Does your Oracle client hang when connecting? Are you using Oracle Do you get the
following if you strace the process?

gettimeofday({1129717666, 622797}, NULL) = 0
access("/etc/sqlnet.ora", F_OK) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
access("./network/admin/sqlnet.ora", F_OK) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
access("/etc/sqlnet.ora", F_OK) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
access("./network/admin/sqlnet.ora", F_OK) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
fcntl64(155815832, F_SETFD, FD_CLOEXEC) = -1 EBADF (Bad file descriptor)
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702
times(NULL) = -1808543702

Has your client been up for more that 180 days? Well done; you’ve
just come across the same bug that has bitten two of our customers in
the last week. Back in the days of Oracle 8, there was a fairly imfamous
bug in the Oracle client where new connections would fail if the client had
been up for 248 days or more. This got fixed, and wasn’t a problem with
Oracle 9i at all. Now Oracle have managed to introduce a similar bug in, although in my experience the number of days appears to be
shorter (180+).

Thankfully, this has been fixed in the
Instant Client
. More information can be found on

Ever wanted to know who was logged into your oracle server and where
from? This SQL will show you the username connected, which machine they
are connected from and what time they connected.

SELECT s.username, s.program, s.logon_time
   FROM v$session s, v$process p, sys.v_$sess_io si
   WHERE s.paddr = p.addr(+) AND si.sid(+) = s.sid
   AND s.type='USER';

I’ve spent the weekend playing around with the new Oracle XE Debian
packages in preparation of having to use them at work in the near
future. I’ve written up my experiences of setting the server and
connecting remote clients in my latest

Talking of work, we have a position for a junior support role open. If
you live in or around Brighton, England and know a little bit about
Linux, Debian, Tomcat, Java, PostgreSQL and Oracle and willing to learn
more, have a look at the job
and get in contact.

Today, I discovered SQL::Translator,
which seems to have some very interesting use cases. Basically, it is a
perl module for translating a database schema from one of a number of
formats and turning it into another format. Parsers include:

  • Live querying of DB2, MySQL, DBI-PostgreSQL, SQLite and Sybase databases
  • Access
  • Excel
  • SQL for DB2, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite and Sybase
  • Storable
  • XML
  • YAML

Output formats include:

  • Class::DBI
  • SQL for MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLServer, SQLite and Sybase
  • Storable, XML and YAML
  • POD, Diagram, GraphViz and HTML

Several things spring to mind with this:

  1. Defining your Schema in XML and using SQL::Translator to convert it
    into SQL for several databases and a set of classes for Class::DBI,
    which would make your application immediately target any of the
    supported databases.
  2. Documenting an existing database for which you’ve lost existing
    documentation by pointing it at a running database instance and
    outputting HTML page and, thanks to the Diagram output module, visual
    representation of the structure.
  3. Convert one database from product to another. Point it at a MySQL
    database and generate SQL for postgresql. If you generated some
    Class::DBI stuff you could possibly quickly write a script to copy data
  4. Using the sqlt-diff script, compare you current SQL to what is
    running on the database and generate a SQL script to upgrade the
    database structure using ALTER TABLE etc. Presumably you’d need
    to convert any data yourself, but is still a time saver for large

I’m sure other people could think of some interesting uses for this.
Having looked at the Class::DBI stuff, I think it could do with some
improvements. I can’t see a way to set the class names, although I
haven’t spent that much time looking and it insists on having all the
classes in one file. Also the XML and YAML formats
generated are rather verbose and I haven’t looked to see how much I
could cut them down to use as the source definition. I suspect that I
can make it a lot shorter and rely on sensible defaults.

My initial reason for wanting to use SQL::Translator is that
Class::DBI::Pg has a large start up time and isn’t really suitable for
CGI use if you have a complex database. This might be mitigated by using
mod_perl, but in the mean time I was hoping I could speed up startup by
telling Class::DBI my column names, rather than it querying the
database. SQL::Translator should allow me to save duplicating the
database structure, whilst allowing me to support multiple backend
databases. If I get this working, I’ll write up a short HOWTO.