Are you trying to use an ODBC connection? You need to have some Oracle Client software installed in order to use SQL*Net to provide the appropriate protocol.
Each operating system has a number of files which reference key information for Oracle. Some of these locations can be referenced as ENVIRONMENT variables, like ORACLE_HOME. There are also important configuration files like:
These are typically in $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin on Unix or %ORACLE_HOME%networkadmin on Windows operating systems. On Unix, there is typically a HOSTS file which identifies other computers it knows it can communicate with.
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