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April 15, 2010

» Installing TOra with Oracle Support on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Once again into the breach. The release of Ubuntu 10.04 is at hand. I’ve been playing with “Lucid” for a couple of months now but since we’re in beta2 with the release candidate soon to follow, I thought I would really sit down and get my normal app stack working including TOra. All in all the instructions are mostly the same as last time around, with a couple of new improvements, caveats and quid pro quo.


This one is being written using the 32 bit version of everything. I tend to use my laptop as a testbed and I have not upgraded any 64 bit machines as of yet. The instructions will be the same, you just need to make some environmental changes to get it working with 64 bit systems. I’ll try to update the blog when I do it myself next month, or check my previous guides and extrapolate as necessary.

Get the packages

First off we’ll create new directories for the packages and get the sources. Ubuntu 10.04 is using TOra 2.1.1. If you want the full list of changes in this version then you are out of luck, you can check the NEWS file on the TOra svn site which states only “lots of notes missing for 2.x series”.

mkdir -p /path/to/deb/source/
cd /path/to/deb/source/
apt-get source tora

Now get the Oracle packages. Get them from the Oracle site. Since there’s a new version of the oracle client I am using the lastest and greatest.

  • oracle-instantclient11.2-basiclite-
  • oracle-instantclient11.2-devel-
  • oracle-instantclient11.2-sqlplus-

Install the prerequisites and development libraries

Next we’ll want to install the build dependencies via apt. To do this, run the following simple command.

sudo apt-get build-dep tora

Now we’ll get all the other build tools and libraries that we’ll need for this to work. This list is exactly the same as last time.

sudo apt-get install libqt3-mt-dev libqt3-compat-headers libqscintilla-dev build-essential g++ gcc autoconf automake flex zlib1g-dev docbook-xsl debhelper alien libaio1 dpatch fakeroot xsltproc texi2html texinfo libqt3-mt-psql libqt3-mt-odbc config-package-dev cmake qt4-dev-tools

Next install the Oracle clients. In the directory where you downloaded them run the following to convert and install the packages in one fell swoop.

cd /path/to/oracle/rpms
sudo alien -i *386.rpm

Environment Variables

Now that we have all the bits we need, we set up the build environment. First we set up the oracle home environment and library path.

export ORACLE_HOME="/usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client"

As before you’ll want to add these into your system wide profile or .bashrc in order to use TOra. Just to change things up a bit, this time around we’ll add it to the default profile. Oddly this was not working for me directly with sudo, so you will need to get a root shell going to make it happen.

sudo -s
[sudo] password for $you:
echo export ORACLE_HOME="/usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client" >> /etc/profile
echo export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${ORACLE_HOME}/lib" >> /etc/profile
echo export TNS_ADMIN="${ORACLE_HOME}" >> /etc/profile

And now we have a new player. The last time around I had you create a symlink to the includes for oracle, this time It’s much easier to just use the CMAKE environment variables to point to the include files we need.

export CMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH=/usr/include/oracle/11.2/client

Now on to the main event.

Building and installing TOra

Go to your build directory and you’ll see there is a tora-2.1.1 directory. Change to this directory.

cd /path/to/tora/tora-2.1.1/

Run the script to build the package.

fakeroot debian/rules binary

Depending on your system speed, take a break while the compile runs. Once done, proceed to install it like so.

dpkg -i ../tora_2.1.1-1_i386.deb

The Update Issue

This time around I am going to break out the method of stopping updates to a few methods.

  • Method 1: Using dpkg

    Supports: apt-get, Synaptic

    This is the way I have been doing it through all the blogs in this series. The problem I found with this method is that some GUI package managers do not seem to respect the hold the way I think they should. So I can hold it all I want, but the second I let KPackageKit do an upgrade I am sunk. It also will not survive a dist-upgrade, not even using apt.

    Luckily for me I almost always do it on the command line using apt, so for those inclined as I am you simply need to run this command.

    echo "tora hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections

    To ensure the change took, look at the package status like so. The response from dpkg is bolded.

    $ dpkg-query --status tora|grep Status
    Status: hold ok installed

    When you are done you should see this if you try to run an upgrade via apt.

