Back to the future (Oracle 4.1 VM appliance)

We had some nice KC-DBA (expertise meetings) meetings in 2005. One of them was about virtual machines (VMware basically). To show how you could use virtual machine technology to implement an environment which would be almost undoable nowadays to realize, a virtual machine environment was demonstrated with Oracle 4.1 installed based on DOS. Thanks to Carel Jan Engel (one the infamous OAKTable guys) – i was able to build a default Oracle 4.1 database environment with all the goodies like the UFI (the user friendly interface).

The old DOS disks where recovered from some boxes on my attic, so with some extra effort, the installation wasn’t so difficult (i still remembered how to do the ansi.sys, autoexec.bat and config.sys upper and lower memory stuff ) All in all it was good fun. πŸ™‚

Oracle 4.1 - Creation of the Demo Database

Strange enough you need(ed) the first oracle floppy in the floppy disk to start the database. I can not remember this from my Oracle 6 days.

Is there anyone who still has the Oracle 4.1 documentation? If so please send it so i could add it to this post for sharing purposes. If you want me to test some stuff on the Oracle 4.1 environment then please send me your SQL statements.


AD Comment 2:

I could have waited on this πŸ˜‰

I don’t have the doc’s but some collegaes helped me on my way last year – plus i have some oracle 6 experience, which helps. Here a VMware recording to help you on your path regarding start, stop, etc. Download the following AVI (Oracle – Login via UFI.avi ). You will need a codec from VMware to see it – that is if you haven’t installed VMware workstation (The VMware workstation software package contains a build-in movie recorder and will install the VMware codec during its installation process. You can download de VMware codec here: VMware movie decoder)

AD Comment 4:

Toon Koppelaars send me some pictures. So now we know what we are looking for πŸ˜‰

The books:

Oracle 4.1 Documentation - 02

Oracle 4.1 Documentation (3 volumes)

The contents:

Oracle 4.1 Documentation - 01

Oracle 4.1 contents plus floppies

AD Comment 12:

I don’t have Oracle 6 and Forms 3 on a VMware machine yet, but a sub-select on Oracle 4 looks like this πŸ˜‰

Sub Select

sub-select on Oracle 4.1

AD comment 14:

The software does not understand the create database link statement, but maybe thats not the correct statement. I also installed the “help” function, or enabled the help function by filling the “help” table but there is no reference (as far as i could find) to “database link”.

UFI - Help

A small part of the help.ufi SQL-script

In Oracle 4.1 there isn’t a “system.users” table yet.

The table was called sysuserauth, quering this you get the following output:

Sys user authentication

“system.users” table

describing the table:

Describing the sysuserauth table

describing the sysuserauth table

The connectauth, dbaauth, resourceauth columns reference, if the user was granted the connect, resource or dba role (small guess).

14 Responses to “Back to the future (Oracle 4.1 VM appliance)”

1. Toon Koppelaars Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 6:29 pm e

Not only did the software fit on a few (5-1/4) floppies
You could also read the complete documentation over the weekend!
Try doing that nowadays.

2. SwitchBL8 Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 6:34 pm e

Very nice. Got the image working. When I start Oracle.EXE mem.exe (or mem/c) reveals Oracle is indeed running. But how do I connect to it with UFI? It keeps complaining that it can not find the SGA (osdlsg: SGA file not opened).

3. Marco Gralike Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 10:43 pm e

I have updated (the postscriptum) the blog, so this should help you on your way. As said if there is someone with some documentation then it would be great if you would send it to me, so i can post it here.


4. Toon Koppelaars Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 11:02 pm e


As much as I can recall, way back in 1987, Oracle did not provide electronic
documentation. You may have a slim change that someone out there OCR-ed
the three booklets that came with the floppies.


5. Marco Gralike Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 11:09 pm e

I know. I posted this on (mailing list monitored by Steve Adams) and apart from the software no one could help me on doc’s anymore – but who knows πŸ˜‰

6. Marco Gralike Says:
April 4th, 2006 at 11:15 pm e

Sorry. To be precise –> (not

7. Frank van Bortel Says:
April 5th, 2006 at 5:40 pm e

Dan Hotka still has the UFI documentation, so he claims

8. SwitchBL8 Says:
April 5th, 2006 at 5:52 pm e

Of course, how could I forget: IOR W. Man, that’s a long time ago. Too bad I threw away these grey boxes 2 years ago, since, yes, I did have Oracle 4.1.

