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DBD::Oracle::Troubleshooting::Macos(3pm) User Contributed Perl Documentation DBD::Oracle::Troubleshooting::Macos(3pm)


DBD::Oracle::Troubleshooting::Macos - Tips and Hints to Troubleshoot DBD::Oracle on MacOs


version 1.80

General Info

These instructions allow for the compilation and successful testing of DBD::Oracle on MacOS X 10.2.4 and higher, using Oracle 9iR2 DR (Release or the 10g Instant Client release ( at the time of writing).

MacOS X DBD::Oracle has been tested (and used) under Jaguar (10.2.x), Panther (10.3.x), Snow Leopard (10.6.x), Lion (10.7.x). Jaguar comes with a Perl version of 5.6.0., which I can report to work with DBD::Oracle 1.14 and higher once you take certain steps (see below). You may want to install a later perl, e.g., Perl 5.8.x. Please refer to:

    Installing Perl 5.8 on Jaguar

for Perl 5.8.0 installation instructions.

DBD::Oracle is likely to not install out of the box on MacOS X 10.2. nor on 10.3. Manual but different changes will most likely be required on both versions.

The key problem on 10.2. (Jaguar) is a symbol clash (caused by a function poll() named identically) between the IO library in at least Perl 5.6.0 (which is the version that comes with 10.2) and the Oracle client library in 9iR2 developer's release for MacOS X. The symptom is that your build appears to compile fine but then fails in the link stage. If you are running a (possibly self-installed) version of Perl other than 5.6.0, there's a chance that you are not affected by the symbol clash. So, try to build first without any special measures, and only resort to the instructions below if your build fails in the link stage with a duplicate symbol error. Note: if it fails to even compile, solve that problem first since it is not due to the symbol clash.

The key problem on 10.3 (Panther) is that the default perl that comes with the system is compiled with multi-threading turned on, which at least with the 9iR2 developer's release exposes a memory leak. Your DBD::Oracle build will compile, test, and install fine, but if you execute the same prepared statement multiple times, the process will quickly run up hundreds of megabytes of RAM, and depending on how much memory you have it will die sooner or later.

Oracle recently released an "Instant Client" for MacOSX 10.3 (Panther), which as far as I can attest has none of the problems above. Since it is also a very compact download (actually, a series of downloads) I highly recommend you install and use the Instant Client if you are on 10.3 (Panther) and you do not intend to run the Oracle database server on your MacOSX box. See below (Instructions for 10.3.x) for details.

Instructions for 10.7.x (Lion)

Perl on Lion and later is built with 64-bit support, and therefore requires the 64-bit Instant Client. As of this writing, only Instant Client 11.2 (64-bit) actually works. The 64-bit Instant Client 10.2 is incompatible with Lion <>. We therefore recommend the 11.2 client. If you must Instant Client 10.2, you may need to recompile Perl with 32-bit support.

Either way, setup and configuration is the same:

  • Download and install the basic, sqlplus, and sdk instantclient libraries and install them in a central location, such as /usr/oracle_instantclient. Downloads here <>
  • Create a symlink from libclntsh.dylib.10.1 to libclntsh.dylib:

      cd /usr/oracle_instantclient/
      ln -s libclntsh.dylib.* libclntsh.dylib
      ln -s libocci.dylib.* libocci.dylib
  • Update your environment to point to the libraries:

      export ORACLE_HOME=/usr/oracle_instantclient
      export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/oracle_instantclient
  • You should now be able to install DBD::Oracle from CPAN:

         cpan DBD::Oracle

Instructions for 10.6.x (Snow Leopard)

These are taken from a stackoverflow answer by "nickisfat" who gave his/her permission for its inclusion here. You can see the original question and answers at

Getting a mac install of perl to play nicely with oracle is a bit of a pain - once it's running it is fantastic, getting it running is a little frustrating..

