just my luck...

when everyone is having fun watching a royal slugfest, while I'm stuck with a Peopletools upgrade for days and days...

Barely catching up with what's been happening in the blog community in the last few weeks. And I still need to go back to Kevin's great series on SANs and NAS/NFS.

Ah well, I'll get there eventually.

It appears Don has once again managed to ruffle Jonathan's feathers. And vicky-the-versa.

No, I won't provide links: sick and tired of Don's old technique of turning any linked page into an ad to his services!
Oldest trick in the book. But I'm older still.

Let's get something very clear here: I haven't been the target of Don's so-called lawyers. Ever. Yet.
But I know for a fact he's tried to find my address details. Not that it tremendously upsets me: they are publicly available. But it requires the application of attention. Something I know Don appears sometimes a bit short of.

I've read and re-read the claims from both sides. Quite frankly: anyone who believes Jonathan is "after" Don needs their head examined.


Allow me to elaborate with some historical perspective. It goes like this:

- About 15 years ago Oracle noted there was a lack of good technical doco for their software. They then engaged a number of folks to produce lots of books. Some were from the then International User Group, others like Don were just encouraged to publish as much as possible within the guidelines from Oracle: "don't show any problems with the product".

Not necessarily a bad thing:
"some books" is a lot better than "no books".
Ask IBM and their extensive DB2 "library"...

Of course, along with some very good books a lot of dross was produced. Let's ignore that. Most were along the lines of "re-work the manual" into something of lighter digestion. Again: not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, anyone who has had to reference large tracts of Oracle's doco would welcome a summary of the stuff!

- Then a few years ago, around the 2000 timeframe, a new group of folks started producing very good, nay, excellent technical documentation. The future Oak Table folks mostly but also some from outside that organisation. This stuff was truly good, with a lot of reasoning and investigation put into it.

It considerably raised the bar on technical literature and it replaced the usual "because I say so" authority with much more solid information, the kind that can be verified by anyone. A leap ahead in quality.

- Of course: this was not welcome by the "re-work the manual" and "publish by the kilo" brigades. And the scene was set for a "war".

Why it would have to be so, to this day beats me: IMHO, there is a place for both kinds of books.

Like I said: there is a need for compact doco. Anyone who has had to wade through the 4 recovery manuals plus the Dataguard stuff will welcome Robert Freeman's RMAN book! Same goes for Mike Ault's and Tim Hall's condensed papers on many, many aspects of Oracle administration and system setup.

And of course: there is also a need for the sort of stuff covered in Steve Adam's and Jonathan's books and so many others of the same ilk. Do I need to explain why?

- So, the "book wars" started. Yes, there were some very public bunfights. I followed closely the ones in c.d.o.s., namely with the "reorganize indexes" war.

But it all got too personal and quite frankly, I've got better things to do with my time. At one stage, it even spread to the oracle-l list: I do remember being the target of innuendo there. That was dealt with at the time and I hope it was clear that while I don't feel the slightest inclination to "write books by the kilo", that doesn't mean I'll take nonsense from anyone. Still: not important.

- One thing seems to be a constant of this whole saga: when Don sees anyone critique his statements, he thinks someone is attacking his publishing business and that entitles him to fight back dirty. This involves email threats, innuendo campaigns, "funny" posts in his blog and site, etcetc.

As someone running a publishing business I guess he feels he's entitled to do whatever is necessary to protect his turf.

That is fundamentaly wrong as no one is really attacking the business itself. Just questioning some of his very public statements and claims. Last I checked, Jonathan was not in the slightest interested in running a book publishing empire! But he's a darn good scientist and has the mindset of an engineer when it comes to technical matters, so it's no surprise that there will be clashes there...

And this is where the important bits really come up: I have yet to see Don reply once with complete facts or detailed technical background to anything that Jonathan points out as incorrect. It's really simple: counter with verifiable facts, not "it's like this because I say it".


Somehow, the whole thing always degenerates into a site changing exercise, attacks on locked blogs and other such.

I have yet to see Jonathan resort to that sort of tactics. All he does is explain why some of Don's claims are wrong. And of course once Don starts the credibility attacks, it all degenerates into a bunfight. Yet somehow, I still have to see Jonathan publish any direct attacks on Don's publishing company...

Still, the whole enchillada is starting to reach the ears of Oracle's senior marketing. Figure that: it only took them what, 5 years to click into something being wrong? Amazing demonstration of their "pulse" on what's goes on in the Oracle community. Could it be they don't get accurate feedback from their UG folks?
Narh, perish the thought!

Be that as it may, my gut feel is that it will all end up badly. It is obvious that Oracle will feel compelled to do something to stop this state of affairs. But exactly what, will be the interesting thing to watch: after years of tacit approval of Don's business model and the "ACE" program nonsense supporting the new folks, it'll be interesting to see what they come up with. Then again, they might stick their collective heads back in the sand and really hope it'll all go away...

Tickled pink here! :-)

Ah well, I'm glad that for once it's not me on the hot seat with Oracle's "clear-headed" marketing. Oh hang-on: this blog entry will probably endear me once again to them.


Let me see: they'll now send another of their boyz to keep me "under control" at the new job?

What else is new? It's only been like that for what, 18 years?

Anyways, on a lighter note:

It might be difficult to see but check the coffee shop's name on the window! It's a local shop and the rider runs a local school. Every Saturday morning, there he is having his coffee break!

This is from near where I work now:

I like the "disintegrating building" effect!

Catchyalata, folks!


Blogger Unknown said...

Peopletools Upgrade? Yuck!

Tell me about it :-( I could do without that in my life ever again.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007 1:45:00 pm  

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