The world is not quite ready for 64bit

64bitAs I told in the last few lines of my previous post, I had some issues installing the Oracle 10g client on my Windows 7 installation. After installing the 10g client, I immediately noticed it wouldn’t work: When opening the Microsoft ODBC Administrator, the Oracle datasource just wasn’t there. So I started to Google and the first hits I got were not very promising: 10g isn’t supported on Windows 7. It’s all over the place. Not supported. Won’t work. Why bother. One of the Oracle forum threads however shows that I had to use the 11g client. This isn’t supported either, but works at least. Better this than nothing, so I started to download the Oracle 11g 64bit client. Sure, my OS is 64 bit. 500MB. Damn.

When the download was finally finished, I installed this 11g client and noticed that indeed, the Oracle ODBC driver appeared in the ODBC manager. Hooray! So I set up the ODBC data source for the application that I tried to set up and indeed, I could choose the datasource, I selected it and … the application just crashed. Gone. Damn. As expected actually, since the software doesn’t support the 11g client. So I started to search further, noticed there was an update of the 10g client (with Vista support) so I started to download that one (another 500MB download) but I continued my search. I noticed a strange thing about another application, Powerbuilder 11, that has 11g support, but which refused to connect to the oracle database, although the 11g client was installed. It was a difficult search, but all of a sudden, I came across Google Groups where a few words were blinking.

PB is 32 bit and requires 32 bit client libraries.

How embarrassing. Of course! Powerbuilder didn’t say it couldn’t find the Oracle installation, it said it couldn’t load a specific DLL (a specific 64bit DLL). And that’s the reason why my 32bit installations of Oracle doesn’t appear in the ODBC manager: it only shows 64 bit ODBC drivers! So, I didn’t cancel my 64bit download of Oracle 10g, but I added two other downloads: 32bit version of the latest 10g and the 32bit version of 11g. (you can guess the filesize).

At the installation (I speak 2 hours later and a little modification later), I ran into this other problem. The installer didn’t continue since the OS version isn’t supported. It requires at most Windows 6.0 and I have Windows 6.1 (yes, Windows 7 is version 6.1). But there’s a quick and simple work-around by faking that the OS is supported. The installation worked. Powerbuilder could now connect to the Oracle database (using these 32bit data sources) but my problem on Heat was still standing: no 32bit ODBC drivers in my ODBC manager. There had to be a way to set them up. And there is. It’s called the “32bit version of the ODBC manager” which is the second hit when you enter “ODBC” in the start menu search field.

And now everything falls into place. The fact that Powerbuilder couldn’t see any of the System DSN’s, is part of the same problem: it can’t see any of the 64bit System DSN’s, but it CAN see all the 32bit System DSN’s.

So my problem is just that I installed the 64 bit version of Windows 7. If I would have installed the 32 bit version, I wouldn’t have had any problems I guess…

Running 64 bit Windows 7, my Oracle 10g problems are thus solved by

  • Installing the 32 bit versions of the Oracle clients (both 10g and 11g work without a problem – so far)
  • Setting up the ODBC data bases using the 32bit version of the ODBC manager (which is included by default)

It took me only three days to figure that out.