 🙂



Update: The enhancement request has now been logged on Metalink (ER# 5151826) 🙂

Disaster Recovery, Solaris and Inside Man…

I’ve just started another disaster recovery test week. I’ve got to install/recover the whole of the production environment, including 10g RAC in Tru64, Cold-Failover Cluster Infratructure on Linux and Application Servers. As a result, might get a little quiet over the next week…

As well as testing some FC5 stuff, see previous post, I installed Solaris 10 on x86-32 at the weekend. It was pretty straight forward, but it took forever to complete. I ended up leaving it over night. I don’t know if this was because it’s just slow, or whether it was an issue with VMware Server. Once it had finished I started thinking about an Oracle installation, then I noticed that 10g is not available for Solaris 10 on x86-32, just x86-64. Bummer! I might end up writing a Solaris operating system installation document, just so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted the time 🙂

On Saturday night I went to see The Inside Man. I thought it was a cool film, but it’s one of those films that twists and turns constantly. If you like heist films, then you’ll probably dig it, but avoid reading any reviews that mention content, because it would be really easy to ruin the film…



Fedora Core 5 (FC5) Update…

A lot has been said about Fedora Core 5 (FC5) recently, so I thought I would pull together a few things of interest.

Q. Where can you get it from?
A. Try here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Distribution/Download

Q. What is it like?
A. I like the review by Howard Rogers.
Q. Can I install Oracle Database 10g Release 2 on it?
A. There has been a lot of hot air produced (mostly by me) this week about this question, but the answer seems to be NO! Here is a draft installation guide I wrote against a beta version of FC5, but so far I’ve had no luck getting this installation to work on the final release of FC5. I’ve decided to leave the article on my site as a testament to my failure 🙂 Please add to the comments if you have any workarounds.

Q. Can I install Oracle AS10g Release 3 on it?
A. Strangely enough, this seems to work fine. I wrote this installation guide against a beta version of FC5 and it works fine against the final release also. Miracles never cease 🙂 Of course, installing and being stable are two very different things!

Q. Can I use FC5 as a VMware Server host or client?
A. Yes you can, but it’s not exactly straight forward and reliable. The VMware forums will help you get it sorted, specifically these threads (host, client).

Q. What do you think about, FC5 Tim? (Asking yourself a question is kinda freaky :))
A. I don’t like it. My main interest is in server software and FC5 seems to break just about everything it touches, so CentOS4 (a Red Hat clone) is the obvious choice for me.

I hope this information will make life a bit quicker and easier for anyone reading.