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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?

First, this document is for people who want to install Oracle 8i version 8.1.5 on Linux. It does not cover any earlier versions, although it should work with similar later versions such as 8.1.6.

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 both versions 7 and 8. 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

Things move quickly in the world of Linux and Oracle, meaning that this document can quickly get out of date. If this document is more than a month or two old, I suggest you take a look at my web site for an update.

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 Oracle Technet and the Usenet news-groups. So thanks to the people that keep posting and sorry that I can't credit you all individually!

Thanks to the following people, in no particular order, for their contributions to this document: Ton Haver, Guy Cole, Iain Frerichs, Albert Braun, Steve Morando, Krill Kokoshka, Brain Slesinsky, Galen G Burk and Bill Gathen.

I welcome any constructive feedback on this HOWTO and any general Linux or Oracle issues. Email me at

1.6 Licence

This document is copyright 2000 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.)

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