Thursday Apr 17, 2014

Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Pre-Install RPM available for Oracle Linux 5 and 6

One of the things we have been focusing on with Oracle Linux for quite some time now, is making it easy to install and deploy Oracle products on top of it without having to worry about which RPMs to install and what the basic OS configuration needs to be.

A minimal Oracle Linux install contains a really small set of RPMs but typically not enough for a product to install on and a full/complete install contains way more packages than you need. While a full install is convenient, it also means that the likelihood of having to install an errata for a package is higher and as such the cost of patching and updating/maintaining systems increases.

In an effort to make it as easy as possible, we have created a number of pre-install RPM packages which don't really contain actual programs but they 're more or less dummy packages and a few configuration scripts. They are built around the concept that you have a minimal OL installation (configured to point to a yum repository) and all the RPMs/packages which the specific Oracle product requires to install cleanly and pass the pre-requisites will be dependencies for the pre-install script.

When you install the pre-install RPM, yum will calculate the dependencies, figure out which additional RPMs are needed beyond what's installed, download them and install them. The configuration scripts in the RPM will also set up a number of sysctl options, create the default user, etc. After installation of this pre-install RPM, you can confidently start the Oracle product installer.

We have released a pre-install RPM in the past for the Oracle Database (11g, 12c,..) and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c agent. And we now also released a similar RPM for E-Business R12.

This RPM is available on both ULN and public-yum in the addons channel.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Easy access to Java SE 7 on Oracle Linux

In order to make it very easy to install Java SE 7 on Oracle Linux, we added a Java channel on ULN ( Here is a brief description of how to enable the channel and install Java on your system.

Enable the Java SE 7 ULN channel for Oracle Linux 6

- Start with a server or desktop installed with Oracle Linux 6 and registered with ULN ( for updates

This is typically using uln_register on your system.

- Log into ULN, go to the Systems tab for your server/desktop and click on Manage Subscriptions

-> Ensure your system is registered to the "Oracle Linux 6 Add ons (x86_64)" channel (it should appear in the 'Subscribed channels' list)

if your system is not registered with the above channel, add it :

-> Click on "Oracle Linux 6 Add ons (x86_64)" in the Available Channels tab and click on the right arrow to move it to Subscribed channels. -> Click on Save Subscriptions

- In order to register with the 'Java SE 7' channel, you first have to install a yum plugin to enable access to channels with licenses

# yum install yum-plugin-ulninfo
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin
This system is receiving updates from ULN.
ol6_x86_64_addons                                        | 1.2 kB     00:00     
ol6_x86_64_addons/primary                                |  44 kB     00:00     
ol6_x86_64_addons                                                       177/177
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package yum-plugin-ulninfo.noarch 0:0.2-9.el6 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

 Package                          Arch                 Version                    Repository                       Size
 yum-plugin-ulninfo               noarch               0.2-9.el6                  ol6_x86_64_addons                13 k

Transaction Summary
Install       1 Package(s)

Total download size: 13 k
Installed size: 23 k
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
yum-plugin-ulninfo-0.2-9.el6.noarch.rpm                                                          |  13 kB     00:00     
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing : yum-plugin-ulninfo-0.2-9.el6.noarch                                                                  1/1 
  Verifying  : yum-plugin-ulninfo-0.2-9.el6.noarch                                                                  1/1 

  yum-plugin-ulninfo.noarch 0:0.2-9.el6                                                                                 


- In future versions of Oracle Linux 6, this RPM will become part of the base channel and at that point you will no longer need to register with the Add ons channel to install yum-plugin-ulninfo

- Add the Java SE 7 channel subscription to your system in ULN

-> Click on "Java SE 7 for Oracle Linux 6 (x86_64) (Public)" in the Available Channels tab and click on the right arrow to move it to Subscribed channels

-> Click on Save Subscriptions

-> A popup will appear with the EULA for Java SE 7, click on Accept or Decline

- Now your system has access to the Java SE 7 channel. You can verify this by executing :

