Its been sometime now since both the 10.2.0.4 Database Client (+ Instant Client) and Database server have been available for Apple Mac OS X x86-64 . The lowest version supported was the Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.4 .
By the time Oracle released the Oracle DB 10.2.0.4 , Snow Leopard was already out and adopted by the Mac community . If you happen to be on a SL box and trying to install Oracle , there is a know problem with the database crashing while installation . Many notable Oracle/Mac folks have worked through and found alternate solutions .
Check out the below links for information :
I will try to list out the issues and workarounds for getting Oracle Databse 10.2.0.4 installed . Some of the points may have been already mentioned in the links mentioned earlier .
1. JDK version on Snow Leopard
JDK 1.6 ( 64 bit ) is the default JDK version available on the platform . If we can install JDK 1.4.2 ( 32-bit ) on Snow Leopard , we will *NOT* require many of the other workarounds related to JDK version mentioned below .
Searching on the web , I found this link which says how to use the older Leopard version 1.4.2 ( & 1.5 ) JDK on Snow Leopard . *NOT* sure if its officially supported , I haven't tried it out myself , but this is a suggestion if someone wants to give it a try .
2. Working around with the JDK 1.6 ( 64 bit ) on Snow Leopard
The next workaround is to configure the Snow Leopard system to use the default JDK 6 , but in 32-bit mode , since there is still not much support for 64 bit java ( some Oracle install related JNI libs are 32-bit ) . JDK 1.6 is pretty recent and there hasn't been much adoption though its slowly increasing .
This is *NOT* tested , but I assume this should also work out . Open "/Applications/Utilities/Java Preferences.app" and set JDK 6 32-bit by default .
The next workaround , is to make a symlink for JDK 1.4.2 point to the default JDK 1.6 . But since its 64 bit by default we need to do changes to some of Oracle's installation scripts .
i) We first need to invoke the runInstaller ( which install's Oracle ) with the "=J-d32" option so that it invokes Java in 32-bit mode , since in the default mode Java 6 is invoked in 64-bit mode .
ii) We also need to modify the $ORACLE_HOME/jdk/bin/java script and pass the "-d32" flag in the command-line . $ORACLE_HOME/jdk/bin/java is used to invoke all the different Oracle database configuration assistants ( netca, dbca etc ) .
3. Make Errors
During the install , we can still see the below issue :
Error in invoking target 'all_no_orcl ipc_g ihsodbc32' of makefile
Workaround : Comment out the HSODBC_LINKLINE in ins_rdbms.mk . Maybe ignoring should also work .
4. Configuration Assistants failures
We should fix the $ORACLE_HOME/jdk/bin/java script to invoke Java in 32-bit mode so that we don't see any failures while running the NETwork Configuration Assistant ( NETCA ) , DataBase Configuration Assistant ( DBCA ) etc ..
5. EE/SE install's with DB creation Snow Leopard
Any of the EE/SE installs on Snow Leopard have a known problem . They fail with the below error message while running the DBCA :
ORA-03113: end-of-file on communication channel appeared.
( dbca : ORA-3113 with CloneRmanRestore )
Looking through the logs , we can see the below error messages :
ORA-07445: exception encountered: core dump [joxnfy_()+2763] [SIGSEGV] [Address not mapped to object] [0x277B8AEB8]  
This happens when dbca is invoked to create the database in the EE/SE installs ( not in the software only installs ) . The workarounds suggested on the previously mentioned links is to copy the old Oracle binary to overwrite the new binary .
During Oracle Installation , the Oracle binary is relinked/regenerated on the platform . Even though there shouldn't have been anything which would prevent Oracle to run smoothly on Snow Leopard , unfortunately we see the above issue when the Oracle binary is recompiled on Snow Leopard ( with the rest of the libraries oracle uses being the same old ones).
There seems to have been some changes that have gone into the Snow Leopard . Even though there were no major changes , as the naming convention of Apple would suggest ( Leopard -> Snow Leopard ) , there are still some subtle differences .
One of the changes which is linked to the Oracle Installation crash , most likely seems to be related to changes as described below ( found from a wiki ) :
With the introduction of Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 platform the Mach-O file has undergone a significant modification that causes binaries compiled on a 10.6 computer to be by default only able to run on a 10.6 computer. The difference stems from load commands that Mac OS X's linker (dyld) can not understand on previous Mac OS X versions. Another significant change to the Mach-O format is the change in how the Link Edit tables (found in the __LINKEDIT section) function. In 10.6 these new Link Edit tables are compressed by removing unused and unneeded bits of information, however Mac OS X 10.5 and earlier cannot read this new Link Edit table format. To resolve this issue, the linker flag "-mmacosx-version-min=" is heavily used and depended on. Apple, current maintainer of the Mach-O format, recommends that all developers now use this flag along with the appropriate SDK headers when creating an application/binary.
Below is the dyld ( Dynamic Loader ) release notes of Mac OS X 10.6 ( Snow Leopard )
DYLD release notes for Mac OS X 10.6 ( Snow Leopard )
Researching based on the above data , made me stumble upon a couple of new compiler/linker flags which can help control the generation of the __LINKEDIT section format ( traditional relocation format or the new compressed format ) .
-mmacosx-version-min=version ( Apple GCC Flag )
The earliest version of MacOS X that this executable will run on is version. Typical values of version include 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3.9 .
-macosx_version_min version ( LD Flag )
This is set to indicate the oldest Mac OS X version that that the output is to be used on. Specifying a later version enables the linker to assumes features of that OS in the output file. The format of version is a Mac OS X version number such as 10.4 or 10.5.
Please note the difference between hyphen ("-") vs the underscore ("_") and also the names of the flags for GCC and LD respectively .
-no_compact_linkedit ( LD Flag )
Normally when targeting Mac OS X 10.6, the linker will generate compact information in the __LINKEDIT segment. This option causes the linker to instead produce traditional relocation information.
The "-no_compact_linkedit" linker flag is used / makes sense / allowed only in conjunction with the -mmacosx-version-min=version ( Apple GCC Flag ). You can also use the -macosx_version_min version ( LD Flag ) instead of the GCC flag if you want.
Now , passing the -mmacosx-version-min=version ( Apple GCC Flag ) & "-no_compact_linkedit" linker flag to the Oracle link-line generates a Oracle which is compatible with the older format and also works fine on the Snow Leopard version.
Below is the modification we need to make , to change the Oracle Link-link manually in the env_rdbms.mk Makefile :
$ diff env_rdbms.mk.new env_rdbms.mk.orig
< ORACLE_LINKER=gcc -flat_namespace -mmacosx-version-min=10.5 -Wl,-no_compact_linkedit $(OLAPPRELINKOPTS) $(LDFLAGS) $(COMPSOBJS)
> ORACLE_LINKER=gcc -flat_namespace $(OLAPPRELINKOPTS) $(LDFLAGS) $(COMPSOBJS)
With this generated binary , DBCA should proceed through cleanly and so also the Oracle Database 10.2.0.4 install on the Mac OS X Snow Leopard.