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Standard Oracle log and trace files

SVRMGR > show parameters dump
NAME                                TYPE    VALUE
----------------------------------- ------- ------------------------------
background_core_dump                string  full                          
background_dump_dest                string  ?/rdbms/log
core_dump_dest                      string  ?/dbs
max_dump_file_size                  string  10240                         
shadow_core_dump                    string  full                          
user_dump_dest                      string  ?/rdbms/log

Trace and dump Files

The location of Oracle’s database trace and dump files are determined by parameters within the init.ora file. The easiest way to know the location of Oracle’s trace and dump files is to use the server manager utility. As you can see by clicking the View Code button at left, server manager can be used to display all of the dump parameters. These same parameters are used in the init.ora file to define the log and trace options.
dilbert>cd $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/log
dilbert> ls

Note that the parameters that are suffixed with dest tell us where the files are located. In the example above you see that the background_dump_dest and the user_dump_dest are both set to $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/log. If you go to this directory, you will find a host of different alert and trace files:
Also note that the Oracle alert log is located in the background_dump_dest directory. Here you see the main log for the fred database, called alert_fred.log. The alert log will contain all relevant Oracle messages, including startup and shutdown messages, as well as redo log switches and serious errors.
For each trace file in the directory, you see that they are prefixed by the main process that spawned the error. You see traces for the process monitor process (pmon), the Recoverer process (reco), the log writer (lgwr), the database writer (dbwr), and the system monitor process (smon). Generic Oracle trace files are always prefixed with “ora” and end with "trc".