Monday, July 22, 2002

The Oracle of patience

I would like to welcome Oracle to the crowded room filled with software packages and systems that seem to derive revenues from support telling people how to use them (the software handles the task of making the user feel stupid and ill-qualified). The system offers several pretences of help: documentation (which you have to scour the online portal for), examples (the simple ones of course, NOT the ones you need!), and buzzwords to describe concepts (this last approach completely destroys any hope of you semantically arriving at the answer to your problems... think on the lines of choosing terms from film criticism to describe a rack-and-pinion assembly). After spending my time searching newsgroups (a wise alternative) and poring over official documentation (an unwise move, but I use my findings from the first alternative to verify those in this one), I succumbed to the dictates of functionality-prevails-over-form and worked in a hack to make sure the database server was up and running when the machine was rebooted. Note: I got my answer from the newsgroups and NOT from the official documentation (after all, how can you expect something like "If our carefully written semantically and syntactically script does not work, circumvent it completely and write your own from scratch" from corporate documentation). Great going. A wonderful business model at work:

1 Make a system horrendously complex. It must at least recreates the experience of having to read Perl you wrote yesterday. Of course, the sky is the limit for the final level of complexity.

2 Provide documentation that adds irrelevant terminology to describe the official constituents of this software goulash

3 Deploy 90% of your task force inserting random numbers accompanied by spurious high-brow technical words to construct a set of error messages and inject this into the system as garnish

As an aside: one of the components of this massive commercial data management undertaking is a listener. The term makes sense only to Oracle professionals within (we would hope) and without (we are glad) Oracle. To an average user, what can be more horrifying than a listener who refuses to listen to you?

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.