OpenSUSE on VirtualBox


After some Memorial Day weekend trial and error, I’ve settled on a Linux distribution for my Oracle MapViewer lab. Neither Ubuntu 14.04 nor Fedora 20 performed well under VirtualBox. In the case of Ubuntu, it was the lack of 3D support for Unity, which I think can be fixed by rebuilding the VirtualBox Guest Additions from the kernel source, but I wasn’t able to get VirtualBox to find the source. Based on some other distro instructions I think I just needed to do something like this: “KERN_DIR=/usr/src/kernels/`uname -r`.”

In any case, I had good luck with openSUSE 13.1. Oracle SQL Developer connects to Oracle 12c and the OS performance is good even with both VMs running. Now, my Oracle database and Oracle client environments are both running in virtual machine images that can be moved from one computer to another. More importantly, I can run Java 7 on openSUSE and Java 6 on Ubuntu, my host OS, where I do some customer development.

This illustration depicts the resulting spatial lab environment.spatiallab

Picking a Linux distro took longer than I thought it would. I’m reading to move on now.


2014 Location Intelligence Conference Report

Screenshot from 2014-05-23 15:18:18

The Location Intelligence conference in Washington, D.C. this week reinvigorated me. Tim Gerber, my database administrator/coworker, and I gave a presentation, How Garmin Connect Manages and Analyzes 5-billion Miles of User Activities , and we attended some very informative sessions.

It was exciting to meet both authors of Applying and Extending Oracle Spatial, Siva Ravada, and Simon Greener. You may know Simon from his website

Dan Geringer, who has been an invaluable spatial resource to Garmin, arranged a meeting for Tim and me with LJ Qian from Oracle’s Map Viewer team and Jayant Sharma, an Oracle Spatial Product Manager. We talked at length about generating dynamic heat maps from Oracle Spatial data, and we discussed using Oracle Map Viewer as an abstraction layer above base maps from Google, OSM, and other providers. I also enjoyed visiting with Oracle Product Manager, Jean Ihm.

My top priority coming out of the conference is to see if I can do with the Oracle Map Viewer HTML5 map client what I had hoped to accomplish with Leaflet. I want to separate our map code, line and point interaction, from the base map provider selected by the user, so that we can reduce the code written specifically for Google, Bing, OSM, and Baidu maps.

Since returning home I’ve been trying to find a Linux distro that runs well under Oracle VirtualBox to use as my test environment for Oracle SQL Developer, Oracle MapViewer quick start, and possibly Oracle WebLogic. Ubuntu 14.04 did poorly due to an issue with Unity 3D. Fedora 20 also seemed slow. OpenSUSE 13.1 looks promising, but I’m not far enough along in the set-up know for sure.

Installing a SSD for Faster GIS


Running ESRI software is inevitable as I dive deeper into Geographic Information Systems. If I decide to get a Masters in GIS from the Penn State World Campus, then running ESRI ArcGIS is mandatory. That is a problem because my house is “Windows-free” and all ESRI software is Windows-only.

I did some searching and found that running ArcGIS on a Windows VM is not uncommon. The only gotcha I discovered is that you must turn off 3-D acceleration. I also learned that if I hold out long enough it’s rumored that a Mac version of ArcGIS may be coming.

To get the best possible performance with my existing computer I replaced my boot drive with a Samsung model 840 120 GB SSD for $99.99. Even though my computer is a bit long in the tooth, it should be able to run a Windows VM reasonably well, especially now that it has the SSD.

With the SSD Ubuntu boots incredibly fast! I shouldn’t have to replace my hardware for the foreseeable future, even when I do start running ArcGIS on a Windows VM.

Today was a good geek day.

Installing Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c on OEL 6.4


Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c has Arrived

Jean Ihm posted on Google+ today that Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c is available. This post is an update to my post earlier this month How to Install Oracle Spatial and Graph (11g) on OEL 6.4. Bear in mind that the context of my blog is a home spatial learning lab written by a Java developer, not a DBA, so please take what I say with a grain of salt.

