Foehn & Hirsch laptop and Linux

Last week, my house was broken into and one of our laptops was stolen.  Not too much of a big deal, since there wasn’t much data on there (thank goodness for Cloud computing!), and once the insurance assessor visited, I went out and bought a new machine.  Since this was for my wife, I left her using my Toshiba Portege M800 which runs Linux Mint 8 x64, just to see what she thought of it and whether she could move from Vista to Linux.

After a few days of it, she was mightily impressed – there are some nice features of Mint that she liked over Vista, so asked if the replacement could be one that ran Linux.  No problems – might be a bit cheaper, after all! – so I hunted down a Foehn & Hirsch laptop on which was cheap, and came with no OS.  Here’s the detailed spec:


  • Intel T3000 Celeron Dual Core Processor 1.8Ghz,
  • 1MB Cache
  • SIS M672 + 968 Graphics Chipset


  • 4GB DDR2 667MHz
  • 2 x SO DIMM
  • Expandable to 4GB

Hard Drive

  • 320GB SATA 2.5″

Optical Drive

  • DVD+/-RW Supermulti


  • Operating System: No Operating System


  • 15.6” HD TFT
  • Resolution: 1366 x 768


  • SiS M672 Integrated
  • Shared Memory Architecture 256MB
  • High Preference 3D/2D graphic Accelerator
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Compatible
  • Super Vertex Shader 2.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0


  • High Definition Audio
  • Compliant With Microsoft UAA
  • Direct Sound 3D
  • 2 x Built in Speaker
  • Built in Mic

Input Devices

  • Multi Language Keyboard
  • Touchpad with Scroll zone


  • 56K Fax Modem
  • Built in 10/100MB Base-TX Ethernet LAN
  • WLAN: 802.11 b/g

Power Supply

  • Full Range AC Adapter 65W
  • AC in 100~240V, 50~60Hz
  • DC Out 19V, 3.42A / 18.5V, 3.5A
  • 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • up to 2.5 hour battery life


  • Width 374mm
  • Depth 256mm
  • Height 25~37mm
  • Weight 2.7kg


  • 3 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x VGA port
  • 1 x Headphone port
  • 1 x Microphone port
  • 1 x S/PDIF output port
  • 1 x RJ-11 port
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
  • 1 x DC-in jack


  • 7 in 1 Card Reader (MMC / RSMMC / SD / Mini SD / MS / MS Pro / MS Duo)
  • 1 x Express Card Slot

Warranty / Miscellaneous

  • 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • 1.3mp Webcam

That should be fine, I thought – keep her in laptops for a while, good spec and should be fine for Linux.  There was nothing anywhere that I could find that said otherwise, apart from a line that said “Please note that this Laptops does not have an Operating System installed, Ebuyer recommends Genuine Microsoft Software”

Then, it arrived, and things started to go badly wrong.

Read more

Tom Kyte on How to Ask for Help

I’ve just been asked a question which seems to fit the classic Tom Kyte “my car won’t start” scenario – a few pieces of information (which are of relevance to the asker, who has been looking at it for a while) but there is nothing there that provides any information about what the problem actually is.

Here’s a video from ZD Net Australia – it’s an interview with Tom about how developers should ask for help:

Installing SQL Developer on Linux

I recently had to install SQL Developer on my Linux box at home to communicate with my R12.1.1 instance. I could have used the version that I have installed in my W2K virtual machine (I need some kind of Windows installed to use Workflow Builder, so have a VM running it), but sometimes I just need to access the database without wanting or needing to have a VM running which uses 1GB of RAM. In this post, I will detail the steps that I took to get it working.

Firstly, download the right version from Oracle here.  I downloaded the file “”

Once the program has downloaded, unzip the file into a temporary location.  I unzipped mine into /home/Downloads where it created a new subdirectory called “sqldeveloper” for me.

Move the sqldeveloper folder into /opt (you may need root privileges to do this, so either do this as root or use sudo to move the folder).

Navigate to /opt/sqldeveloper and change the privileges on the file using chmod:

sudo chmod 755

Create a new file called “sqldeveloper” in /usr/local/bin/sqldeveloper which contains the following line:


Change the permissions on this new file using chmod again:

sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/sqldeveloper

Finally, you can run the program just by typing “sqldeveloper” at the command prompt window.  Run this now from a terminal window, and you will be prompted to confirm the location of the JDK:

Oracle SQL Developer
Copyright (c) 1997, 2009, Oracle and/or its affiliates.All rights reserved.

Type the full pathname of a J2SE installation (or Ctrl-C to quit), the path
will be stored in ~/.sqldeveloper/jdk

In my instance, the JVM is located at /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun so enter that path and SQL Developer should start.  Because the path to ~/.sqldeveloper does not exist yet (it will be created the first time the program runs), you will see errors.  Close SQL Developer down and run the command again – you will be prompted to enter the path a second time, which will then be saved to ~/.sqldeveloper/jdk.  If you ever change the location of the JVM, you will need to modify this file or SQL Developer will fail.

The last thing that I did was to create a new shortcut in my Ubuntu menu – if you are doing this, then the icon file can be found at /opt/sqldeveloper/icon.png.  Now when I click on the icon, SQL Developer starts fine:

Create a new DB connection to VIS database as APPS

Update 01-FEB-2011 @ 0822: Just a quick update to say that although I’ve not tested this on many Linux distros, I’ve moved away from Ubuntu to Linux Mint with no problems.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

In common with almost all professionally run websites, this website logs the IP address of each visitor in order to keep it running reliably. This is also essential for protecting the website and its visitors from malicious attacks, including infection with malware.

This website provides information as a service to visitors such as yourself, and to do this reliably and efficiently, it sometimes places small amounts of information on your computer or device (e.g. mobile phone). This includes small files known as cookies. The cookies stored by this website cannot be used to identify you personally.

We use cookies to understand what pages and information visitors find useful, and to detect problems such as broken links, or pages which are taking a long time to load.

We sometimes use cookies to remember a choice you make on one page, when you have moved to another page if that information can be used to make the website work better. For example:
- avoiding the need to ask for the same information several times during a session (e.g. when filling in forms), or
- remembering that you have logged in, so that you don’t have to re-enter your username and password on every page.

You can prevent the setting of cookies by adjusting the settings on your browser (see your browser Help for how to do this). Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit.