Updating the Context File

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted… one of the things that I’ve been playing with lately is the E-Business Suite R12.2.10 VISION Appliance. For those that don’t know, you can download an actual Oracle VirtualBox VM image from E-Delivery with EBS R12.2.10 VISION, a 19c Database, and a configured operating system… See MOS 2717713.1 for the details.

Anyway, I was looking at this image and found a bit of code that they’re using to make changes to values in the context file. I’ve put it together in a simple script here:

export CTXFILE=${1}
export TOKEN=${2}
export VALUE=${3}

cp ${CTXFILE} ${CTXFILE}.`date +%Y%m%d-%H%M`

${COMMON_TOP}/util/jdk32/jre/bin/java \
-classpath ${COMMON_TOP}/java/classes:${EBS_ORACLE_HOME}/shared-libs/ebs-appsborg/WEB-INF/lib/ebsAppsborgManifest.jar  \
oracle.apps.ad.context.UpdateContext ${CTXFILE} ${TOKEN} ${VALUE}

The first argument is the context file you want to edit.

The second argument is the token you want to update (“s_dbSid”, for example)

The third is the value you want to assign that token (“TEST”, for example).

Passing Variables to EBS Start Scripts (without having them show up in the environment)

In earlier releases of Oracle E-Business Suite, many of the standard startup/shutdown scripts would accept a password as a command-line argument.  This gave us the ability to automate and/or script certain maintenance tasks.

E-Business Suite R12.1.3

In E-Business Suite R12.1.3, for example, you could start the appsTier with the following:


./adstrtal.sh apps/${APPSPW}

E-Business Suite R12.2

When we get to E-Business Suite R12.2, the startup procedure is pretty much the same, but the command line arguments are no longer there.  To get around this, we’re told to pass things on the command line u sing the echo command.  Per MOS 1902776.1, the recommendation is:


{ echo "APPS" ; echo ${APPSPW} ; echo ${WLADMINPW} ; }|\
./adstrtal.sh @ -nopromptmsg

Although the command line is complicated, it works well. 

The Problem

However, the variables that are set will persist in the Unix environment of the adstrtal.sh script (and all processes that is spawns).

Test Script

So, to figure this out (and test our approaches), we have this simple test script:

echo -e "\n--------------------------------------------------\n"
echo -e "Variables:\n"
echo -e "\tAPPSPW:  ${APPSPW}"
echo -e "\tAPPSUN:  ${APPSUN}\n"

echo -e "Full ENV DUMP in /tmp/env.txt"
echo -e "Searching through /tmp/env.txt for APPSUN and APPSPW"
echo -e "\n--------------------------------------------------\n"
env >/tmp/env.txt

grep "APPSPW\|APPSUN" /tmp/env.txt
echo -e "\n--------------------------------------------------\n"

We can set these variables and run the script normally:

{ echo ${APPSUN} ; echo ${APPSPW} ; }|./test.sh



   APPSPW:  appspw
   APPSUN:  apps

Full ENV DUMP in /tmp/env.txt
Searching through /tmp/env.txt for APPSUN and APPSPW




As you can see, the ${APPSUN} and ${APPSPW} variables are in the text file.

However, when we run the script with a different command line, we get a different result.

{ echo ${APPSUN} ; echo ${APPSPW} ; }|env -u APPSPW bash ./test.sh



   APPSUN:  apps

Full ENV DUMP in /tmp/env.txt
Searching through /tmp/env.txt for APPSUN and APPSPW




The Solution

To get around that problem, we can actually DELETE the variables from the environment.


{ echo "APPS" ; echo ${APPSPW} ; echo ${WLADMINPW} ; }|\
 env -u APPSPW -u SYSTEMPW -U WLADMINPW bash ./adstrtal.sh @ -nopromptmsg

The command line is even uglier. We still have ${APPSPW}, ${SYSTEMPW}, and ${WLADMINPW} in our shell, but, those variables are not inherited by the running EBS processes.

