Oracle database version 13ß anyone?

I have been working with Oracle since version 8i, version 8.1.6 to be exact. Version 8.1.7 was the version number that finally worked.

Oracle 9i introduced XML, and SQL ANSI join syntax (although it took them till version 9.2 to finally get that working properly), and a little more too that justified the licence fee and upgrade.

And Oracle 10g, the big talking point, hype if you prefer, was that although versions 8 and 9 were suffixed with an “i”, version 10 was suffixed with a “g”, and the “g” stood for … well you can Google it all out yourself (and as a heads up, the “g” is not for Google). With hindsight, and even at the time, what a lot of rubbish all of that was.

Then there was version 11g, and now 12c. Wow – a “c” now. What evolutionary letter next? Perhaps something even revolutionary, a German eszett perhaps, version 13ß?*

Sadly, and you can tout database technical enhancements such as the CBO over the RBO, or the more recent database multitenancy implementation, when you weigh it up, 15 years of development later, there really is a lack of change. This is enhancement at an evolutionary pace; a developer in 2001 could look at the flagship version of the Oracle database now, 15 years on from my first exposure in a development sense, and feel very much at home.  That is the equivalent of writing that todays mainstream developers are at home with COBOL and Visual Basic 6 (and if you are, and you are reading this, and you are proffering these as headline skills on your CV, you are admitting you are unemployable).

Hear me correctly … none of this is a good thing. Versions of Oracle that have been released to fix bugs is a good thing, but really, 15 years on, the only creativity that has been introduced into the whole shambles is to bamboozle organisations into paying a higher licence fee for same thing with a few tweaks, year on year. Technically we are still using the sad thing that is PL/SQL; look what else has happened in .NET and Java land, and Microsoft SQL Server and others have all gone from fledgling to mainstream feature rich products. Using different words – the Oracle database appears little more than a cash cow for its owner with changes used to justify ongoing licence fees.

So, looking ahead, Oracle database version 13, what’ll be in it? Will it be called version 13? The sceptical among us are of the view that it will be more of the same and the basic implementation will remain unchanged. Will I be right? I think so.

What would I like to see? Well how about something innovative, useful, and more than just the latest version with a few changes used to justify an upgrade and more licence fees. After all, is it really tenable to stick to just functionality described, in-part, by ISO or ANSI standards? If it is, Oracle database development is surely in the “done” pile and future releases are product releases for a maintenance and support phase of the products lifecycle, not a development phase. If this is the case, let’s not bother with Oracle versions 13, 14, 15, 16 or whatever they will be named, and cut the bullshit and name it Oracle 12c patch 00001, patch 00002, patch 00003, patch 00004, patch 00005, patch 00006, …. or even suffix it with a date or year or build number instead?

Of course Oracle is not the only culprit here either, just the most obvious as …. well for the reasons outline above, it just hasn’t really come that far in 15 years of first hand exposure. There appears no impetus for it to be going anywhere either.

— Published by Mike, 12:42:05 05 December 2016

* I have put the i, g, and c, for 8i, 9i, 10g, 11g, and 12c above in italics, however for hypothetical product Oracle 13ß, I have not italicised the eszett. The eszett is a somewhat aloof letter in the German alphabet, looking down upon the conventional 26 (or 29 if you count the following  ä, ö, and ü as separate letters). It has only one form, there is no upper case eszett;  it never appears as the first letter of a word in German, how very common! I dare not diminish the stature of the eszett either – it will not succumb to being italicised.


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