Fedora 14…

Fedora 14 is here and so are the obligatory articles:

My attitude to Fedora and Ubuntu as changed today, with most of that shift due to VirtualBox.

Before I switched to VirtualBox I was always reliant on my OS being able to run VMware Server. Over the years I had repeatedly encountered problems running VMware Server on Ubuntu and Fedora. Not all of them show stoppers, but enough to put me off them as my main desktop OS. Why did I stick with VMware Server? Just because it supported shared virtual disks, which allowed me to easily create virtual RAC installations. Version 3.2.8 of VirtualBox included support for shared disks for the first time, so I ditched VMware Server and launched full scale into using VirtualBox.

While I was playing around with Fedora 14 I was thinking how cool it would be to have a newer OS on my desktop that could run Google Chrome, then it dawned on me that now I can. I’ve been free of VMware Server for a while now and I hadn’t realized the knock-on effect of that.

My years of using RHEL mean I feel a little more comfortable with Fedora than Ubuntu, but to be honest all I do on a desktop is fire up VirtualBox, use a browser (preferably Chrome) and use a terminal for SSH. Virtually everything else is done in VMs.

Now, do I waste a few days assessing the various options for my desktop, or do I just stick with CentOS and deal with the fact I can’t use Chrome on it? 🙂



Grid Control 11g Installation… Success…

Well a new day and a fresh pair of eyes and it all went well. I was out this afternoon so I started the final bit of the installation running and it had completed successfully when I got home. 🙂

I’m not totally sure what was causing the previous problems. I had been taking snapshots of my VM at regular intervals over the last couple of days and I guess something must have been dodgy because when I threw it all away and started again from scratch it worked fine. Here is the installation guide listing all the steps:

So does this success change my opinion of this release? Not at all. The installation is a mess and I think Oracle really do need to have a shrink-wrapped install, even if it is a 8G download. It would reduce the barrier to entry and I just think it feels a little poor that you have to manually install a bunch of patches before you can get the product working. Makes me wince a little.



Grid Control 11g Installation Failure…

I’ve spent the last couple of days failing to install OEM Grid Control 11g on OEL 5.5 x86-64 with a 11gR2 database for the repository. The installation process is horrid. You have to manually install and patch the database and middleware software before starting the GC installation. So you end up with a whopping 7.1G of software, not including patches and the OS.

The docs are not ideal. There is a lot of cross-referencing to bugs, patches and metalink notes, which means I’ve often had about 10 browser tabs open while performing the installation. I can only assume that somewhere in the mish-mash of the docs I’ve missed something out.

I feel really disappointed with the installation process for this release. In my opinion there should be a single installation that includes the middleware, database and all necessary patches. I like to think of GC as a shrink-wrapped product I can install separate to everything else and leave alone. Not any more…

I’m off to ODTUG this week, so I’m not sure I can be bothered to waste more time on this until I get back. Perhaps someone there will be able to explain to me what the hell is going on with it.



Dipping my toe in 11gR2…

I’ve had my first play with 11gR2 today:

Nothing too unpredictable really.

I guess the most noticeable change is the new installer. I didn’t have an issue with the old installer, but a few friends from the Microsoft world had pointed out how dated it looked. The new is much cleaner, and although it will take some getting used to, I think it is a step in the right direction.

I’ve decided that I’m only going to do 64-bit installations from now on. I see little point doing the 32-bit installations, as I hope I will never work on one again. 🙂



Fedora 11 and Oracle 11g…

It’s that time again where I check to see if Oracle installs on the latest version of Fedora. The result once again is yes, it does. The main website has the links to the articles. I would add links here only the browser on this internet cafe machine doesn’t support cut & pates. 🙂

When I get on a real computer I’ll put the links in this post as well. 🙂

This release of Fedora is probably quite significant as it is likely to be the base for RHEL6.



Fedora 10 and Oracle 11gR1…

I like to meddle with Fedora from time to time, just so I can see what’s coming round the corner in RHEL. I read recently that Fedora 11 will be the base for RHEL6, which means we are about 6 months away from seeing what the future of RHEL is going to be…

Much as I expected, there were no real problems getting Oracle 11gR1 running on Fedora 10. Here is an OS and an Oracle installation guide for Fedora 10.

The Fedora 10 network configuration dialog seemed to have a couple of issues/bugs. For a start, it was impossible to set the subnet mask. It was constantly overwritten by the default gateway. I adjusted it in the config file and it was fine, but it was a bit confusing for a while. 🙂

I’ve complained a number of times in the past that Fedora doesn’t seem to have an obvious direction. Is it server or is it desktop? Of course it’s both, but I think some clear intent helps from a marketing point of view. The fact that the Desktop Edition, a live CD, is at the top of the Get Fedora page will save many people form downloading a DVD full of software they will never need. Once installed, you get access to all the software via the “Add/Remove Software” dialog.