Oracle 12c Gotcha

The Oracle 12c installation has “Create as Container database” checked by default. Container databases and PDB (Pluggable Database) didn’t exist in 11g and are a real paradigm shift. Unless you mean to add that complexity to your installation, be sure to uncheck the box circled in red below on the fifth screen show.

Complete the Pre-install Steps for Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c

To start out I cloned an Oracle VirtualBox snapshot I took of OEL 6.4 (Oracle Enterprise Linux) just prior to installing Oracle 11g. I performed the prerequisite steps as documented my 11g install post:

  1. Define the hostname.
  2. Install the dependencies. I didn’t find a 12c pre-install RPM for OEL, so I used the 11g RPM: oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall.
  3. Change the secure Linux policy in /etc/selinux/config to permissive.

Install Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c

Download the two Linux zip files from the Oracle Spatial and Graph 12c page.

As root, create the directory shown below, and unzip both files into that directory.

# mkdir /home/OraDB12c/
$ cp [your path]/ /home/OraDB12c/ 
$ cp [your path]/ /home/OraDB12c/ 
$ cd /home/OraDB12c/ 
$ unzip
$ unzip

Add Permission for Oracle User to xhost

Next, to avoid a common display error during the Oracle 11g installation run the following command as root.

# xhost +SI:localuser:oracle 
  localuser:oracle being added to access control list

Edit /home/oracle/.bash_profile with your preferred editor and add the following environment variables (substituting your host name and other installation preferences).

# Oracle Settings
TMP=/tmp; export TMP

export PATH

Switch to the oracle user and change to the OraDB12c directory to run the install.

# su - oracle
# cd /home/OraDB12c/database 
# ./runInstaller 

Since mine is a home machine I accepted the default values on most screens. I’ve included all the screenshots below.

Leave the first-page blank unless you have an Oracle Support account.


This page is different from 11g. I skipped the software updates since I had none to install.


This option will launch the database configuration assistant after the software is installed.


A desktop class is sufficient for a home spatial learning lab.


Be sure to deselect “Create as Container database” unless you need to manage PDB (Pluggable Databases). If you leave this op


Take the default inventory directory.


With the three pre-install steps noted above, my system passed all the prerequisite checks and skipped directly to the summary page.


Run the two scripts shown as root.


Go have a cup of coffee. The database configuration takes awhile. When it’s complete the following window will appear.


Test the Oracle Installation

Try connecting to the database while still signed in as the user oracle using the commands shown below. Run the test query shown to pull back the database SID.

$ sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release Production on Tue Jun 25 22:01:38 2013
Copyright (c) 1982, 2013, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release - 64bit Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP, Advanced Analytics and Real Application Testing options

SQL> select instance_name from v$instance;


SQL> exit
Disconnected from Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release - 64bit Production
With the Partitioning, OLAP, Advanced Analytics and Real Application Testing options

Wrapping Up

That is good enough for tonight. In my future posts, I’ll be using 12c instead of 11g, despite the fact that it will probably be a long while before we upgrade at work. I want access to the latest spatial features as I am learning.

IE Test Drive is a Win for Microsoft

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 7.59.31 AM

I am not one to praise Microsoft. Perhaps it’s because in 1990 an older co-worker took me aside and emphatically advised me to buy as much Microsoft stock as I could afford. I did not listen… not that I had the cash anyway, but I digress.

This month Microsoft launched its IE Test Drive and Modern.IE campaign. Somebody at HQ caught on to the fact that there are a lot of us developers in the world using Linux or Macs and the least favorite part of our jobs is testing IE.

Here is what my workspace looks like when I’m testing multiple browsers. That’s Ubuntu, OS X, and XP running on VMWare Fusion to test IE.

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 8.12.48 AM

For me, the worst part is the slow performance of my XP image on VMWare Fusion. I don’t even try to run Windows 7 because it takes forever to start-up.

That was then. Today, instead of running Windows on the Mac, I’m running the new Windows 7 appliance that I downloaded for free from I run it on Ubuntu under Oracle VitualBox. It starts fast and lets me get right to my testing.

VirtualBox with four Windows Appliances Imported

VirtualBox with four Windows Appliances Imported

Nice move Microsoft!