# yum repolist
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, ulninfo
This system is receiving updates from ULN.
By downloading the Java software, you acknowledge that your use of the Java software is 
subject to the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement for the Java SE Platform Products and 
JavaFX (which you acknowledge you have read and agree to) available 

ol6_x86_64_JavaSE7_public                                                                        | 1.2 kB     00:00     
ol6_x86_64_JavaSE7_public/primary                                                                | 1.9 kB     00:00     
ol6_x86_64_JavaSE7_public                                                                                           2/2
repo id                        repo name                                                                          status
ol6_x86_64_JavaSE7_public      Java SE 7 for Oracle Linux 6 (x86_64) (Public)                                          2
ol6_x86_64_UEKR3_latest        Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux 6 (x86_64) - Latest          122
ol6_x86_64_addons              Oracle Linux 6 Add ons (x86_64)                                                       177
ol6_x86_64_ksplice             Ksplice for Oracle Linux 6 (x86_64)                                                 1,497
ol6_x86_64_latest              Oracle Linux 6 Latest (x86_64)                                                     25,093
repolist: 26,891

- To install Java SE 7 on your system, simply us yum install :

# yum install jdk
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, ulninfo
This system is receiving updates from ULN.
By downloading the Java software, you acknowledge that your use of the Java software is 
subject to the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement for the Java SE Platform Products
 and JavaFX (which you acknowledge you have read and agree to) 
available at

Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package jdk.x86_64 2000:1.7.0_51-fcs will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

 Package           Arch                 Version                           Repository                               Size
 jdk               x86_64               2000:1.7.0_51-fcs                 ol6_x86_64_JavaSE7_public               117 M

Transaction Summary
Install       1 Package(s)

Total download size: 117 M
Installed size: 193 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
jdk-1.7.0_51-fcs.x86_64.rpm                                                                                                         | 117 MB     02:27     
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing : 2000:jdk-1.7.0_51-fcs.x86_64                                                                                                            1/1 
Unpacking JAR files...
  Verifying  : 2000:jdk-1.7.0_51-fcs.x86_64                                                                                                            1/1 

  jdk.x86_64 2000:1.7.0_51-fcs                                                                                                                             


- You now have a completely install Java SE 7 on your Oracle Linux environment.

# ls /usr/java/jdk1.7.0_51/
bin  COPYRIGHT  db  include  jre  lib  LICENSE  man  README.html  release  

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

The life of a Linux RPM (package)

Another frequently asked question related to Oracle Linux is how versions of specific packages (RPMs) are picked.

A Linux distribution is basically a collection of a ton of open source projects that make up the Operating System environment, with at its core the Linux kernel. Linux as a development project is about the Linux kernel specifically. There are then many (1000's) of random open source projects out there and a Linux distribution basically is an OS made up of, at its core, the kernel, and tons of those other projects packaged up. Now some packages are more critical than others, there's a small true core of packages that you will find in any Linux distribution, glibc (c library), gcc (compiler), filesystem utils, core utils, binutils, bash,... etc. A good guess would be about 150-200 packages that make up pretty much any more or less usable environment (yes you can do with far fewer but I 'm talking standard OS installs here...)

All these projects have their own development cycle, their own maintainers/developers, their own project plans, and their own dependencies. They just kind of all move along on their own pace, they're worked on by (usually) different people and so on. So how do these 1000's of packages get into Oracle Linux?

Oracle Linux is an exact replica of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (same packages, same source code, same versions,...)... so that's what we base our distribution on (similar to CentOS). Now Red Hat Enterprise Linux, in turn, uses the Fedora Linux distribution as its upstream baseline. Fedora is a community distribution ( that typically lives far ahead of what any one would install for a stable environment. It's a community driven, cutting edge Linux distribution. Fedora as a project has very frequent releases (like every 6 or so months). The fedora maintainers distribute maintainership of these 1000's of RPMs across a group of people and they gather newer versions of all these projects and build them for a given version of Fedora. They then stabilize this and release it. By stabilizing, I mean, they create packages, test out if all the dependencies work, if there's a build environment that's consistent and if there are bugs, and fix them of course.

