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Oracle

Posted Sep 9, 2004

Oracle Response Files - Part 1

By Steve Callan

Like the sandworms in Beetlejuice (you know they're out there, and you hate 'em too), many DBAs avoid Oracle's response files. The fact of the matter is this: they can be harnessed and used to your advantage. Buried in an installation directory, and not given that much press in installation guides, combined with what I will call "habit transfer," response files are an untapped resource that can save you time and standardize installation of your Oracle products.

What do I mean by "habit transfer?" The way most software applications are installed these days consists of inserting a CD, clicking on a few buttons, and sitting back to watch a progress bar grow. With response files, you can load the media once and practically eliminate any user input. Loading a CD and clicking "Install" is such an ingrained process that it causes two problems when it comes to installing Oracle products. First is that it encourages many users to skip over the contents of the product's installation guide. Second, and because for the most part the installation process will succeed, is that the habit of performing installations this way time and time again eliminates the motivation to explore a better and more efficient way of doing business.

This series of articles will introduce response files that ship with the "big three" Oracle products (Application Server, Developer Suite, and the RDBMS) and will also cover some of the features contained within the Oracle Universal Installer tool.

Where are they and what's in them?

Finding the response files on your installation media (even if the media is a directory on your hard drive) requires some intervention. Because of Plug and Play, when you insert disk one, the OUI starts up. You will have to cancel or exit out of the OUI before you go exploring the directory structure of the installation media.

The Oracle application used as the basis for this article is the Windows version of Developer Suite 10g. I chose this application because it is easily installed and removed, and it will not interfere with any RDBMS installation. Note that this article will not cover installation requirements. If you do not have Developer Suite, you can download it from OTN (http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/ids/index.html).

Create a directory (I used C:\DS10g) and download the two files into this directory. The download instructions on the OTN website direct you to use two directories (named disk1 and disk2), but this is not necessary. When you extract a file, it creates its own "DiskX" directory ("X" being 1 or 2). If you follow the OTN instructions, you will get a disk1\Disk1 and disk2\Disk2 directory structure, which is pretty lame. Moreover, being the Windows version, you'd think the path notation would be correct ("\" instead of the "/" that's shown below).

Directions

1.  Download the software into a temporary directory for each file (/disk1 and /disk2).

2.  To extract the files, double click each .exe file.

3.  In the /disk1 directory, double-click the setup.exe file to proceed with installation.

Here is a tip for Windows XP users: XP has its own extract utility. If you install WinZip, for example, the "Extract" menu option is not shown.

Shown below is what you will see in the Disk1 directory.

Navigate to the "stage\Response" directory to see the response files.

Oracle provides you a backup copy of each installation option response file. If you make a mistake, you can always start over with the copied backup file. Note the names of the files and you will see that they correspond to the four installation options OUI presents you when performing a manual installation (BI for Business Intelligence, Complete, J2EE, and RAD for Rapid Application Development). Do not let the fact that there are four different response files dissuade you from using them because for the most part, they are identical.

For example, shown below is the difference between the RAD and Complete versions:

Compare: (<)C:\DS10g\Disk1\stage\Response\oracle.ids.toplevel.development.RAD.rsp
   with: (>)C:\DS10g\Disk1\stage\Response\oracle.ids.toplevel.development.Complete.rsp
351c351
< INSTALL_TYPE="RAD"
---
> INSTALL_TYPE="Complete"

The difference, as you can see, just boils down to the name of the installation option.

So far, the "where" question has been answered. Use your favorite text editor (<shameless plug> for TextPad </plug>) and open the Complete file (Forms and Reports development is only available under the Complete installation option on Windows, and under the BI option on UNIX).

You will see a header section that provides some background, but more importantly, tells you how to format the data for inputs.

