I can understand Oracle charging for support and product upgrades, like 9i to 10g. I can even see the point of charging for releases upgrades, like 10gR1 to 10gR2. What I think is a little cheeky is to charge people for regular patchsets.
This line of thought came about because of a post on the Dizwell Forum, where someone mentioned they were running a production system without support. This person is working with 18.104.22.168.0 because they don’t have access to 22.214.171.124.0 as a result of not having a support and updates contract. Personally, I think this is more than a little mean of Oracle. Afterall, these patchsets are only fixing bugs in the product that was bought in good faith. Even Microsoft don’t charge for basic Windows Updates, only for version upgrades.
Personally, I believe patchsets on an existing product should be free to those who have a product license. Access to new releases and new product versions could still be restricted.
I just hope I’m never put in th same position as this guy!