So Fedora evolves rapidly (like every 6 months a new release) and as you go from Fedora 12 to 13 to 14 etc, you see the packages of gcc and glibc and all other stuff evolve version by version, gcc 3.2 to 3.3 to 4.0 to 4.4 etc. Depending on when the fedora project starts "freezing" the package list of the next version, that's what the various versions of those 1000's of packages will be based off of. The maintainers usually will, at some point of the release cycle, take the latest "stable" version of a given project (say gcc) and check that version into the Fedora tree. What happens here is that you typically see Fedora pick up the stable versions of projects pretty regularly. It helps shake out bugs, it reaches a large (end)-userbase and it helps the Linux community that wants to be on the cutting edge by doing a lot of the packaging for them and it helps the downstream use of Fedora because many of the base/generic obvious bugs and build issues have been resolved during the Fedora test, dev and release process.

Now, because Fedora moves so rapidly, newer versions of RHEL, and as such OL, obviously skip quite a few versions of Fedora. For instance, RHEL6 is based on Fedora 12/13, RHEL5 was based on Fedora Core6, etc... A new version of RHEL is released every few years. So Red Hat decides at a certain point in time to take a snapshot of a given Fedora release they deem stable enough at that point in time and then fork that internally into a separate repository, change the trademarks,logos, add some packages that might not be in Fedora, tests the components for a more commercial use, server use, (most of Fedora is desktop use) and then releases that as the next version of RHEL. And we then similarly follow with OL.

An important point to make is that within a given release cycle of RHEL or OL, the version of the packages typically doesn't change, at least not the major version (usually not 2 digit versions). For the lifetime of, say, OL5, the version of, say, glibc, will remain pretty static. It will include bugfixes over the lifetime of the distribution version, security fixes and sometimes minor important things that might get backported of a newer version (albeit rare) but that's it. So you have a relatively static vesion of an OS, it improves in stability, quality, security but it doens't improve much in terms of functionality. (Most of the enhancements would probably be in the kernel.).

This also means that a Linux distribution (RHEL, OL, CentOS,...) can skip package versions, if some external project goes from version 2.1 to 2.2 to 2.3 to 3.0 to 3.1 etc... over the lifecycle of OL5 and OL6, then OL5 might contain 2.1 and OL6 might contain 3.0 or 3.1. You won't see versions in between get picked up. Or, again, in some rare cases, if there's something really important that went into 2.3 that would be really relevant, it might have gotten backported to 2.1 as part of RHEL/OL. You cannot expect that OL5 would go from 2.1 to 2.2 to 3.0 for that given package. That's just not how things work. So if you expect major enhancements or features of some package that's newer than the version that's in the current distribution, you might (likely) have to wait until the next major release. Example : OL5 contains glibc 2.5, OL6 contains glibc 2.12. If there was something really, really important in glibc 2.8, that might have gotten backported into 2.5 and gotten into OL5, but it's unlikely. And OL5 will not start adding 2.6, or 2.7 or so into the distribution. And then the same cycle starts again with OL6, it contains glibc 2.12... but the current version of glibc upstream is 2.18, and Fedora 19 contains glibc 2.17. So the future version of RHEL7/OL7 might end up with 2.16 or 2.17, and it would have skipped over 2.13-2.15. One cannot expect that the commercial distributions backport features of future package versions into prior versions. That doesn't happen for OL, or for RHEL or CentOS or SLES etc.

What does happen, and it's important to point this out, is the fixing of CVE's/Security vulnerabilities or critical bugfixes. Example, let's say there is a security issue found in glibc 2.17 (upstream), and this is also relevant to glibc 2.5 found in RHEL5/OL5. We obviously will end up fixing that in 2.5 (backport the security fix) and in 2.12 (OL6)... So in terms of critical fixes and security vulnerabilities found in any version of a supported Linux distribution's package, those will be found in various versions, where they matter.

You can always track this by looking at the changelog of an RPM or look for a CVE number and you will see hits on different versions of an RPM in different versions of OL where it is relevant.

This is pretty normal stuff, new features go into new versions of a product, like new features go into new versions of the oracle database and we will fix problems and backport changes into older versions but you will not see new features for a new versions of the database pop up in an old version of the database. It's not rocket science. A Linux Distributions is a product based on tons of small subcomponents but in the end the major release is the overarching "feature" release.