####################################################################
## Copyright(c) Oracle Corporation 1998,2002. All rights reserved.##
##                                                                ##
## Specify values for the variables listed below to customize     ##
## your installation.                                             ##
##                                                                ##
## Each variable is associated with a comment. The comment        ##
## identifies the variable type.                                  ##
##                                                                ##
## Please specify the values in the following format:             ##
##                                                                ##
##         Type         Example                                   ##
##         String       "Sample Value"                            ##
##         Boolean      True or False                             ##
##         Number       1000                                      ##
##         StringList   {"String value 1","String Value 2"}       ##
##                                                                ##
## The values that are given as  need to be       ##
## specified for a silent installation to be successful.          ##
##                                                                ##
##                                                                ##
## This response file is generated by Oracle Software             ##
## Packager.                                                      ##
####################################################################

To configure a file for use, at least for the first time through, read the entire file and provide or alter the input values as necessary. The variables and their values shown below will install Developer Suite in the following manner:

  • Use an ORACLE_HOME of C:\DS10g
  • Show the status screen (installation progress)
  • Show a results screen

The format is RESPONSE_VARIABLE=<value> followed by what I did (NC is no change, leave blank, add, or comment out) for each one.

RESPONSEFILE_VERSION=2.2.1.0.0 (NC)
UNIX_GROUP_NAME= (leave blank)
FROM_LOCATION="C:\DS10g\Disk1\stage\products.jar" (add)
FROM_LOCATION_CD_LABEL="LABEL1" (NC)
NEXT_SESSION_RESPONSE= (leave blank)
LOCATION_FOR_DISK2="C:\DS10g\Disk2" (add)
ORACLE_HOME="C:\DS10g" (add)
ORACLE_HOME_NAME="DS10g_HOME" (add)
TOPLEVEL_COMPONENT={"oracle.ids.toplevel.development","9.0.4.0.1"} (NC)
#DEINSTALL_LIST={"oracle.ids.toplevel.development","9.0.4.0.1"} (comment out)
SHOW_SPLASH_SCREEN=true (NC)
SHOW_WELCOME_PAGE=false (NC)
SHOW_COMPONENT_LOCATIONS_PAGE=false (NC)
SHOW_CUSTOM_TREE_PAGE=false (NC)
SHOW_SUMMARY_PAGE=false (true to false)
SHOW_INSTALL_PROGRESS_PAGE=true (NC)
SHOW_REQUIRED_CONFIG_TOOL_PAGE=false (true to false)
SHOW_CONFIG_TOOL_PAGE=false (true to false)
SHOW_RELEASE_NOTES=false (true to false)
SHOW_ROOTSH_CONFIRMATION=false (true to false)
SHOW_END_SESSION_PAGE=true (NC)
SHOW_EXIT_CONFIRMATION=false (true to false)
NEXT_SESSION=false (true to false, no other sessions)
NEXT_SESSION_ON_FAIL=false (true to false, related to NEXT_SESSION)
SHOW_DEINSTALL_CONFIRMATION=true (NC)
SHOW_DEINSTALL_PROGRESS=true (NC)
ACCEPT_LICENSE_AGREEMENT=true (NC, must be true for response file usage)
RESTART_SYSTEM=false (set to false, no need to restart)
CLUSTER_NODES= (leave blank, does not apply)
OUI_HOSTNAME="D2JW5xxx" (add the name of your host )
COMPONENT_LANGUAGES={"en"} (NC)
INSTALL_TYPE="Complete" (NC)
b_olite_install=false (set to false)
mailServerName="" (use "" to indicate a null value)
s_responseFileName= (leave blank, not using DBCA)
#OPTIONAL_CONFIG_TOOLS=<Value Unspecified> (comment out)
s_serverInstallType= (leave blank)
s_cfgtyperet= (leave blank)

Before starting the installation, Oracle directs you to run the "wsf" application. In newer versions of OUI, the installation tool checks your system for completeness (does it meet all of the requirements?). If you want to know ahead of time if your system (PC in this case) meets the hardware/software requirements, you can run this application separately. When you issue the command to start the installer, Oracle runs "wsf," so you can find out now or find out later.



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