The below has worked for me on a few different intel macs, there could well be superfluous steps in there and it is likely not going to be the same for other platforms.

This will require use of shell, the root user and a bit of CPANing - nothing too onerous

First off create a directory for the oracle pap - libraries, instant client etc

sudo mkdir /usr/oracle_instantClient64

Download and extract all 64 bit instant client packages from oracle to the above directory

Create a symlink within that directory for one of the files in there

sudo cd /usr/oracle_instantClient64 sudo ln -s /usr/oracle_instantClient64/libclntsh.dylib.10.1 libclntsh.dylib

The following dir is hardcoded into the oracle instant client - god knows why - so need to create and symlink it

sudo mkdir -p /b/227/rdbms/ sudo cd /b/227/rdbms/ sudo ln -s /usr/oracle_instantClient64/ lib

Need to add a couple of environment variables, so edit /etc/profile and add them so they exist for all users:

export ORACLE_HOME=/usr/oracle_instantClient64 export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/oracle_instantClient64

Now try and install DBD::Oracle through CPAN - this will fail, but it means any dependencies will be downloaded and it retrieves the module for us

sudo perl -MCPAN -e shell install DBD::Oracle

When this fails exit CPAN and head to your .cpan/build dir - if you used automatic config of CPAN it'll be

cd ~/.cpan/build

if you didn't auto configure you can find your build directory with the following command in CPAN

o conf build_dir

Once in the build dir look for the DBD::Oracle dir which has just been created (it'll be called something like DBD-Oracle-1.28-?) and cd into it.

Now we need to switch to the root user. Root isn't enabled as default in osx - for details on enabling see this post on the apple website

Once logged in as root we need to set the above environment variables for root:

export ORACLE_HOME=/usr/oracle_instantClient64 export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/oracle_instantClient64

Now while still logged in as root we need to run the makefile for the module, then make, then install

perl make install

Assuming that all worked without error log out of root: we're DBD'd up! If this didn't work it's time to bust out google on whatever errors you're seeing

Now just to install the DBI module

sudo perl -MCPAN -e shell install DBI

Now you're all set - enjoy your perly oracley new life

Instructions for 10.2.x (Jaguar)

1) Install Oracle exactly per Oracle documentation. If you change install locations, then you'll need to modify paths accordingly.

2) There are two ways to remedy the symbol clash. Either edit the symbol table of the Oracle client library $ORACLE_HOME/lib/libclntsh.dylib.9.0 such that the symbol _poll is no longer exported. Alternatively, download, patch, and re-install the perl IO modules. I could not successfully repeat the report for the former, but I did succeed by doing the latter. Instructions for both follow nonetheless.

