Kevin Kempf's Blog

June 10, 2014

Let the games begin!

Filed under: 11i, R12.2, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 8:34 am


R12.2.3 Testing has begun

R12.2 changes a LOT of things, especially for an applications DBA.  We’re underway with our upgrade plans to 12.2, and I was happy to see if you have the patience to make all the pieces work (Chrome, Ubuntu, Java, PopUp Blocker, Chrome Plug-In for Oracle R12) you can actually launch forms from Ubuntu.

Initial Upgrade Impressions

There’s a lot of work to upgrade from 11i to 12.2.3.  The upgrade documents are extensive, and not light reading.  Customizations are a bugger to bring over, the whole landscape has changed with edition based redefinition.  Much of this revolves around the changes to the techstack (Weblogic), and online patching.  The new patching utility, adop, works in conjunction with other old favorite ad utilities, but it’s not terribly intuitive.  There was something reassuring watching my workers progress and run; maybe there’s a way to do it and I just haven’t figured out the appropriate CLI switch.  You can still look at them via adctrl, but it’s not the same, I don’t get the reassurance of knowing I only have 123,000 jobs left to finish.  Mostly, though, things look the same.  More to follow.


June 9, 2014

Google’s message to Ubuntu users of Chrome 35 and JRE

Filed under: Chrome, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 10:59 am


Take that Chrome Users!

OK, they really didn’t do that.  But they might as well have.

Ubuntu at Work

I like using Ubuntu as my primary desktop at work.  I have to keep Windoze around for compatibility issues, but Linux is much faster and more reliable.  Recently, I found that I kept getting the error “Java Plugin Not Installed”.  I finally had time to dig into it, and it turns out it was due to an upgrade from Chrome 34 to Chrome 35.  The sym link in my /opt/google/chrome/plugins directory was still good, but Chrome 35 just ignores it.  I found all this out (ironically) with a lot of Googling, I found this

I won’t say I understand all the jargon, but the gist of it is this: for whatever reason, Chrome on Linux no longer supports Oracle JDK/JRE as of a few weeks ago.  Here’s a funny thread showing me I’m not the only one unamused by this:

The Fix

If you find yourself in this spot, just use Ubuntu software center to uninstall Chrome, go pull version 34 here and reinstall.  Then it magically works again, and I can get into the EBS forms.  Google, I know you don’t care what I think, but seriously?  It’s Oracle Java.  Pretty universal, and this open source Iced Tea stuff doesn’t cut it for big boy applications.  Please restore this functionality, or I’ll have to move to the F-browser and nobody wants that!

February 12, 2013

Installing the Oracle 11g Client on Ubuntu 12.1 64-bit

Filed under: 11g, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 2:01 pm

This pertains to who?

I suppose the audience for this post is pretty narrow; namely, Oracle DBA’s running Ubuntu as their desktop.  It’s basically a way to cram a square peg into a round hole and get the Oracle 11g ( client running on Ubuntu.  I won’t go on another rant about why I don’t run Windows at work.  The beauty of it is, these days I don’t have to, have you seen Windows 8?  Ha, OK, let met get to it here.

My original post

I performed this experiment a few years back when I first went to Ubuntu as my desktop, and it was on version 10.  At some point since then, my walk through started to fail, so I was compelled to write it up again as I hacked up my OS to get it working.  Still, the original is more verbose, and probably worth a look.

Download the Installer

I grabbed from; this is the 64-bit linux client.  I think you could get it from OTN also.  Obviously, unzip this file somewhere convenient.

Get the required packages installed in Ubuntu

Basically, this means get all the libaio packages installed.  From software center, yours should look like this

software center installs libaio

Create symbolic links

You will need the following, run as root:

  • ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu /usr/lib64
  • ln -s /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /lib/ (I created this before the install, since it was absent, and now it’s a file and not a link.  Not sure what to make of that, exactly)
  • ln -s /usr/bin/basename /bin/basename
  • ln -s /usr/bin/awk /bin/awk
  • I think the installer creates this one:  ln ­-s $ORACLE_HOME/lib/ $ORACLE_HOME/lib/

Screenshot from 2013-02-12 11:05:37 Screenshot from 2013-02-12 11:10:27goodone

Run the installer


The installer complains about the versions of all your packages; just hit ignore all, and force it to proceed.  Next, next, next just like Windows.

