Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Google Oracle - Good start, now what about Metalink?

The news is out - here from Eye on Oracle - that Oracle has finally opened the door to Google indexing of Oracle's documentation.

That's marvellous, but it's not exactly the fall of the Berlin wall. Many Oracle docs have been online and available for Google search for years - certainly for the database. Some of these have been (accidentally?) made available on customer websites (eg - it's often universities) and others by Oracle themselves (eg Just Google for key phrases like Browse the list of books, including PDF for printing for 9i or ADM link goes to the Administrator's Guide which gets you the 10g book list - and you'll see what I mean. I've included the 'repeat the search with omitted the results included' option.

What would be really useful is to open up Metalink itself (only customer SRs excepted). Too many Oracle developers need access, but can't get it because of short sighted officiousness. We developers (especially freelancers like me) often get the short straw - we're expected to be have all Oracle knowledge at our fingertips and yet we are effectively prevented from using one of the best available resources for it. Our employers just won't give us access to the support contract information necessary to get connected. BTW, I stress that the main fault is not Oracle's; it lies more with jobsworths (Brit expression I think - those people who say "it's more than my job's worth" as an excuse for anything).

Oracle Corp can and has made valid arguments for secrecy - mainly around its intellectual property rights and its competitors. But anyone who wants to indulge in industrial espionage can probably afford to buy a support license and get into Metalink anyway. The net effect is that the security defeats exactly the wrong group.

So go on Redwood - open up a bit more; you know you want to!


Paweł Barut said...

I think Metalink will never be public. Metalink is service offered for money. One part is big knowledge base, bug descriptions. In my opinion it helps solving majority of user problems. And if it will be public, than many independent people might want to offer support for Oracle based on this knowledge. And oracle does not want it.
Regards, Paweł

David Haimes said...

I work for Oracle so have access to metalink, but I see the benefits of opening it up or at least parts of it. Maybe just the whitepapers or technical notes to start with?

Now more and more Oracle employees are blogging there is a lot more information direct from development just a google search away, this is something I have been pushing more people to get involved in with my 'Why Product Development Should Blog' series.

Nigel said...

David, I've read your blog for some time, particularly the proselytising for decent internal blogging, which is great - but I want more!

I spent time in Oracle (some of it supporting our (then UK developed) applications customers, so I'm familiar with both sides of the argument.

What's coming out on the new Oracle blog platform is great as far as it goes - but without a personal Metalink account I still feel cut off - only 1 client out of the last 5 or 6 has let me use their CSI details...