9. CBourbou Says:
April 7th, 2006 at 1:43 pm e

A few things I found out. 15 years with Oracle, but started with V6.

* Boot VM
* Optionally, for supporting Swiss Keyboard, edit AUTOEXEC.BAT
o Add a line “KEYB SG”
o Reboot VM
* Connect floppy drive by double-clicking on the floppy icon in the VM’s bottom status bar and activating ‘Connected’.
o Do not choose “Connect at power on”, since the system would then try to boot from floppy at next boot.

* Start Oracle
* Start Database
o C:\> IOR W
* Start SQL command tool using
o C:\> UFI -or-
o C:\> UFI user/pwd
o Login as scott/tiger or system/manager or sys/change_on_install
o Cannot read command file “” can be ignored. I googled for “login.ufi”, but there is no documentation to be had.
o For SCOTT, Dept/Emp/Bonus/Salgrade are present
o DESC also works.
* List of commands
o UFI> show help
o Parameter settings
+ UFI> show all (or show [param])
o Display the release
+ UFI> show rel
o Interesting Views (run as User.)
+ PARTITIONS = Database Files SYSTEM
+ SESSION = A log of connections SYSTEM
+ USERAUTH = Read Passwords in Clear! SYS
+ TAB = The schema’s tables
+ SYSUSERLIST = List of schemas
* Load Help System
o With running DB, run LOADHELP.BAT
* Comprehensive demo
o Just runs without stopping, despite me setting “set pause [enter]” – any idea?
* Shutdown Database
o C:\> IOR S
* To reboot the system, disconnect the Floppy-Disk first.

10. SwitchBL8 Says:
April 8th, 2006 at 11:15 am e

The login.ufi is the same as nowadays login.sql. It’s in the demo directory. If you CD \ORACLE\DEMO first and then start UFI, you won’t get the warningmessage.

11. William Robertson Says:
April 11th, 2006 at 10:06 pm e

Is it true that subqueries were a new feature in Oracle 5? It’s be nice to see a screenshot of one not being recognised in v4.

I’d also be interested if anyone could resurrect a v6 database or Forms 3 and see whether the mythical Implicit Cursor Second Fetch thing ever had any truth in it.

12. Marco Gralike Says:
April 12th, 2006 at 6:05 pm e

This blog entry has changed its contents on kind request by Ken Jacobs. The reason is that it would endanger a project, that i as oracle database enthousiast, would never ever would or want to jeopardize.

13. Ken Jacobs Says:
April 12th, 2006 at 7:43 pm e

Thank you Marco, for your cooperation on this matter. Due to the
possible presence of third-party software (which you may not have
the right to redistribute), it simply is the safest course to simply share
your experiences, but not the software itself.

By the way, subqueries were implemented in Version 2 (1981) of Oracle.
The correlated subquery format came later.

14. William Robertson Says:
April 13th, 2006 at 2:12 am e

I mentioned subqueries because I read the following in Dave Ensor’s chaptor in “Oracle Insights – Tales Of The Oak Table”:

“Oracle’s SQL implementation has moved on a great deal since, but the key step in Version 5 was the implementation of subqueries, which were simply not recognised by the Version 4 parser.”

Also mentioned as new features in Version 5 are database links and encrypted passwords. It might be interesting to query SYSTEM.USERS.

The original article (was posted on the AMIS Technology company website (see here:

Because the site was once hacked and due to the use of multiple plug-ins, the content was scrambled over the years. To preserve the initial content; it is now posted here on my own site.



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Marco Gralike Written by:


  1. stephen
    November 19


    Do you have a 16 bit sql*net software, that works with ORACLE5 ?

    If you do please send the zip file to the above e-mail address. I have the sql*net driver SQLTCPF.EXE, but I do not have the rest.



    • November 26

      Sorry can’t share Oracle software you will have to obtain it some other way.

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