You will have to run 2 type scripts from the command line after the installer finishes.  There should be no errors whatsoever after the system check warnings.

Final Proof



Running the Oracle Mobile Supply Chain (MSCA) GUI on Ubuntu 12.1

Filed under: 11i, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 1:34 pm

MSCA Overview

Oracle’s 11i Mobile Supply Chain (which is itself a small piece of their warehouse application) is essentially a telnet version of the forms relevant to certain business areas.  Why, you might ask?  As a manufacturer, we find it rather convenient to be able to perform Work in Process and Shipping transactions from a hand-held wireless device, instead of being tied down to a PC with a browser logged into Oracle professional forms.  In short, it’s a small footprint, narrowed-down version of 11i forms.  My original post is here, but it’s a bit dated.


What would an Oracle product implementation be without a bunch of patches?  To get this product cooking right, you need to put in 5712178 (allows you to start/stop the applications tier telnet server via and 8305261 (fixes a bug which didn’t allow you to actually stop the telnet server via

Why Ubuntu?

You can find plenty of articles about how to install the MSCA client on Windows.  But I don’t like to run Windows; it’s clumsy and tries too hard to out-think me (not hard to do).  Ubuntu is a nice compromise, because it is still linux, but has good desktop support (drivers for wifi and displays come to mind).  I especially like being able to right click and open a terminal (sudo apt install nautilus-open-terminal) and type sqlplus apps@prod and be able to connect to my database directly.  More on installing the Oracle 11g client in the next post.

Oracle’s GUI

It’s not pretty.  It’s basically a java GUI to wrap around a telnet session.  But it is much nicer than telnet.  Incidentally, don’t hit the tab key, ever, when you’re using it.  Despite the fact that it’s almost second nature to do so, it’s not supported unless you’re using java 1.1.8 (yep, the one from 1999) and if you do hit tab, the GUI gets totally hosed.  I don’t know how to explain it better.  Oracle is aware of the bug, but since they haven’t solved it since 1.3 came out, I don’t have a lot of faith a patch is eminent.

Download the MSCA patch

Basically, to use this GUI you need to pull patch 4205328.  There is an updated version of this patch which I could not get to work (more on that later).  Extract the zip file and get the file, that’s all you need.

Setup your environment

Create an MWA install directory.  In my case, I made /usr/local/oracle/msca/lib and /usr/local/oracle/msca/log.  Then I created a script which looks like this (you may need to tweak the JAVA_HOME to match your settings):

$JAVA_HOME/bin/java -classpath $MWA_GUI_TOP/lib/ oracle.apps.mwa.awt.client.StartGUI

Note that you can point to either a JRE or JDK top; either work.  chmod +x your script and you’re basically done.

Launch it

In my case, is on my Ubuntu Desktop.   So I double clicked it

Click Run

Now you get to the host screen

host login

Specify the Site Name, Host name and port

This can be defaulted through MSCA configuration

This can be defaulted through MSCA configuration

Login with your normal apps 11i credentials

Login with your normal apps 11i credentials

Select an MSCA responsibility

Select an MSCA responsibility

menu items

Ready for business!

Updated GUI versions

While I know we got the newer version of the GUI to run on Windows, it wouldn’t cooperate with me on Ubuntu.  The newer patch is 12780257 which supposedly fixed some bugs (curiously, though, not the tabbing issue!).  When I tried to put my launcher together, it crashed and burned

Seems straight forward




You can run the GUI from Ubuntu (or any Linux version which has a JDK/JRE available) with a little improvisation.  Perhaps I made a simple mistake on the newer version, if so I’d love to hear about it.  In the meantime, I can at least regression test mobile apps from my preferred desktop!