A few interesting things about the installation are:

  • The installation package list is fixed. There’s no customization during the installation.
  • The installer assumes you want DHCP for your network.
  • SELinux and the Firewall are on by default.
  • Services like SSHD are not on by default.

I guess if these issues annoy you, don’t pick the desktop edition. 🙂

I think this is definite step in the right direction as far as encouraging Fedora for desktop use.



Fedora 9 and Oracle 11g…

I wrote a couple of articles against a beta version of Fedora 9 before I went on holiday. I did a run through against the final release of Fedora 9 today and they seem fine, so here they are:

The installation process doesn’t give you the option to turn off SELinux or the firewall. You can do it after the installation, so it’s just a small annoyance, but I don’t like it.

If you want to know my opinions on the distribution itself, read my post on Fedora 8. It’s six months later and there is still no visible sign of a direction for this distribution. I don’t think my opinion has changed.



Fedora 8 and Oracle 11g…

My Fedora 8 escapades were delayed by my OpenWorld experience, but better late than never.

The first article is a run through of a fairly basic Fedora 8 install, showing what it looks like. The second is the Oracle install guide in my normal format. There’s one little nasty in there, but for the most part it was pretty smooth sailing, especially since a guy called “Robert W. Benton” emailed me to tell me what the problem was before I had even finished downloading the OS. Thanks for that Robert. 🙂

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll no doubt mention it again, but I’m really struggling to see what the Fedora distribution is aiming for. It seems to send out contradicting messages at times. For instance, it has features that make me think it is a desktop OS:

  • Looks very soft and cuddly like a desktop OS.
  • It pops up an annoying warning message if I log on as root.
  • Users get sub-directories like Documents, Downloads, Music, Videos created by default.

But for me the big contradictions are:

  • The distribution is really big. I would expect a desktop OS to come on one CD, with the extra features available for download.
  • The installation process seems rather clumsy compared to Ubuntu. It’s not a big difference, but that slight bit of extra complexity makes it feel like a server installation to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard, but I’ve been doing this since Red Hat 5.2, so I’m not exactly a Linux newbie. I feel it could be simplified further.

Looking from the other angle, it could be considered a server OS, after all it is a playground for Red Hat (a bit of flame-bait there 🙂 ), but some of the previously mentioned points detract from that message. I remember all those people telling me that Windows wasn’t a real server OS because it forced you to have gizmos like Media Player etc. Fedora has this same feel to me now. Plus the DVD is missing a number of packages that I would expect an enterprise distribution to have. I know they are available for download, but as a server OS I would prefer to forgo the fluffy guff in favor of the enterprise stuff.

I can image some of the responses to this post. No doubt some Fedora fan[boys|girls] will post telling me that Fedora is a great desktop and/or server OS… blah, blah, blah… I’m not doubting that. I just think that we have to recognize that the server and the desktop are two totally different experiences and I don’t think Fedora sells itself well enough on either front.

Ubuntu is a classic example of how to do it right. I don’t believe it is significantly better than Fedora, but it had a clear message from day one. We all knew it was a desktop OS and it acted like that. They’ve subsequently gone the server route also, but they’ve kept it as a separate entity. This is no different to the way Microsoft tackled the same issue.

I really feel like Fedora must decide what its purpose is, or it’s just going to end up another one of those faceless distributions you try, think of as OK, then ditch in favor of something else that suits your purpose better…



Oracle 10gR2 on Fedora 7…

I had a quick go at this installation and it worked OK. I had to load a bunch of FC6 packages to get Oracle to install, link and run properly. It looks like lots of the “compat_*” packages have been removed from Fedora 7, which is a problem as Oracle 10g needs them. The “libaio” package is no longer present. I’m sure the functionality is there somewhere, but I couldn’t get the listener to work without loading the old package. Also, the “libXP” package is necessary to get the installer to run. It has also been removed, along with some deprecated X11 packages that were present in FC6.

I’m sure the cleanup makes sense going forward, and 10g is getting a little old in Fedora timescales, but I wonder how many other applications will be broken by this.

Of course, I’m no Linux expert, so maybe I’ve missed something and these extra packages are not really needed.



Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5)…

I’ve been having a play with the beta 2 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL5).

Having seen the various Fedora Core versions released since RHEL4, I knew what to expect from RHEL5, but somehow I hoped for a bit more. If just feels like RHEL4 with a different theme.

I can see why Microsoft always add a bunch fancy new gizmos to every Windows release. They need something to differentiate the product, regardless of its usefulness, and people like me fall for it every time… 🙂