    backup copy of the $ORACLE_HOME/lib/libclntsh.dylib.9.0 file, or
    the file this name points to, since we're about to modify that
    library.  Note that the ".9.0" suffix of the file name is version
    dependent, and that you want to work with the file pointed to
    through one or a series of symbolic links rather than any of the
    symbolic links (e.g., one will be called libclntsh.dylib).
    As user 'oracle' execute the following command to fix namespace
    collisions in Oracle's dynamic libraries.
    nmedit -R ./hints/macos_lib.syms $ORACLE_HOME/lib/libclntsh.dylib.9.0
    *** Recall the above caveats regarding the file name.
    The problem with this is that the version of nm that comes with
    Jaguar doesn't support the -R flag. I'd be grateful to anyone who
    can suggest how to edit the symbol table of libraries on MacOS X.
    variant, we will patch the Perl IO modules to change the name of
    the poll() function, as that is where it is defined. In this case,
    we do not need to do anything with the Oracle libraries. Follow
    these steps:
    - Download the module IO ( from CPAN and unpack it. Check
      the documentation as to whether the version is compatible with
      your version of Perl; I used v1.20 with Perl 5.6.0 and had
    - The files IO.xs, poll.c, and poll.h need to be patched. Apply
      the following patches, e.g., by cutting and pasting the marked
      section into a file perlio.patch and using that file as input
      for patch:
      $ patch -p0 < perlio.patch
      The patch will basically rename the C implementation of poll()
      to io_poll(). The other patches were necessary to make v1.20
      compile with Perl 5.6.0; they may not be necessary with other
      versions of IO and Perl, respectively.
        +=+=+=+=+=+=+= Cut after this line
        diff -c ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/IO.xs ./IO.xs
        *** ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/IO.xs    Mon Jul 13 23:36:24 1998
        --- ./IO.xs     Sat May 10 15:20:02 2003
        *** 205,211 ****
                ST(0) = sv_2mortal(newSVpv((char*)&pos, sizeof(Fpos_t)));
            else {
        !           ST(0) = &sv_undef;
                errno = EINVAL;
        --- 205,211 ----
                ST(0) = sv_2mortal(newSVpv((char*)&pos, sizeof(Fpos_t)));
            else {
        !           ST(0) = &PL_sv_undef;
                errno = EINVAL;
        *** 249,255 ****
                SvREFCNT_dec(gv);   /* undo increment in newRV() */
            else {
        !           ST(0) = &sv_undef;
        --- 249,255 ----
                SvREFCNT_dec(gv);   /* undo increment in newRV() */
            else {
        !           ST(0) = &PL_sv_undef;
        *** 272,278 ****
            fds[j].revents = 0;
        !     if((ret = poll(fds,nfd,timeout)) >= 0) {
            for(i=1, j=0 ; j < nfd ; j++) {
                sv_setiv(ST(i), fds[j].fd); i++;
                sv_setiv(ST(i), fds[j].revents); i++;
        --- 272,278 ----
            fds[j].revents = 0;
        !     if((ret = io_poll(fds,nfd,timeout)) >= 0) {
            for(i=1, j=0 ; j < nfd ; j++) {
                sv_setiv(ST(i), fds[j].fd); i++;
                sv_setiv(ST(i), fds[j].revents); i++;
        diff -c ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/poll.c ./poll.c
        *** ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/poll.c   Wed Mar 18 21:34:00 1998
        --- ./poll.c    Sat May 10 14:28:22 2003
        *** 35,41 ****
        ! poll(fds, nfds, timeout)
        struct pollfd *fds;
        unsigned long nfds;
        int timeout;
        --- 35,41 ----
        ! io_poll(fds, nfds, timeout)
        struct pollfd *fds;
        unsigned long nfds;
        int timeout;
        diff -c ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/poll.h ./poll.h
        *** ../IO-orig/IO-1.20/poll.h   Wed Apr 15 20:33:02 1998
        --- ./poll.h    Sat May 10 14:29:11 2003
        *** 44,50 ****
        #define POLLHUP         0x0010
        #define POLLNVAL        0x0020
        ! int poll _((struct pollfd *, unsigned long, int));
        #ifndef HAS_POLL
        #  define HAS_POLL
        --- 44,50 ----
        #define POLLHUP         0x0010
        #define POLLNVAL        0x0020
        ! int io_poll _((struct pollfd *, unsigned long, int));
        #ifndef HAS_POLL
        #  define HAS_POLL
        +=+=+=+=+=+=+= Cut to the previous line
    - compile and install as you usually would, making sure that
      existing but conflicting modules get removed:
      $ perl Makefile.PL
      $ make
      $ make test
      $ make install UNINST=1
    - You are done. Continue with 3).

3) Install the module DBI as per its instructions, if you haven't
already done so.

4) Install the DBD::Oracle module.

      $ perl Makefile.PL
      $ make
      $ make test
      $ make install

Instructions for 10.3.x (Panther)

I highly recommend you install and use the Oracle 10g Instant Client for MacOSX 10.3. Compared to traditional Oracle client installations it is a very compact download, and it has the memory leak problem fixed. As an added benefit, you will be able to seamlessly connect to 10g databases. Even if you do want to run the database server included in the 9iR2 Developer's Release, I'd still use the Instant Client for compiling OCI applications or drivers like DBD::Oracle.