September 2, 2011

Making the Oracle 11gR2 client install on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Filed under: 11g, Ubuntu — kkempf @ 3:21 pm

A Fresh Start

I recently had to reload my work notebook so it would dual-boot Windows 7 or Ubuntu 10.04 (instead of the old configuration, where Windows 7 ran inside Ubuntu via Virtual Box). As a result, I lost my tried and true Oracle client install on Ubuntu, and had to go about it from scratch again. Officially, like so many things I post about, this is totally unsupported. Realistically, I’ve been using the 11gR2 client on Ubuntu for years without incident. It’s nice to be able to right click to open a terminal session, then sqlplus apps@prod to get into my database.

Just Get to the Good Stuff!

I think I hit every possible trap going through this install; I’m going to spell them all out (as opposed to just saying “Install this package, create these links, and edit your profile this way…”) so that if anyone Googles the error messages, they might find the solution here.

First Point of Failure: Packages

I knew it wasn’t going to work without some manipulation, but I wanted to see what the errors looked like. Of course, the installer says a bazillion packages are not right, and I checked ignore all. In most cases, Ubuntu 10.04 has advanced versions of these packages, so it’s not that they’re not there, it’s just that the installer isn’t seeing the version it wants. That’s not true in the case of AOI access libraries.

The failure looks like this:

The installer chokes...

The install log provides some detail

Ensure aio-dev libraries are installed via the Ubuntu Software Center

Second Point of Failure: Symbolic Links

Without a few symbolic links, you will a mysterious error similar to this in the next in the installer when it tries to link binaries:

Ah, the mysterious nnfyboot and error!

If you see this, create the following symbolic links as root:

ln -s /usr/bin/basename /bin/basename
ln -s /usr/bin/awk /bin/awk
ln -s /lib/ /lib/

ln ­-s $ORACLE_HOME/lib/ $ORACLE_HOME/lib/

Third Point of Failure: Environment

This is a little murkier, as I’m not sure if I was fighting symbolic links and the environment, but ultimately you need this in your profile anyways.  So if you’re still having problems, use vi or append to /etc/profile the following lines and rerun the installer:

export ORACLE_HOME=/home/kkempf/Oracle/product/11.2.0/client_1


No install is complete without!


After (embarrassingly) realizing I forgot my tnsnames.ora file in $OH/network/admin, sqlplus fired up just fine:

sqlplus from the command line

December 21, 2010

Firing Windows 7 (Again)

Filed under: Linux, Ubuntu, Windows 7 — kkempf @ 10:21 am

It wasn’t my idea

I bought a Dell mini 11 running Windows 7 starter edition about a year ago for home and recently the complaints began rolling in about how slow it was. I witnessed this first hand on vacation, when I tried to use this thing to simply browse the web. For various reasons, it was always frustrating. One time it would insist on restarting to install a security update, or take 10 minutes to shut down because it was “finishing” the update. Another time, it would take minutes to recover from the lid being closed. I believe that on a cold boot after a security patch, from power on to Internet Explorer 8 it would take about 3 days 5 minutes.  This kind of defeats the whole purpose of a lightweight, fast web platform.

Enter Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Ubuntu Unity Desktop

As I sometimes mention, I use Ubuntu as my work platform, so I’m very familiar with it.  Ultra stable, fast bootup, no drama.  It was with some reluctance that I went to install Ubuntu Netbook Edition on the Netbook, as I feared that the inability to install a Windows executable (yes, you can use Wine, but realistically, it’s not a 100% solution) would be a deal breaker.  I’m not the one using this netbook 90% of the time, so it felt like a gamble.  I pulled the install and landed it on a USB stick, kissed Windoze goodbye and ran the installer.  Cake.

Windows 7: You’re Fired

Not My Idea!

