Install Oracle XE 11g R2 on Ubuntu 12.04

I’ve recently had a task of enabling Oracle database support for a JRuby on Rails application. To set up an Oracle database for use on a development environment, there were two preferred options – using Oracle DB on a virtual machine or installing Oracle XE locally.

1. Oracle DB on a virtual machine
Oracle kindly provide several VirtualBox images for download – I used the Database App Development VM, which comes with Enterprise Edition and SQL Developer, and it’s straightforward to get this running. The only catch is to enable a second network adapter (either Bridged or Host-only) in the VirtualBox settings so the VM is externally addressable. From there, keep in mind the the instance name is orcl, and sys and system passwords are oracle.

2. Installing Oracle XE locally
Oracle XE is officially supported on Windows and Red Hat Linux-based systems (the Developer Days VMs are Oracle Linux). Debian Linux-based systems don’t seem to be officially supported, but there have been efforts on installing Oracle XE on Ubuntu (my particular interest). I primarily followed Manish’s guide for the majority of the install process, but had to bring forward the step of setting environment variables. This is because Oracle XE starts immediately after the configuration step (oracle-xe configure). I also referred to another blog for guidance on setting kernel parameters. Here are my modified installation steps:

Download Oracle Database Express Edition 11g R2

Unzip archive:


Install the required packages (note I omitted unixodbc as I didn’t require it):

sudo apt-get install alien libaio1

Convert the RPM package to a DEB package:

cd Disk1
sudo alien --scripts oracle-xe-11.2.0-1.0.x86_64.rpm

Create a /sbin/chkconfig file with the following contents (requires root):

# Oracle 11gR2 XE installer chkconfig hack for Ubuntu
if [[ ! `tail -n1 $file | grep INIT` ]]; then
echo >> $file
echo '### BEGIN INIT INFO' >> $file
echo '# Provides: OracleXE' >> $file
echo '# Required-Start: $remote_fs $syslog' >> $file
echo '# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog' >> $file
echo '# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5' >> $file
echo '# Default-Stop: 0 1 6' >> $file
echo '# Short-Description: Oracle 11g Express Edition' >> $file
echo '### END INIT INFO' >> $file
update-rc.d oracle-xe defaults 80 01

Set execute privileges for the file:

sudo chmod 755 /sbin/chkconfig

Create a /etc/sysctl.d/60-oracle.conf file with the following contents (requires root):

# Oracle 11g XE kernel parameters
kernel.sem=250 32000 100 128
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range=9000 65000

Load the new kernel parameters:

sudo service procps start

Run the following commands:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/awk /bin/awk
sudo mkdir /var/lock/subsys
sudo touch /var/lock/subsys/listener

To avoid MEMORY_TARGET errors:

sudo rm -rf /dev/shm
sudo mkdir /dev/shm
sudo mount -t tmpfs shmfs -o size=2048m /dev/shm

Create a /etc/rc2.d/S01shm_load file with the following contents (requires root):

case "$1" in
start) mkdir /var/lock/subsys 2>/dev/null
	   touch /var/lock/subsys/listener
	   rm /dev/shm 2>/dev/null
	   mkdir /dev/shm 2>/dev/null
	   mount -t tmpfs shmfs -o size=2048m /dev/shm ;;
*) echo error
   exit 1 ;;

Set execute privileges for the file:

sudo chmod 755 /etc/rc2.d/S01shm_load

Install the Oracle XE package:

sudo dpkg --install oracle-xe_11.2.0-2_amd64.deb

Add the following environment variables to .bashrc:

export ORACLE_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/xe
export NLS_LANG=`$ORACLE_HOME/bin/`
export ORACLE_BASE=/u01/app/oracle

Reload the bash profile:

source ~/.bashrc

Run the Oracle XE configuration:

sudo /etc/init.d/oracle-xe configure

Oracle XE should now be installed.

If anything goes wrong during installation, to uninstall:

sudo -s
/etc/init.d/oracle-xe stop
ps -ef | grep oracle | grep -v grep | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill
dpkg --purge oracle-xe
rm -r /u01
rm /etc/default/oracle-xe
update-rc.d -f oracle-xe remove

I’ve used these instructions on two Ubuntu environments (my own VM and an Amazon EC2 instance) and Oracle XE is running happily.

History of the Bible

I ran a different type of study with our church youth group today where we investigated the history of the Bible. It was a combination of a trivia-style and lecture-style presentation and I’ve uploaded the notes I used. It took a little while to put it together – most of the time was spent reading on the Internet and distilling the important (and fun) facts – history can be a little dry. I have included references for most of the resources I used except Wikipedia (which is pretty much the foundation for most of the material). Having done this, I do have a greater appreciation for biblical scholars and academics.

Adding CSRF token to jQuery AJAX requests

When using a jQuery-supported framework such as Backbone, underlying jQuery AJAX requests are typically abstracted at the model layer. To insert Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) tokens or other session data into the request, one method is to proxy a method in the call stack and add the token via an option (example). This does have a disadvantage if you need to call $.ajax directly as you’ll need to again insert the CSRF token as a header option.

The DRY way? Use jQuery’s ajaxPrefilter API:

$.ajaxPrefilter(function(options, originalOptions, jqXHR) {
  var token;
  if (!options.crossDomain) {
    token = $('meta[name="csrf-token"]').attr('content');
    if (token) {
      return jqXHR.setRequestHeader('X-CSRF-Token', token);