The following instructions assume that you are using Debian Squeeze, the current 'stable' release. The instructions here are very specific, so look elsewhere for something more generic.


  • Get registered on Oracle website, and download oracle-instantclient11.2-basic*.rpm (~40MB).
  • Get cx-Oracle rpm for your specific Python version and your specific processor (in my case, 3.1 and i386 respectively).

installation and setup:

sudo apt-get install libpython3.1 libaio1 alien
sudo alien --install oracle-instantclient11.2-basic*rpm cx_Oracle*rpm
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/python3.1/site-packages/ /usr/lib/python3.1/lib-dynload
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client/lib/ /usr/lib
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client/lib/ /usr/lib
echo export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/oracle/11.2/client/lib >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc
python3 -c 'import cx_Oracle'

If that last line executes without printing a message to the screen, the install is most likely successful.

For basic usage, see this tiny tutorial.