What if Oracle 11gR2 never gets certified on RHEL6/OL6?

I’ve been involved in a number of blog comment, email and twitter exchanges over the last few months about the 11gR2 on RHEL6/OL6 certification issue.

The last time I blogged specifically about it was in October and it’s now over 6 months since Red Hat completed their part in the certification of 11gR2 on RHEL6, yet still no news.

In the course of these conversations I’ve come across a number of ridiculous conspiracy theories, as well as statements from people who know a hell of a lot more about Oracle platform certification than me. It’s worth saying at this point that none of the sources of these ideas are current Oracle employees, so they are not privy to “inside” information. Same goes for me. I’m just another person trying to figure out what is going on.

Here are some of the points from the last few months that stand out to me:

  • Oracle software working on a platform and certifying it on that platform are not the same thing.
  • Platform certification is a labor intensive operation, most of which is the responsibility of the platform vendor.
  • Even though RH have completed their part of the RHEL6 certification process, Oracle have not done the same for OL6. Oracle will *never* let RHEL6 be certified if OL6 is not.
  • Certification of Oracle on OL6 will have an impact on all Oracle appliances and engineered systems currently on sale. All of these systems currently use OL5.x. How long after certification will customers start demanding an OS upgrade?
  • Oracle have no pressing need to certify RHEL6/OL6, since all the performance improvements of the RHEL6 kernel are already in the OL5.x UEK. Oracle are a business and why throw resources certifying an “old” version of the database on a “new” platform when a new Oracle version is just around the corner.
  • Distro version is unimportant on an Oracle server. The kernel is the biggest factor. Most of the software in a Linux distro is useless guff as far as an Oracle installation is concerned. Do you really care what the version of the browser or LibreOffice ships with your server OS?
  • Oracle 12c is currently in beta. The rumor is it will be announced/released at OOW12. Once it is released Oracle will have to go into overdrive to make sure it is certified on all the important platforms and presumably shipping on all their appliances and engineered systems. That is going to be a mammoth task. Do you really see them wasting time on 11gR2 at this point in the DB lifecycle?
  • The support cycle for RHEL and OL has increased to 10 years, so there is no pressing need to upgrade your OS from a support perspective.

Of course, nobody on the outside really knows what is going on and I imagine anyone on the inside would be looking for a new job if they let slip. From this point on I will follow the advice of people far more qualified than me and assume that “Oracle 11gR2 will never be certified on RHEL6/OL6”. If by some fluke it does happen, then it will be a happy surprise.

To end this depressing post on a lighter note, this is one of my recent tweets on the subject…



PS. I purposely didn’t attribute names to these points. Not everyone wants to be outed to the world, especially when their opinions were expressed via email.

Update: It’s finally certified. See here.

University of Birmingham CS Alumni Dinner…

Every year the computer science department of The University of Birmingham bring together alumni from the department and current students for an informal dinner to allow the students to get a feel for what goes on in the outside world. It’s sort of like career speed dating. Even though I’m not an alumni of the CS department (I did biology), I’ve been asked if I will come to the next one in March. I’m kinda excited and nervous at the same time.

I feel another outing for the oraclenerd t-shirt coming on! 🙂



Repairman Jack: Legacies…

Legacies is the second book in the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson.

This book was more like a straight detective story based around a new scientific discovery. There was no supernatural aspect to the case, which was a bit disappointing. The story itself was fine, but the supernatural thing peaks my interest that bit more. I’m still happy to keep reading the books in the series, especially since they are only £1.97 on Kindle. 🙂



New Linux Articles…

I wrote in my New Years Resolutions post I was considering writing some revision notes for, and ultimately sitting, the RHCSA and RHCE exams.

I’ve started on that journey now with a bunch of articles.

I’m trying to keep the articles focussed on the syllabus for the exams, which is not as easy as it sounds. It’s a battle between saying enough to be useful, without regurgitating the man pages. When I’m writing about Oracle I feel like I find that point quite naturally. I’m still a little hesitant about doing the same for Linux.

Having been a Linux fanboy for over a decade, there is little in the syllabus that is completely new to me, but already the background reading has sent me on a few interesting tangents. That’s one of the nice things about reading manuals. You go looking for one specific bit of information, then accidental veer off into something completely different which is much more interesting. 🙂

The articles will be grouped together in this location on the main Linux page of the site:

In addition to the new articles, some old ones have been linked there as they are relevant. Where necessary I will update the old articles in time.

I have no time scale in mind as far as preparing for the exams, but it would be nice to get them done before Oracle 12c is released, or they will get delayed for 18 months. 🙂




ACE Director Program Updates: My thoughts…

As you probably already heard, the ACE Director program has recently altered their travel assistance policy. Some of the bigger, well established events will no longer be considered for travel assistance, and even those that are will have a limit to the number of ACEs that will get funding. The immediate fallout of this is some ACE Directors (including myself) have had to pull out of some events we had planned to speak at.

My first reaction was to post the following message to Victoria, Lillian and Justin,

Thanks for the update. I hope you guys don’t get too much hassle from people about this change. If you do, just remember, people will always find something to moan about. 🙂

As always, I’m very grateful for all the time and effort you guys have put into the program over the years.