If you still decide to use the full 9iR2 DR client, and if all you use DBD::Oracle for on MacOSX is development and test scripts that don't involve running the same query multiple times or many queries within the same perl process, then note that the memory leak will most likely never affect you in a serious way. In this case you may not need to bother and instead just go ahead, build and install DBD::Oracle straightforwardly without any special measures.

That said, here are the details.

0) (If you decided for the 9iR2 DR client, skip to 1.) If you decided
to use the 10g Instant Client, make sure you download and install
all parts. (Given that this is perl land you may not need the JDBC
driver, but why bother sorting out the 25% you may or may not ever
need.) Follow the Oracle instructions and copy the contents of each
part into the same destination directory. Change to this
destination directory and create a symlink lib pointing to '.'
(without the quotes):

   $ cd </path/to/my/oracle/instantclient>
   $ ln -s lib .
   Also, set the environment variable ORACLE_HOME to the path to your
   instantclient destination directory. Makefile.PL needs it.
   Now return to your DBD::Oracle download. If the version is 1.16 or
   less you will need to patch Makefile.PL; in later versions this may
   be fixed already. Apply the following patch, e.g., by cutting and
   pasting into a file Makefile.PL.patch and then executing
   $ patch -p0 < Makefile.PL.patch
   Here is the patch:
    +=+=+=+=+=+=+= Cut after this line
    *** Makefile.PL.orig        Fri Oct 22 02:07:04 2004
    --- Makefile.PL     Fri May 13 14:28:53 2005
    *** 1252,1257 ****
    --- 1252,1258 ----
        print "Found $dir/$_\n" if $::opt_d;
        }, "$OH/rdbms",
            "$OH/plsql", # oratypes.h sometimes here (eg HPUX 11.23 Itanium Oracle 9.2.0)
    +        "$OH/sdk", # Oracle Instant Client default location (10g)
        @h_dir = keys %h_dir;
        print "Found header files in @h_dir.\n" if @h_dir;
    *** 1286,1292 ****
    --- 1287,1297 ----
        open FH, ">define.sql" or warn "Can't create define.sql: $!";
        close FH;
    +   # we need to temporarily disable login sql scripts
    +   my $sqlpath = $ENV{SQLPATH};
    +   delete $ENV{SQLPATH};
        my $sqlplus_release = `$sqlplus_exe -S /nolog \@define.sql 2>&1`;
    +   $ENV{SQLPATH} = $sqlpath if $sqlpath;
        unlink "define.sql";
        print $sqlplus_release;
        if ($sqlplus_release =~ /^DEFINE _SQLPLUS_RELEASE = "(\d?\d)(\d\d)(\d\d)(\d\d)(\d\d)"/) {
    +=+=+=+=+=+=+= Cut to the previous line
   The first hunk allows Makefile.PL to find the header files which
   are in a subdirectory sdk, and the second temporarily disables any
   global and local login.sql scripts which may make the sqlplus call
   fail. If you don't have a local login.sql script you will most
   likely be fine without the second hunk.
   Now run Makefile.PL and make sure you provide the -l flag:
   $ perl Makefile.PL -l
   If you receive some ugly error message stating that some *.mk file
   couldn't be found you forgot to add the -l flag.
   The continue the standard build process by running make. In
   DBD::Oracle versions 1.16 and earlier this will end in an error due
   to a failed execution of nmedit -R. Ignore this error. Move on to
   running the tests, making sure the test scripts can log in to your
   database (e.g., by setting ORACLE_USERID). Note that by default the
   Instant Client does not have a network/admin/tnsnames.ora
   installed. Either install a suitable one, or point TNS_ADMIN to the
   directory where you keep your tnsnames.ora, or include the full
   SQLNET connection string in ORACLE_USERID. All three options are
   documented by Oracle in the README_IC.htm file that comes with the
   Instant Client, so be sure you read it if you don't understand what
   I'm writing here.
   All tests should succeed. Complete by make install. You are done!
   Skip the other steps below, they do NOT apply to the Instant
   Client. (Although of course you may still install a later version
   of perl if you have the need.)

