Dizwell Informatics

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Atlas – Installing Oracle on Debian 8+

1.0 Introduction

Debian is a well-respected, highly-stable and extremely well-maintained distro with a long history (version 0.01 was released in 1993!). The current stable release (as of 7th January 2017) is version 8.6, but Atlas (and Oracle 12.1.0.2) has been tested on versions as old as 8.2. No errors arise during the Oracle installation process itself, though there are lots of prerequisite checks which fail, but which can be ignored.

As is the case with all Atlas/Oracle installs, your server needs to be built with at least 5GB RAM and at least a 40GB hard disk; you must additionally ensure you have installed wmctrl or xdotool before attempting to launch Atlas.

Please watch the generic Atlas videos here, here and here to get an idea of how Atlas works in general. The generic documentation (including those videos) are available from this page. Below are Debian-specific notes.

2.0 What’s been tested?

  • Debian 8.2
  • Debian 8.6 (current stable)
  • Debian 9.0 (testing)

3.0 Operating System media

There is a wide variety of installation media with which you can construct a Debian server. Assuming you have a good Internet connection, the smallest install media that I’ve tested with Atlas is the ~250MB net install media. This downloads a lot of software during the O/S installation process itself (making it very slow going!)

Alternatively, a full-CD installation ISO is available, which makes for a somewhat faster and yet equivalently-lean install process, ending in a Gnome desktop experience. (There are equivalent CD ISOs for the KDE, Xfce and LXDE desktops, too).

Remember that those specific links above were valid as at January 7th 2017. Check the Debian website to see the latest versions available at any time.

4.0 Operating System installation issues

There are no major deviations from the ‘accept the defaults’ approach when installing the operating system.

The principle exception is that you must explicitly commit to writing the disk partitioning information to disk:

The default is not to write it, which is “safe”, but also utterly pointless if you actually want to install anything! So change the entry there to the ‘Yes’ option before clicking [Continue].

The only other big ‘deviation’ from the defaults is when it comes to package selection: you need to alter the defaults to ensure one or other desktop environment is selected. By default, you get this set of selections:

So, you need to change that to something more like this:

Note that although I’m selecting KDE in that screenshot, that’s just personal to me: if you would prefer to use Gnome, MATE or Xfce, go right ahead. I do recommend, however, adding the SSH Server package group (and de-selecting the print server one).

5.0 Running Atlas

The major issue I had in running Atlas on Debian of any sort simply arises from the fact that when Debian runs on a VirtualBox virtual machine, it only offers a maximum screen resolution of 1024 x 768, which is not enough to allow Atlas to run. This can be fixed by issuing the following command (as root):

apt-get update && apt-get install build-essential module-assistant linux-headers-$(uname -r)

Once that lot is installed, click to install the guest additions and run the relevant installer (again as root), using this sort of command:

sh /media/cdrom/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run

However, doing things this way causes a lot of new software to be installed, such that you are no longer working on a ‘clean’ distro at the point that you run Atlas. It nevertheless works OK, but if you can avoid installing things like ‘build-essential’, it would be good to do so (because that includes things like gcc, g++, make, libcstd5 and a lot of other ‘development tools’, to which the Oracle installer can be quite sensitive).

So a ‘cleaner’ approach (though rather more dramatic!) is to switch virtualization platforms entirely: Debian on VMware Workstation (or Player) offers plenty of hi-res screen resolutions, nearly all of which exceed Atlas’ requirements without the need of installing anything. VMware Workstation Pro costs a stupid amount of money, of course; but VMware Player is free of charge, so on that score is a good equivalent to VirtualBox.

Both wmctrl and xdotool are available for Debian from the standard repositories and installation CD.

6.0 Installing Oracle 12c

No issues arise during the Oracle installation itself, except that you are told your ‘environment does not meet minimum requirements’. This warning can be ignored.

In consequence of ignoring that warning, you are not subjected to further warnings about missing prerequisites: you go immediately to a summary screen with an [Install] option that kicks off the installation process.

There are no compilation errors raised during the installation’s linking phase.

As a result of there being no linking errors, an atlas-postinstall.sh script is created in the oracle user’s Documents directory. This can be run once the linking phase is complete (or after the entire installation, including database creation, completes), if you would like to do so. Running it is entirely optional.