Of course I am disappointed about having to pull out of events like KScope12, but I’m not about to throw my toys out of the pram. 🙂

I still think the ACE Director program is a really cool thing and I will continue to support it for as long as they will have me. I’ve met some truly brilliant people through the program and I fully expect to continue doing so. In my opinion, the travel assistance is only a small aspect of what I’ve gained from being a member of the group, so I hope people don’t focus on it too much.

Of course, if I stop getting free t-shirts, it’s all over. 🙂


Tim… (Still proud to be an ACED)

Mark Ferguson: I (almost) didn’t recognize you with your clothes off…

On Sunday evenings I usually pop over to see some mates. Jodey fills me in on the latest gossip, while Steve tries to convince me that vitamin C can cure every problem know to mankind. We do some yoga, then watch whatever they’ve got on series link before I go home. At the moment, we are watching Spartacus: Vengeance. We watched the previous series together, so we knew what to expect. Last night we decided to play “body-part bingo”, which involved deciding on a quota of various human body-parts we expected to see during the episode and trying to keep count to see if we guessed right. 🙂

All was going well until one particular scene, where the master of the household was “enjoying” himself with two slaves (one female and one male). There was a classic quote, which I will not repeat here for fear of offending the more sensitive among you, but at that point I lost count and said something to the tune of, “Wait a minute, I know him!” This caused raised eyebrows and the pause button was hit giving me chance to explain…

I have a great memory for faces, but struggle to remember names or where I remember the face from. Out came the iPad and a quick search revealed the master of the household was an actor called Mark Ferguson. I checked out some of his other acting credits and it all fell into place. When I wrote about last years NZOUG Conference I mentioned the murder-mystery theme. The compere for the night was an actor from Auckland. Guess what his name was? 🙂

He was a top bloke and now I’ve seen rather more of him that I would have expected to see. If I ever see him again I will not be able to stop myself from shouting one of his lines from this episode… 🙂



Introducing the Hardline According to Tim Hall…

I’ve made quite a big decision today. I’ve decided that I will no longer waste my time answering crap questions on my forum. I don’t mean I will not answer any questions. Just that I will not answer questions where the poster has put little to no effort into the question. The sort of things that drive me mad are:

  • No indentation in code.
  • Refusing to use the CODE tags around formatted text, thereby making it unreadable.
  • Refusing to provide CREATE TABLE and INSERT statements to set up a test case. I don’t care that I could knock up the test case in 5 minutes, I shouldn’t have to. You are asking for help. You are not paying me to help you. You should do everything in your power to minimize the time I have to spend on your problem.
  • Sending me whole scripts or packages when you already know the issue is focused around a single query. If you can’t be bothered to strip that query out and send it to me as part of the test case, I can’t be bothered to answer your question.
  • Ignoring my requests for specific information.
  • People who post things like “URGENT”. This implies your issue is more important than anyone elses, or indeed my time. That’s rather rude. If you need an SLA, you should pay someone for support. What you consider urgent and what I consider urgent may be two different things. I had a guy post a question on a Friday evening with “URGENT” plastered all over it. I felt charitable so I took the time out to help. A few minutes later I got a reply saying, “Thanks for the reply. I’ll check it out on Monday.” Are you kidding me? It’s so urgent it can wait until Monday?
  • People who post, “Give me a detailed answer” or “Give me a step-by-step procedure”. I know you don’t want an RTFM, but those sort of sentences make my blood boil.

The list could go on, but you get the idea.

I’ve tried to be tougher a few times, then felt guilty and reverted. I’ve also considered closing the forum a number of times and hanging out on the OTN forums instead. That way I could be more selective, helping the people that actually take the time to post reasonably structured questions.

For the most part I really enjoy answering questions and helping people, but the lack of effort on some people’s part gets on my tit end.

There is a sticky post at the top of every forum describing how you should ask a question in the forum. From now on, people who don’t follow the rules get ignored or their accounts deleted. I simply don’t have the will to carry on trying to help people who can’t even be bothered to write a reasonable question and then ignore my calls for clarification.

If you are one of the people in question and you think I’m being unreasonable, then I would politely suggest that you jog on!



Dbvisit Replicate…

Last months I wrote a post Dbvisit Standby and said I planned on taking a look at their replication product at some point. I had actually already started writing an article on it, but got a bit side tracked before putting it live. I went back to it today and noticed a new version of the product had been released, so I downloaded it and gave it a run through.

Once again DBVisit have produced a clean and easy to install product that does exactly what it says it will. You guys better be careful or you’re going to turn me into a fanboy! 🙂

If you need replication and are checking out Oracle Streams and Oracle GoldenGate, you should probably take a look at Dbvisit Replicate also. You could be pleasantly surprised.



SQL Developer 3.1 : Scheduler Support…

I had a play around with the scheduler support in SQL Developer 3.1 today. I’m late to the party because most of it has been there since 3.0, but what the hell.

It’s more of an opinion piece, so it started as a blog post, but it got too big. Not really what I usually put on the website, but I figured if I put it on the blog it would get in the way of the movie and book reviews and that simply wouldn’t do… 🙂

I am still worried about feature creep turning SQL Developer into the new TOAD, but so far so good. I’m liking it more and more with each release.