1) Until the reason for the memory leak has been found and fixed, you
need to remove the condition that exposes it. Apparently, this is
multi-threading being enabled in Perl. The Perl 5.8.1RC3 that comes
with Panther was compiled with multi-threading enabled, and AFAIK
it cannot be turned off at runtime. Note that the problem is
independent of whether you run multiple concurrent threads or not.

   Therefore, the solution is to build your own perl. I leave it up to
   you whether you want to replace the system perl or not. At least
   Perl 5.8.x comes with instructions as to how to replace the system
   perl on MacOS X, and what the caveats and risks are. I used 5.8.4,
   installed in /usr/local, and it worked perfectly fine.
   The key when configuring your custom build of perl is to disable
   multi-threading (usethreads, useithreads, and usemultiplicity
   options). More precisely, do not enable them, as they are disabled
   by default, at least up to version 5.8.5. You can check whether
   threads are enabled or not by passing -V to ther Perl interpreter:
   $ /path/to/your/perl -V | grep usethreads
   You need to see a line saying, among other things,
   usethreads=undef. If you see usethreads=define then multi-threading
   is enabled.

2) If you choose not to replace the system perl, make sure that when
you build DBI and DBD::Oracle you provide the full path to your own
perl when running Makefile.PL, like so (assuming you installed in
/usr/local, which is the default):

   $ /usr/local/bin/perl Makefile.PL
   Also, every time you run a DBD::Oracle script, you must use the
   full path too, unless your custom-built perl comes before the
   system perl in the PATH environment. The easiest way to ensure you
   are using the right perl is to uninstall DBI from the system perl
   if you did install it under that as well.

3) Continue with 3) as in instructions for Jaguar (making path
substitutions for perl as discussed in 2). ======================================================================

If you have any problems then follow the instructions in the README. Please post details of any problems (or changes you needed to make) to and CC them to on MacOSX specific problems. Rewrite of part of this readme, Panther instructions, and the Perl IO patch is credit to Hilmar Lapp, hlapp at

Earlier and original instructions thanks to:
Andy Lester
Steve Sapovits
Tom Mornini

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 16:02:17 +1000 Subject: Compilation bug in DBI on OSX with threaded Perl 5.8.0 From: Danial Pearce

In regards to a previous message on this list:

I have some more info:

I have compiled and installed Perl just fine with threads enabled:

./Configure -de -Dusethreads -Dprefix=/usr make make test sudo make install

I have then successfully installed Apache and mod_perl as well.

When I try to compile and install DBI, I get a bus error, just like the people on this list have previously discussed on the thread above.

If I unpack the DBI, and run perl, then alter the created Makefile so that it uses gcc2 rather than just "cc" then it compiles, installs and runs just fine.

The issue here is that Apple have just recently release 10.2.4, which updates /usr/bin/{gcc3,gcc2,g++3,g++2} and /usr/bin/cc is a symlink to /usr/bin/gcc3, so compilation of DBI under Apple's gcc3 does not work. It works find with gcc2 however.

I had the same problem with DBD::Pg, and was able to compile and install that using the same fix.

I am unsure if this is a problem with Apple's version of gcc, or a problem with the DBI/DBD code itself. Given that all my other open source applications are compiling and installing fine, I am thinking there isn't anything Apple are going to do about it.

cheers Danial


  • Tim Bunce <>
  • John Scoles <>
  • Yanick Champoux <>
  • Martin J. Evans <>


This software is copyright (c) 2019, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 by Tim Bunce.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.

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