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Fresh install of OpenACS 5.10 on Oracle 19c

Here is a short summary of my steps to get the version of OpenACS from the branch oacs-5-10 installed on Oracle 19c. It seems there were since a while no fresh installations of OpenACS on Oracle, so several compatibility fixes were necessary in the oacs-5-10 branch to get things running. The branch oacs-5-10 will be released in the future as OpenACS 5.10.1.

Below are the steps to install Oracle on a virtual machine and to configure it such it works with OpenACS. There are probably many more ways to achieve similar tasks, but since the installation is not as trivial was with PostgreSQL, someone might find these notes useful. My installation was on macOS 11.6.3, and should work very similar on, e.g., Linux systems.

The currently recommended version by Oracle is 19c which is the Long Term Release with a support end date of April 30, 2027.

Installing a virtual machine with Oracle Linux and the Oracle Database


  • install vagrant
  • install VirtualBox
  • git clone Oracle's vagrant-projects
  • for installing Oracle 19c, change to vagrant-projects/OracleDatabase/19.3.0 and read the instructions. These instructions tell you to install the Oracle installation zip file for Linux in this directory. Without the proper Oracle database installation for your architecture, the "vagrant up" command below will fail. The Oracle version for private use is free to use.

Now, run in the vagrant-projects/OracleDatabase/19.3.0 directory the command

vagrant up

This command will install "Oracle Linux Server release 7.9" which is a flavor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) branded by Oracle. The command will run for a couple of minutes. Once the step has finished, you can use ssh to log into this machine

vagrant ssh

On this machine, you will find the Oracle server already running. To ease access to the database and the oracle utilities, add the following lines to the .bash_profile (of the vagrant user)

# User specific environment and startup programs
export ORACLE_HOME=/opt/oracle/product/19c/dbhome_1

To make the shared libraries easy accessible, add these to the standard paths (this will be needed e.g. for the compilation of the Oracle driver for NaviServer).

sudo sh -c "echo /opt/oracle/product/19c/dbhome_1/instantclient > /etc/"
sudo sh -c "echo /opt/oracle/product/19c/dbhome_1/lib > /etc/"
sudo ldconfig

You might also wish to change the password of the oracle database administrator IDs. We use here "oracle" as password, which is also used in later examples.

su - oracle -c "bash /home/oracle/ oracle"

Once $ORACLE_HOME/bin is on your path, you should be able to list the "status" and "services" provided by the Oracle database:

lsnrctl status
lsnrctl service

You will see there a container database "ORCLCDB" and a pluggable database "ORCLPDB1" (this is Oracle vocabulary). You should also be able to connect to the Oracle Database server via

sqlplus system/oracle@ORCLPDB1

Configuring an Oracle service for OpenACS

If this is working, Oracle and the VM are already functioning. Now we will create an own "service" for OpenACS from sqlplus:

exec dbms_service.CREATE_SERVICE('pdb1','openacs');  -- service_name and network_name
exec dbms_service.start_service('pdb1');

after leaving sqlplus, you should see the new database via "lsnrctl status". Now, you should be able to connect to the new service and save its state:

sqlplus system/oracle@localhost:1521/openacs
SQL> alter pluggable database save state;

Now, we will create an "openacs" user, a tablespace and grant this user the necessary permissions

CREATE TABLESPACE openacs  DATAFILE 'openacs_data.dbf' SIZE 100m;

Note that the tablespace is set here to 100 MB, which is fine for simple setups for testing etc. But certainly, you might want to alter this value according to your needs. Note that the tablespace "openacs" is the default tablespace of the user "openacs".

Installing NaviServer and OpenACS on the virtual machine

The installation of NaviServer and OpenACS is done here based on the scripts from naviserver-openacs. Now, install git on the vm, get the installer via git, create the user "nsadmin", deactivate PostgreSQL from the default configuration, and install NaviServer with the module "nsoracle".

sudo yum install git
git clone
cd install-ns
sudo useradd -g nsadmin nsadmin
sudo with_postgres=0 with_postgres_driver=0 ns_modules=nsoracle ORACLE_HOME=$ORACLE_HOME bash build

Now, we install OpenACS from the CVS repository. This will OpenACS with oacs-5-10-compat flag set (the latest published version of the oacs-5-10 branch)

sudo bash build

Now get the updated configuration file, which has the right name of the driver, environment variables etc. preconfigured from GitHub


move it e.g. to /usr/local/ns/config-oacs-5-10-0-ora.tcl, and change "ipaddress" to "", "server" to "oacs-5-10-0", and "database" to "oracle". Now you can start OpenACS in the foreground on the virtual machine using e.g.:

sudo /usr/local/ns/bin/nsd -u nsadmin -f -t /usr/local/ns/config-oacs-5-10-0-ora.tcl 2>&1

The server will be listening on []:8000. We are now essentially done. You should consider exporting port 8000 from the guest machine as e.g. port 9000 on the host by adding the line "forwarded_port", guest: 8000, host: 9000

in the Vagrantfile (in folder vagrant-projects/OracleDatabase/19.3.0) on the host, such that after a "vagrant halt" and "vagrant up" one can use a browser on the host to connect to OpenACS on the virtual machine.


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