The few exceptions (obviously there are exceptions :-) are : (1) it's possible that new packages for new products or components are introduced during the lifetime of the OS release, a new RPM can be introduced in 5.8 or 5.9 or so... (2) some of the backports of features I talked about earlier can introduce some enhancements, although rare (3) the Linux kernel is probably the most lively component in the OS where the rate of enhancements is the largest compared to anything else.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday Jun 27, 2012

Oracle Linux 6 update 3

Oracle Linux 6.3 channels are now available online

  • repositories. Both base channels and latest channels are available (for free for everyone)
  • repositories. Behind our customer portal but effectively the same content.
  • Source RPMs (.srpm) are being uploaded to

    OL6.3 contains UEK2 kernel-uek-2.6.39-200.24.1. The source rpm is in the above location but our public GIT repository will be synced up shortly as well at;a=summary. Unlike some others, of course, complete source, complete changelog, complete checkin history, both mainline and our own available. No need to go assemble things from a website manually.

    Another cool thing coming up is a boot iso for OL6.3 that boots up uek (2.6.39-200.24.1) as install kernel and uses btrfs as the default filesystem for installation. So latest and greatest direct access to btrfs, a modern well-tested, current kernel, freely available. Enjoy.

    Since it takes a few days for our ISOs to be on, I mirrored them on my own server :

    Thursday Mar 22, 2012

    Setting up Oracle Linux 6 with public-yum for all updates

    I just wanted to give you a quick example on how to get started with Oracle Linux 6 and start using the updates we published on

  • Download Oracle Linux (without the requirement of a support subscription) from

  • Install Oracle Linux from the ISO or DVD image

  • Log in as user root
  • Download the yum repo file from

    # cd /etc/yum.repos.d
    # wget

  • If you want, you can edit the repo file and enable other repositories, I enabled [ol6_UEK_latest] by just setting enabled=1 in the file with a text editor.

  • Run yum repolist to show the registered channels and you see we are including everything including the latest published RPMs.

    Now you can just run yum update and any time we release new security errata or bugfix errata for OL6, they will be posted and you will automatically get them. It's very easy, very convenient and actually very cool. We do a lot more than just build OL RPMs and distribute them, we have a very comprehensive test farm where we test the packages extensively.

  • Lots of goodies

    We just issued a press release with a number of very good updates for everyone

    There are a few things of importance :

    1) As of right now, Oracle Linux 6 with the Unbreakable Kernel is certified with a number of Oracle products such as Oracle Database 11gR2 and Oracle Fusion Middleware. The certification pages in the Oracle Support portal will be updated with the latest certification status for the various products.

    As always we have gone through a long period of very comprehensive testing and validation to ensure that the whole stack works really well together, with very large database workloads, middleware application workloads etc.

    2) Standard certification efforts for Oracle Linux 6 with the Red Hat Compatible Kernel are in progress and we expect that to be completed in the next few months. Because of the compatibility between OL6 and RHEL6 we can then also state certification for RHEL6.

    3) Oracle Linux binaries (and of course source code) have been free for download -and- use (including production, not just trial periods) since day one. You can freely redistribute the binaries, unlike many other Linux vendors where you need to pay a support subscription to even get access to the binaries. We offered both the base distribution release DVDs (OL4, OL5, OL6) and the update releases, such as 5.1, 5.2 etc. this way. Today, in this announcement, we also started to make available the bugfix and security updates released in between these update releases. So the errata streams (both binary and source code) for OL4, 5 and 6 are now free for download and use from This includes uek and uek2.

    The nice thing is, if you want a complete up to date system without support, use this, if you then need support, get a support subscription. Simple, convenient, effective. We have great SLA's in producing our update streams, consistency in release timing and testing of all the components.

    Have at it!


    Wim Coekaerts is the Senior Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Engineering for Oracle. He is responsible for Oracle's complete desktop to data center virtualization product line and the Oracle Linux support program.

    You can follow him on Twitter at @wimcoekaerts


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