Preinstall Checks and a Book Review

This post is two topics for the price of one 🙂

1. A smart co-worker discovered that you can use RDA to check the pre-requisites before installing Oracle. What used to be an annoying, time consuming and error prone task, because almost fun.

Before installing the database, get RDA and type: ./ -Tdv hcve

This will generate a nice HTML page, with a list of tests that ran, which ones failed, why they failed and what you should do about it. Now you can send relevant parts of the report to your system administrator and ask for fixes.

2.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve read Joel Spolsky’s “The Best Software Writing”.  It is a difficult book to review, because it is generally a collection of essays, chosen to represent different aspects of the software world, and as such they vary in appeal and quality. Topics include programming languages, programming career, the effort required to ship a product, marketing and management. Naturally, everyone will be interested in a different subset of the essays.

I have some problem with the premise behind the book – Joel seems to believe that there is very little good writing about software out there, because good programmers are bad communicators, and therefore the very best writing should be show cased. I believe that a lot of good programmers, not to mention good managers, are also very good writers, and that the quality of essays in the book was not significantly better than what I get almost daily in my RSS reader.

I was somewhat disappointed about this book because I bought it thinking it will be similar to “Oracle Insights”, a bunch of war stories from the field that are entertaining and educational (and in some cases a bit painful). Unfortunately, the essays that Joel chose were not as good as the stories that OakTable has provided. Despites Joel’s assertion in the beginning of the book on the importance of telling stories, the book lacked vivid real life stories, and in many cases it also lacked meaningful lessons and conclusions.

In short, if you are managing a development team, Joel’s book may interest you. If you are working with databases, Oracle Insights will be a better investment.

3 Comments on “Preinstall Checks and a Book Review”

  1. Nice usage of rda! Unfortunately rda 4.9 does not check for 11g requirement on my platform

  2. Steeve says:

    Thanks for the RDA tip. I ran it on one development server that already have oracle running, and turns out I forgot to set ulimits.

  3. prodlife says:

    Thanks 🙂
    I’m glad I posted it then. I was sure everyone knows about this already.

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