After 3 months, I can safely say that Ubuntu is going over great.  It boots in about 30 seconds, and wakes up from sleep unfailingly.  It does exactly what I think a netbook is supposed to do: provide a fast, convenient platform for wireless internet connectivity to do simple tasks like check webmail, IM, and browse the web.  If a netbook can’t do this fast and simple, why not just go get a notebook or a full PC right?  Having fantastic applications available like Chrome, Open Office, Adobe Flash/Reader and Pidgin (IM) makes this experience so much better.  It easily tethers to my Blackberry via Bluetooth, so this makes internet while traveling (or on the road, for that matter, in the passenger seat!) easy.

That Other Notebook in the House

As proof of adoption of Ubuntu, now all I ever hear about is how annoying the Windoze 7 (Home Premium) notebook is.  It’s always wanting to update something (Windows, Acrobat, Java, McAfee, Office) and it runs like molasses.  This is a fresh, 64-bit install on a dual core Dell with 4gb of RAM.  The truth is that Windows 7 is a fine operating system, but really only enjoyable on premium hardware.

May 25, 2010

It turns out, Windows 7 wasn’t my idea

Filed under: Ubuntu, Windows 7 — kkempf @ 8:48 pm

Up front warning: I’ve abandoned Windows 7 as my primary OS at work.  I dumped it for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx” with Windows 7 running in a Sun/Oracle Virtual Box.  Instead of “nitpicking” about all of the things it didn’t do to my satisfaction, I decided to look at what I really need my work PC to be able to do.  Through the course of this, I also realized that my work PC does a completely different set of tasks than my home PC, were Windows 7 is more suited.

The following table chronicles how I “work” on a PC in the workplace.  While some features are available on OS’s I didn’t checkbox, it’s because their implementation is inferior to the other one which is.  Details below the table.

Feature Ubuntu Windows 7 Cent OS
Email Client
ssh client
Flash plugin for browser
Java plugin for browser
VNC/RDP client
SQL Developer
sftp client
Screen Manager
Discoverer 10g Admin Client
Tether Blackberry modem (bluetooth) with VPN
Dual Monitor Support
Open/edit modern Word, Excel, Powerpoint
SQLplus Client
Nice to Have
Fast Bootup
IM Client

Email Client/Calendar: Of course, Ubuntu and CentOS offer an email client with Calendar, called Evolution. The problem is, it’s an awful product. It crashes frequently. It doesn’t sync well with a Blackberry, doesn’t import my calendar/appointments right, and you must install an unincluded Exchange MAPI protocol to get anywhere close to usable with Exchange.

SSH Client: You can find many clients for Windows. None I found are worth the electrons it takes to download them.

Java/Flash plugins: Take note, none of these are officially supported under any flavor of Linux.

VPN: It’s point and click under Windows 7 and (surprisingly!) Ubuntu.  I’m referring specifically to PPTP.

VNC/RDP: Windows has this native, which is easier.  My compromise was to run Ultra VNC under Wine in Ubuntu.

Screen Manager: Virtual screens, on your taskbar, which track what applications you are running there.  On a dual monitor setup, this means you can easily have 8 applications running full screen, and simply click the appropriate screen in the taskbar to get to the ones you need.  For example, I keep the Windows 7 Virtual Box (Exchange) and Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control (performance monitor) running on one screen.  Those are pretty much always needed.  The other 3 screens are for whatever I’m working on “at the moment” and provide a clean desktop to do so, instead of tabbing through 5-10 applications.

Tethering a Blackberry: Again, surprisingly simple under Windows 7 with Verizon access manager, but also simple (all GUI fied) under Ubuntu.   The information online and in Ubuntu help is not so great; it’s good fodder for a future post.

Fast Bootup: Ubuntu is about a 1 minute boot to a functional OS.  Windows 7 is at least three times this.

Silverlight is nifty for streaming Netflix movies during lunch.

In the end, the only thing Windows was giving me that I needed every day was a good email & calendar client.  Since my forays into Discoverer Admin are occasional at best, I’m happy to relegate Windows  to a VM in (free) Sun/Oracle Virtual Box.

Finally, to give a visual, here’s what the Ubuntu desktop looks like (at least screen 1 of 4):

Note that Windows is happily running inside Ubuntu (double task bars there).

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