A Lifeline for EBS Customers Still on RDBMS 11gR2 and 12cR1

Yesterday, the Oracle E-Business Suite Applications Technology Group made a couple of very significant announcements for E-Business Suite customers.

  • RDBMS 12cR1 ( Extended Support is available through July 31, 2022
  • The Extended Support fees have been waived for 12cR1 databases used for E-Business Suite through July 31, 2022.  [Previously, December 2020]
  • RDBMS 11gR2 ( Extended Support is available through December 31, 2020.
  • The Extended Support fees have been waived for 11gR2 databases used for E-Busines Suite through December 31, 2020.

The current certified versions of the Oracle RDBMS for use with E-Business Suite R12.1 and R12.2 include 11gR2, 12cR1, and 19c.

If you’re on 12cR1, you should upgrade to 19c as soon as reasonably possible.
If you’re on 11gR2, you too, should upgrade to 19c as soon as reasonably possible..  You could upgrade to, but you would be forcing yourself into another upgrade (to 19c) pretty soon.

The Oracle Server group has switched to a “yearly” release schedule.  So, sometime during 2020, there should be an “Oracle RDBMS 20c” and, sometime in 2021, we should expect an “Oracle RDBMS 21c”.

However, given that it takes a while to certify the database against E-Business Suite on the variety of platforms that are necessary, the E-Business Suite team has indicated their intention to certify on every other release.  Also important is that the certification for E-Business Suite tends to lag the database release by at least 6 months.  So, that means that the next certified release of the Oracle RDBMS for E-Business Suite should be RDBMS 21c and you might not see that certification until late in 2021.

So, if you choose to wait for the next release, you may find yourself praying for another extension… which is increasingly unlikely.

— James

E-Business Suite 12.1 is now Certified on OEL7 and RHEL7

New this week from Steven Chan’s blog:


One thing that Steven’s blog posting mentions that deserves specific emphasis is that Oracle Database and are ALSO certified on OEL7/RHEL7 [see MOS 1304727.1].  Please note that the certification is specific to the version of the database.  Most notably that and appear to be excluded from this certification.  As always, be sure to pay close attention to the certification status of your various components when planning any installation/upgrade.

It’s also important to note that, while there is a 32-bit version of RHEL6 (and E-Business Suite 12.1.3 is certified on it), there isn’t a 32-bit version of RHEL7.  This is important and, at the same time, it isn’t.  First of all, it’s highly unlikely that anyone is still using 32-bit hardware.  (Or that they ever were, for E-Business Suite on Linux).  Yes, it’s true that the appsTier components of E-Business Suite 12.1 are still 32-bit, running them on a 64-bit Linux requires only minor adjustments.  The bulk of which involve dependencies on kernel settings and Linux packages.

So, with all of this out there… Go forth and upgrade!

— James

Internet Explorer 10 and E-Business Suite

In case you hadn’t noticed, Microsoft started pushing out Internet Explorer 10 to Windows 7 customers back in early March.  Internet Explorer 10 is, at this point, not certified with any versions E-Business Suite.

You can read more about it on the E-Business Suite Technology blog (otherwise known as “Steven Chan’s Blog”).  A link to that posting can be found here.

Oracle Support Changes for EBS (part deux)

On Monday, Cliff Godwin announced some significant changes to E-Business Suite support. The official announcement is now available on MOS (Note: 1495337.1). The text of the announcement is below:

As part of Oracle’s continued commitment to our customers, we will be providing an exception for the first 13 months of Sustaining Support on Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11.5.10 (11i10), valid from December 1, 2013 – December 31, 2014. This exception support will be comprised of three components: (1) new fixes for Severity 1 production issues, (2) United States Form 1099 2013 year-end updates, and (3) payroll regulatory updates for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia for fiscal years ending in 2014.

In addition, the Extended Support period for E-Business Suite Release 12.1 has been extended through December, 2018. Customers with an active Oracle Premier Support for Software contract will automatically be entitled to Extended Support deliverables for E-Business Suite 12.1.

