Windows 7 + Oracle XE + Open Source
I recently decided to treat myself to a new laptop (and I also decided to start blogging again as I’ve been a bit busy recently). I’d previously been using a rather old Dell desktop running APEX 3.2.1 and Oracle XE on Windows XP Home edition. Although not officially supported, Oracle XE was running rather happily on Windows XP Home edition. And I’ve heard all the horror stories about Windows Vista, so when I had to choose Vista or Windows 7 I decided to try Windows 7. I was already running XE on an unsupported version of Windows, so why not try another? So I ordered my shiny new laptop with Windows 7 Professional.
My other aim was to use as many open source programs as possible. I’d done my time with Microsoft, my Office version was very old, I haven’t used IE in years (other than for testing purposes) and I wasn’t convinced about iTunes. I also wanted an easy installation and I knew I would need to upgrade APEX which I hadn’t had to do for a few months. I know I was asking a lot, but I was hopeful. Did it work?
Having made the decision to get a new laptop, I also decided to start afresh with some things. My APEX workspaces were cluttered and I was sure I didn’t need all those ‘testing’ applications that I created just to play with some new feature or a bit of functionality I’d downloaded. This made things a lot easier as I was happy to create a new empty database and import only those workspaces and applications I really needed.
First I set about installing FireFox, then the add-ons that I can’t live without (FireBug, Web Developer, FireGestures and Personas). No problems there. For email I installed Thunderbird and as I was already running this on my old desktop I copied the profile from there and pasted it into the folders in Roaming and Local on my laptop. This brought across all my emails, email accounts, settings and addons (Lightning and Change quote and reply format are ones I’d recommend). I also chose Songbird as a replacement for iTunes, which I can’t praise enough; Gimp for image creation and editing; and finally OpenOffice, which although a little quirky in places is an excellent replacement for Microsoft Office.
So going all open source was easy. But would all this be in vain if I couldn’t use Oracle XE? I downloaded the executable from the OTN site, ran it and it worked. I was slightly disappointed! I don’t know what I’d expected but that was too easy. I then upgraded APEX to 3.2.1, which was also easy and I’ll post some updated installation instructions soon. There was only one thing that I needed to change. Although starting the XE listener and service worked successfully from the Windows Services window (I have these set to manual so they don’t start up whenever I start my laptop), it didn’t work when I selected Start Database from the Windows start bar. To correct this, right-click on the shortcut and select Properties, then click the Advanced button on the Shortcut tab. Here tick to run the program as an Administrator and you’ll be able to start the database using this shortcut.
There isn’t really anything else to say. Oracle XE on Windows 7 Professional worked. Moving from Windows XP I love the new look Windows 7 and it seems a lot more stable than Vista. It’s early days, but I’ve had no problems and hopefully I won’t need to take my old desktop out of retirement any time soon!