"Where's the alert log?" .. usually the first thing you want to know when looking at a new database.
Oracle's Grid Control solves this problem very well with it's web interface. But not always available.
Or in my case recently, where I had 6 databases setup on a single machine for various testing scenarios, I was getting tired of cd'ing all over the place, forgetting paths, or ending up with too many windows open for my own good. Getting well sick of this, I did a quick hunt for scripts to help but surprisingly didn't find much. So diving in, I created oraAlertLog.sh and now I'm happy;)
This script is for running on the database server. The Oracle environment must be set, and - at least for the first call - the database must be available so that the "background_dump_dest" parameter can be obtained. The script will cache the alert log location so that it will still work if the database happens to be down.
After getting this running I thought "duh!", should have been in perl so it would be possible to run on any platform supported by Oracle. Here's a version in Perl: oraAlertLog.pl. It requires Perl with DBI and DBD::Oracle .. the Perl distribution included with Oracle Database is fine for this (you just need to make sure the environment is properly configured).