I'm trying to start up Oracle DB with startup command. But error occurred while startup.

dbstart[80]: test: argument expected
Failed to auto-start Oracle Net Listene using /bin/tnslsnr
touch: $ORACLE_HOME/startup.log cannot create
chmod: $ORACLE_HOME/startup.log: No such file or directory
Processing Database instance "$ORACLE_SID": log file $ORACLE_HOME/startup.log
No such file or directory
dbstart[350]: $ORACLE_HOME/startup.log: cannot create

How can I fix it? Oracle Database 10g Release - 64bit Production is running under AIX.

  • 1
    have you changed any permissions lately? Looks like a permissions error to me.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 1:06
  • 1
    Looks like your environment's not set up/being set up properly
    – Mat
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 5:22
  • 4
    $ORACLE_HOME probably isn't set & it's trying to write to /
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 9:07

2 Answers 2


I have faced the similar issue. The reason, why it has happened was the invalid entry in the /etc/oratab.

As dbstart script suggests, to configure, update /etc/oratab with instances that need to be started up. The entries are of the form:


An example entry:

  • I think you are right. touch: $ORACLE_HOME/startup.log cannot create shows that he really wants to use '$ORACLE_HOME' as ORACLE_HOME. nd he gets this value from /etc/oratab
    – miracle173
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 20:21

I see you are using a dbstart script to start your database.

In your dbstart script, change the value of ORACLE_HOME_LISTENER:

  • why should one change the Oracle dbstart script. Is there a bug in the script? Is this upon the advice of Oracle to do so?
    – miracle173
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:05
  • This will not help. The problem is almost certainly that $ORACLE_HOME is not defined correctly. Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 16:53
  • you can see at your user bash profile. or do export $ORACLE_HOME to correct oracle home location
    – DevYudh
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 8:53

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