NOTE: The changes to 11i Sustaining Support do NOT extend to the security patches. Oracle will NOT provide Quarterly CPU patch for 11i will come out in October, 2013. The one exception to this is that they will provide fixes for “P1” security issues.

— James

E-Business Suite Current Release and Roadmap

Current release is R12.1.3 (but you already knew that!). Enhancements coming with R12.2 include Online Patching (20 years in the making) based on a database feature specifically requested by the E-Business Suite group called “Edition-Based Redefinition”. The expectation is that you will be able to apply patches of any size with minimal downtime (less than an hour, target is more like 15 minutes).  (I will discuss this feature in a more in-depth posting later).

Other enhancements include integration with Endeca to provide an e-commerce shopping experience to many of your ERP business processes. (I’ve heard the “shopping for shoes” reference three times already at OpenWorld when discussing this feature). Cliff Godwin provided an interesting demo of this feature during his presentation earlier today. It is expected that this capability will be released “within the year”. Cliff made a point to indicate that initial releases will cover several modules (I believe it was eight at initial release) but that new modules and Endeca-related features should come along quickly (due to the rapid development cycles available with Endeca). He was unclear, however, as to whether the Endeca feature set will be available on releases prior to R12.2.

— James

Oracle Support Changes Announced for EBS

During his session earlier today, Cliff Godwin announced some significant changes to the E-Business Suite support deadlines. I will put together a more polished post later, but for now, here are the details:

EBS 11i ( is STILL on Sustaining Support until December 31, 2013. However, they are making a few exceptions to the Sustaining Support policy. First, they will continue to provide bugfixes for Severity 1 production problems until December 31, 2014. Secondly, they will continue to provide updates for US Form 1099 through 2013 Year End. And finally, they are committing to provide Fiscal Year End 2014 Payroll updates for US, Canada, and UK.

For customers on Release 12.1, Oracle is waiving the Extended Support fees until December of 2018.

— James

MINOR CORRECTION: EBS 11i is not “still on sustaining support”. EBS 11i is actually on Extended Support until Nov 2013. (Thanks, Srini, for pointing this out!)

Impact of EBS R12.2 changes – WebLogic

A number of very smart people seem to think that the introduction of WebLogic is going to be a major “game changer” for E-Business Suite DBAs. There is certainly some truth to that thought. WebLogic is a completely different animal than the Apache or Oracle Application Server that we’ve gotten accustomed to in E-Business Suite 11i and R12.

But consider this. I suspect that most environments are fairly vanilla. When it comes to the basic degree of interaction that an E-Business Suite DBA has with the Applications Server, I suspect that the change will be largely transparent. Consider what you do with the current Applications Server product. Start and stop? That’s done through AutoConfig managed scripts. Basic configuration for EBS? That’s handled through AutoConfig. Why would we expect these things to change just because they’ve changed out the tool?

What will it change?

I’m certain that the log files will be different. The naming convention will probably change and the location of the files might change. The content of the files will certainly be different. As will the configuration files (but, again, I would expect those to be AutoConfig managed).

The big place where you will notice the WebLogic change (from an Administrator standpoint) is if you’re trying to do something else with it. If you’re dealing with Discoverer or deploying APEX, for example, you’ll certainly get up-close-and-personal with WebLogic.

So, should you be afraid of the WebLogic change? I don’t think so. Yes, custom deployments (anything that actually requires you to “deep-dive” into the configuration of WebLogic) will have a learning curve. That said, many of the components of Oracle Fusion Middleware already use WebLogic and, if you’re doing any custom deployments, odds are you’re also already dealing with WebLogic elsewhere and will have some familiarity by the time you go to tie it into E-Business Suite.

When you factor in these things with the fact that WebLogic is a more mature and overall better product than the current applications server used in E-Business Suite, I think that the change is probably a good thing.

— James