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List of Categories : Commentary * Database * Singapore * Technology * Travel *

Wed 10 Dec 2003

Oracle

Category : Technology

We've got Oracle 9 running on Panther on a Titanium. It's a milestone of sorts. I can't stop looking at it, doing simple things like "desc act_accounts" or "select * from act_accounts where acctcode = 'so-and-so';". It sounds inane but you've got to appreciate how far we've come since we've got OS X.

I remember about five years ago when Apple moved from OS 8 to 9 and Oracle moved from Oracle 7 to 8. Everything to do with Oracle on the Mac stopped working. I remember pleading with friends at Oracle Singapore for drivers that will work, but they've already lost interest in the Mac. If not for the Internet, and someone on the other side of the world who discovered one particular combination that worked, we would have had to give up working on the Mac.

Even that would have been lost, had our customer moved on to Oracle 9. But, fortunately, these were people who had no interest in giving any cent more to Oracle than they need.

Until today, I've actually kept one PowerBook 3400, running OS 9, just to be able to do Oracle-related work. Now, this can be retired. (Our kid's going to have his own PowerBook, just like Daddy and Mommy.)

There's an advantage to running Oracle on a Unix server. You can simply ssh to it and do database administration. On Windows, we had to install those fat SQLNet drivers on every client machine. You can't just drag and drop the drivers and associated programs like SQLPlus. It's a non-trivial installation, so you'll be able to justify the IT headcount. On the Mac now, we just ssh to the server and "borrow" the SQLPLus running on it. Client applications access the server via a very "thin" JDBC driver. We don't need to mess up all our other Macs with SQLNet stuff.

Oracle's still got the edge in terms of the "expressiveness" of their SQL dialect. But, if we want to keep our code portable, we'll have the restrict ourselves to the 80% of the SQL expressions that will work across all the other platforms we want to run on. From this point of view, MySQL has almost caught up with Oracle. If I were Oracle, I would be seriously worried. It's hard to compete with "free".

So, now, I can show Java on OS X accessing Oracle on OS X in the forthcoming Xcode seminar. Of course, you still have all the other permutations, including Java and Oracle on PCs and Unix and Linux. Haven't you heard? Customers want choice. And it's choice they will get.

Posted at 1:28PM SGT | permalink


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