I got a comment today on my recent Oracle fanboy post, which I thought was very interesting and worthy of a blog post in reply. The commenter started by criticising the Oracle license and support costs (we’ve all had that complaint) as well as the quality of support (yes, I’ve been there too), but that wasn’t the thing that stood out. The final paragraph was as follows…
“One addition. I know you, your past work and you are very brainy person but since last couple of years you became Oracle doctrine submissive person just like most of the rest of ACE Directors. When you were just ACEs, you were more trustworthy than now and you weren’t just Oracle interpreters… And unfortunately I’m not the only person with this opinion, but probably I’m only one who is not affraid to make it public.”
I think that’s a really interesting point and one that I feel compelled to write about…
Let me start by saying I don’t believe this comment was in any way directed at the main body of my website. The articles there have always been “how-to” style articles and typically don’t contain much in the way of opinions about the functionality. I’ve always tried to keep facts in the articles and opinions and random junk on the blog. With that distinction in place, let’s talk about my blog…
When I first joined the Oracle ACE Program in 2006 I was very concious of what *I thought it meant* about what I could and couldn’t say. On the one hand I didn’t want to piss off Oracle as I was very proud of my little ACE badge, but I also didn’t want to be considered Oracle’s Bitch. I quickly learned a couple of things:
- You are selected for what you are currently doing in the community. If you just keep doing what you do, life will be good. If you spend your whole time slagging off Oracle, you probably won’t get invited on to the program in the first place. If over time you turn into a complete hater, you will probably be asked to leave the program. I guess that’s pretty obvious and true of any evangelism program out there. Does that mean you can’t ever criticise Oracle? Hell no! Instead, I think it makes it your obligation to give constructive criticism whenever possible. One of the things we are encouraged to do is to make stronger links with the product managers so we can give more feedback to help improve the products. If you witnessed the amount of moaning and complaints that get fired at some of the Oracle teams during the ACE Director briefings, you would have no doubts about this. 🙂
- The value of the Oracle ACE Program to Oracle is that it is made up of “real” people who think Oracle is cool enough to spend their own time talking about it. If the Oracle ACE Program becomes a collection of yes-men and yes-women, then they might as well send a bunch of sales people to every conference. Oracle have (so far), never complained or tried to veto anything I’ve said in any presentation, blog post or article.
So have I become one of Oracle’s bitches over the last few years? Well, I’ve been an ACE since 1st April 2006 (yes, April fool’s day) and I’ve been an ACE Director since some time in 2007 or 2008. I can’t really remember to be honest, but let’s say for the sake of argument it’s been 6 years as an ACED. If it was becoming an ACED that made me an “Oracle doctrine submissive person” in the last couple of years, it must have taken Oracle four years of work to make me that way. 🙂
I don’t believe I alter my beliefs to fit any criteria, but I guess it is really difficult to be subjective about yourself and I would be very interested to know what other people think about this. If I think about some common topics of discussion over the last few years where I don’t fall “on message”, they would probably be:
- I believe Oracle is too expensive.
- I believe the diagnostics and tuning pack should be part of the base product and available in all editions for free.
- I believe anything to do with security should be part of the base product and available in all editions for free.
- I don’t agree with the pricing of data guard standby nodes that are only used for managed recovery. If they are opened for use (read-only, active DG or snapshot standby) I can see why Oracle would want to charge.
- Although I love the functionality of Cloud Control, I think the implementation is suffering from really bad bloat. It also exhibits some irregularities when different teams work on different aspects of the same functionality, as I discussed here.
- I am a fan of certification from the perspective of personal development, but I don’t think the piece of paper is worth anything in itself. I’ve written about this here. Having said that, I do agree with the recent re-certification thing.
I’ve just had a look through my posts over the last year and if anything, I would say I’m promoting KeePass and MobaXterm more than Oracle. 🙂 I know I get a little gushy about the ACE Program during conference write ups, and maybe that annoys people a bit, but I just can’t see that I’ve become a total drone… (Denial is not just a river in Africa?)
Anyway, I have two things to say in closing:
- To people in the Oracle ACE program : If you are worried about what you should and shouldn’t say, my advice is try to be as honest as possible. If the people in the community lose faith in the members of the program, then it is worth nothing!
- To people in the community : If you honestly believe you see a change in behaviour when someone joins the program you should call them out on it. I would suggest you do this in private and give some examples of situations that give you concern. If they are “the type of people the program needs”, they should be concerned about this also!
PS. For those that feel the need to, please don’t wade in with comments in my defence as I don’t think this is either necessary or helpful. I think the person in question had a genuine concern and quite frankly that makes it a concern of mine also…