Oracle password rules: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/server.102/b14200/statements_8003.htm
In the above link see the "BY password" para
Are you using Oracle 11g ? as the following link says "Pre Oracle 11g" ==> Include symbols (pre-Oracle Database 11g allows "_", "$" and "#")
This apparently wasn't a password problem. The DBA changed the password and it still doesn't work. He sees nothing on his side trying to get through the firewall. I also can't connect using the same userid on the QA side.
I think it may be a server config or SELinux issue on my side.
This discussion can probably be disregarded, but I'll leave it open until I get an answer from our unix server people.