The short story is that if you have a standard configuration things should work entirely as you’d expect. That is, download the archive which, these days, comes as a RedHat “rpm” file. Become “root” and enter “rpm -ivh oracle-xe.rpm” and wait a bit. The install goes away and creates all the required users, starts up the listener and creates a default empty database.
CentOS, for those that have not come across it, is a Linux operating system built from the same source package as RedHat Enterprise Linux but without the support contract.
The first thing to note is that the few problems that I had were probably my own fault. Hardware was the main one. At home I’ve moved almost exclusively to Macs, and the one x86 Linux machine is a Via C3 running at 533Mhz and only has 512Mb of memory, both some way below Oracle’s recommended minimum.
So I downloaded the oracle-xe-10.2.0.1-1.0.i386.rpm file, switched to root and entered rpm -ivh oracle-xe.rpm. And it didn’t work.
On the plus side, it told me exactly what the problem was: I didn’t have libaio installed. I installed it (yum install libaio) and tried again.
It took a long time to create and start the database, but this is Oracle and this is an old, slow machine, and everything I have tried so far is operating correctly.
To be honest, the only problem I have found so far is that I can’t get the web admin interface working from a remote machine. If I click the button to enable the option, I get a blank page in Firefox and no luck from the Mac end. Bouncing the database (/etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle-xe restart) seemed not to make any difference.
If you come across any further problems (or solutions) please do add a comment below.