    $ sudo apt-get upgrade
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    The following packages have been kept back:

    If it does not hold the package back, then check your status as above.

  • Method 2: Using aptitude

    Supports: aptitude, KPackageKit

    This method is similar to the above, but has the annoying habit of removing packages when you do it. Sure it’s only removing packages that you no longer need (considered unused by aptitude like old kernels). I personally like to control when packages are removed and adding a hold to a package is not the right time to uninstall things.

    If, after all that, you still want to try it then here is the command you need.

    sudo aptitude hold tora

    I did some searching and I see no method to display this hold status using aptitude. If someone can add a method for this in comments it would be helpful.

  • Method 3: Using $GUI front end

    I know there are quite a number of different package managers out there and most probably support methods 1 and/or 2. If not then you’ll need to figure that one our on your own. Feel free to add the package manager and method in comments.

  • Method 4: Super Guerilla Tactics(tm)

    Supports: Everything

    This method is easy but is not really for the faint of heart. It has the advantage of never having to worry about upgrades again, at least until a much newer version comes out. This method involves changing the package version number before compiling to create a package with a version number that should be higher than anything available in the repository. This needs to be done before you compile, or you can go back and compile it again.

    First, add an entry to the debian changelog file.

    cd /path/to/tora/tora-2.1.1
    vi debian/changelog

    You can see that this file has a series of change log entries with dates and version numbers. Add a new entry to the top of the file as I did with the below example. Be cautious of the spacing and blank lines between entries as the compiler will barf if they are even one space off. Pay particular attention to the 2 spaces between the email address and the date which cannot be replicated on a web page correctly due to html parsing (multiple spaces are not allowed, not even after proper punctuation :O)

    tora (2.1.1-10) unstable; urgency=low

    * Version incremented to avoid upgrades.

    -- Brad Hudson <> Thu, 15 Apr 2010 14:00:00 +0500

    tora (2.1.1-1) unstable; urgency=low

    * New upstream version.

    -- Michael Meskes <> Thu, 19 Nov 2009 15:18:19 +0100

    Save and exit the file. As you can see, all I did was change the packaged version to -10, which is higher than -1 through -9, meaning there would have to be 9 more official releases before it’ll overwrite your custom package. I did not update the actual code version (everything before the -) so if a version 2.1.2-1 comes out you’ll need to watch for it. These number can be changed to anything you want however (as long as it’s higher), so if you wanted to make sure it was never upgraded even for major version changes, you could set the version to this.

    tora (5.1.1-1) unstable; urgency=low

    The program code will not change through any of this, just the package name.

    Now that you’ve modified the changelog, go back to the build step and recompile everything. When you are done the build can install the shiny new version like so.

    sudo dpkg -i ../tora_2.1.1-10_i386.deb

End Game Re-Redux

Don’t forget your tnsnames.ora. We set up the environment to use TNS_ADMIN=/usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client which means that tora will look for tnsnames.ora there. The easiest way I found was to get the production tnsnames.ora file from the Oracle server itself, and place it in the $TNS_ADMIN directory. Once you have done so, start TOra and enjoy. Remember to start it from the xterm session that has the environment variables set if you have not yet logged out/in.

Once again the build was pretty smooth. I have replicated these instructions 3 times over the course of writing this so there should be very few problems for you if you follow step by step.

As I stated before I could write these up for other distros if anyone is interested. Leave comments if you are.


The TOra homepage
Installing TOra with Oracle support on Ubuntu 8.04LTS (Hardy Heron)
Installing TOra with Oracle support on Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
Installing TOra with Oracle Support on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
Kubuntu linux

October 9, 2009

» First Look at Kubuntu 9.10, “Karmic Koala”

I just installed a copy of the titular distro last night and have been playing with it a bit. So far it’s been less trouble than I would have expected from a first beta, and runs well. Get Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta 1 here. A word to the wise, this is beta software and not yet ready for prime time.

I installed it on my laptop, I use it for a lot of things but the data is always expendable. I had installed it in a VM a few days previously but that was not as satisfying as trying it in the real world as opposed to the idealized world of the VM.

Test Specs

  • Compaq EVO n610c
  • Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 – M CPU 2.40GHz
  • TEAC DW-224E-A 24x/24x writer cd/rw
  • Fujitsu MHT2040A 5400RPM drive
  • 512MB DDR
  • D-Link DWL-G630 802.11g Atheros AR2413
  • ATI Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]

The Install

From the get-go there was trouble. The install CD would not boot past the initial menu where I had selected the install option. It just stopped and presented no error messages. I tried the alternate CD with the same result. Thanks to the alternate CD I was able to boot with the ‘noapic’ options which fixed the issue.

Install after that went smoothly. The install has been slick for the last several releases, and this one is no different. The partition tool has been updated and now support creating LVM and software raid in the menu (It may have been there in previous versions, but I never noticed it). I decided to use ext4, which is the default now, as I had not trusted it in 9.04 and wanted to give it a spin. I also said yes to using ecryptfs for my home directory (more on that in another post).

The alternate CD is a sloooow way to install. It’s all text based but seems to take much longer when the file copies are going. Maybe I was too excited and impatient. A new distro is always a bit like Christmas morning.

Desktop Problems

The first boot happened as planned. It seemed to be a fast boot but this laptop is not the best test for speed. I logged in and bam!, I hit my first roadblock. My desktop came up fine, but my panel was not rendered correctly. Not only that, the menu came up unreadable and the window dressings on each of my windows was similarly garbled.

I tried to connect to my wireless, but with network-manager running configuring it using command line tools was not working. I hooked up a wire and updated the system. After an ‘apt-get update’ followed by an ‘apt-get upgrade’ installed a massive 302MB of updates. Some were held back, so I also had to do an ‘apt-get dist-upgrade’ to get another 52MB of updates. This did not fix my display problem as I had hoped.

I did some digging through /var/log/Xorg.0.log and everything looked right, it was correctly detecting my video card and using the open source ati driver (this poor sad little card is not supported by fglrx). Playing with the KDE system settings did not yield any results. I was able to get a working desktop using the vesa driver, but that was not satisfying.

The fix was to force xorg to use a different acceleration method. Here’s how you do it. Create a custom xorg.conf file. Kubuntu 9.10 uses xorg 1.6.3 which does not need a config file by default. The xorg.conf can be used to override some settings.

Edit the file using sudo, as the /etc/X11 is owned by root.

sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Add this into the file.

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "vga"
        Driver          "ati"
        Option          "AccelMethod"   "EXA"

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier      "Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Default Screen"
        Device          "vga"
        Monitor         "Configured Monitor"

Log out and restart your X server, or reboot if you prefer.

The key here is the option specifying the AccelMethod as EXA. For some reason xorg was trying to use XAA by default, which is an older method which was replaced by EXA in 2005. Doing the above tells xorg to use EXA by default instead. Once this was done I had a nicely working desktop.

The desktop runs faster than I expected in the low power, low memory conditions. I have managed to set up most of my apps to my liking and got the essentials installed.

Essential Apps

While on the subject, here are a few of my immediate installs after a build. All apps below are referenced by package name, so just do an sudo apt-get install [packagename] to install them.

  • vim-full – ubuntu comes installed with an annoyingly pared down version of vim. Get this one to do stuff like navigating with arrow keys while in insert mode. If you know what I mean, then this is for you.
  • vpnc – A vpn client for linux which is great for connecting to Cisco VPNs.
  • Firefox – I have no idea why this is not installed by default, likely to do with licensing. The K->Applications->Internet menu has an item called “Firefox Installer”, which does not seem to work.
  • mplayer – The most incredibly awesome movie player for linux.
  • pidgin – Multiprotocol chat client. kubuntu installs kopete as the default, but I always prefer pidgin.
  • konversation – A great little IRC program for KDE. While Pidgin does IRC I find the old ways are best for IRC.
  • pan – The only news reader for Linux you’ll ever need.
  • Thunderbird – Another that should be installed by default, but a great mail client. Kontact/KMail is very good too and is included by default.
  • Gimp – The Gimp. Not quite Photoshop still, but excellent in its own right.
  • build-essential – This is a meta package, meaning that it installs a bunch of other packages. These are what you need if you ever want to compile anything. A must have if you compile from source like I do quite often.

I’ll post more as I have more time to play with Karmic. If I find anything of interest, I’ll let you know.