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1. Introduction

1.1 What's in here?

Linux is well known for being difficult and, generally, user hostile. Being a bit of a Unix fan I'm not sure whether I agree with that or not.

Oracle is similar I guess. Initially it's difficult to get to grips with, but it's difficult to work with any other RDBMS when you're used to it.

Combine the two, remember that 8i is only the second production release, and you realise that this isn't going to be straight-forward, even if you're familiar with both.

I am, but I had problems. Many problems were my own stupidity or hubris, but I document them for completeness.

1.2 Who is this HOWTO for?

Fundamentally this document is about installing Oracle 8i Version on RedHat Linux 6.0, and any deviation from this configuration may reduce your chances of success. (I originally tried to write this guide for all types of Linux and all recent version of Oracle, but the structure was unclear and it was less useful for just about everyone.)

For later versions of Oracle, including 9i, you have two options. I have some errata on my website. You'll find that the process is very similar to that found in this document although there are some 'gotchas' for each version. Generally speaking, newer version of Oracle are much easier to install than 8.1.5 and are recommended over it by just about everyone, including Oracle themselves.

Or if you prefer there are also a number of other, more specific guides at the Linux Documentation Project (in fact there seems to be a new one there every time I check back!). If you're installing 8i on RedHat 7.x, Krastio Atanassov and Luca Roversi's HOWTO might be useful. For installing Oracle 9i on RedHat 8 or above, Evgueni Tzvetanov's guide could well do the trick.

For different distributions of Linux chances of success are also good, especially if they are RedHat-like, Mandrake for example. Again, my web site may contain advice for certain troublesome distributions.

If you want to install 8.0, I recommend you try Linux Journals guide, and if you want to install any of the previous versions you're going to have to use the SCO version and follow Paul Haigh's Oracle Database HOWTO.

If you're trying to install the 'right' version, what level of background knowledge will you need?

Perhaps the easiest way is if I explain a little of my background, clearly if yours is similar we're going to be on the same wave-length. I've used a lot of Unix and Oracle over the last few years. At home I've been running Linux since 1994 and I've been using Solaris and HP-UX on-and-off since 1992. I first came across Oracle in 1996 and have worked with versions 7, 8 and 8i. I'm mainly a developer, but I have done DBA and sysadmin-type work.

In summary, I can find my way around a Unix box and I know much of the Oracle terminology. You'll need both to brave the rest of this document. But don't worry if you have a different background, follow this guide closely and keep asking questions. The Linux community are a helpful bunch, just don't expect an answer if you haven't at least made an effort to solve the problem yourself.

1.3 New versions of this document

Since RedHat Linux 6.x is no longer being supported and given that there will be no new releases of Oracle 8i, you can probably assume that this is the most up-to-date version of this document.

As discussed in the previous section, there are documents in the LDP and extra sections on my website that might help you get more contemporary versions of Oracle installed on newer versions on Linux.

1.4 Disclaimer

You get what you pay for. I offer no warranty of any kind, implied or otherwise. I'll help you where I can but legally you're on your own.

1.5 Credits and Thanks

This HOWTO has been written by Stephen Darlington. It couldn't have been created without the constant stream of questions and answers on the Oracle Technology Network website and the Usenet news-groups. So thanks to the people that keep posting and sorry that I can't credit you all individually!

Many people have emailed me directly with hints, updates and corrections; this document would not be as useful as it is without their contribution. So thanks go to the following people: Ton Haver, Guy Cole, Iain Frerichs, Albert Braun, Steve Morando, Krill Kokoshka, Brain Slesinsky, Galen G Burk, Bill Gathen and Veres Lajos.

I welcome any constructive feedback on this HOWTO and any general Linux or Oracle issues. However, if you have questions it's probably better that you ask on a newsgroup or the discussion forums on my website where others can benefit from the solutions. Email me at stephen at zx81 dot org dot uk.

1.6 Licence

This document is copyright 1999-2003 Stephen Darlington. You may use, disseminate and reproduce it freely, provided you:

These restrictions are intended to protect potential readers from stale or mangled versions. If you think you have a good case for an exception, ask me.

(This copyright notice has been lifted from Eric Raymond's Distribution HOWTO.)

You do not need to ask me if you'd like to provide a translation, although notification would be appreciated.

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