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* Posts by Tom Cowap

3 posts • joined 16 Apr 2007

'Draconian' Microsoft promises to make Office work again

Tom Cowap

The German Tourist

This reminds me of a German tourist in the early 80's who gave out about the state of Irish roads - "Instead of fixing the road you put up signs indicating the road is defective and forget about it".

With SP3 MS just closed the defective roads.

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Kilted Debian lovers to overrun Edinburgh

Tom Cowap

Is that a Speccy in your Sporran..

Or are you just pleased to see me?

I worked with two Scots out of Glasgow and Edinburgh before, top drawer, Bruce Perens et al can anticipate hearing all about Robert the Bruce scared Romans and John Logie Baird over single malt whiskeys and if they're brave followed up with a Mars bars in batter. They should design a tartan for the Clan Debian while they're there.

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Is the relational database now a commodity?

Tom Cowap

100 Gallon Can of Worms

First question is "what is a commodity?". A price of zero for some versions is a good hint, but the other requirement is that alternatives can be substituted and provide the same functionality.

Basic SQL compatibility has come a long way, so with care and for simple applications yes, the core rdbms is now a commodity. For power users it's not the case though.

Ideally in tech development, todays value-add is tomorrows commodity. But vendors want to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and to lock lucrative customers into their platform, while power users have demands for performance and complexity, so we get feature sprawl.

Vendors are motivated to innovate, great, but also to differentiate contrary to commoditisation. The market may demand interoperability, but it'll be slow in coming, and with each industry standard adopted expect yet another set of vendor-specific features.

What gets my goat is where the attempt to add value encourages bad practice. Stored procedures with prefab execution plans reduce CO2 emissions, spiffing, let me feel cool bark pressing against my cheek (matron!), but don't overdo application code in the data storage layer.

And xml in clobs? Afraid I'm with dbdebunk on this, the proven relational paradigm should ideally be implemented in documents, or at least have proper translation at the app code layer for transmission and representation, but don't drag the rdbms back to hierarchical just because the W3C have a hierarchical document world view.

At least one good thing will come of the fiasco, xml document standards will eventually yield equivalent relational standards in the rdbms, then the value add will be relational documents avoiding the hierarchical overhead. Maybe after that and with standard SP languages we could expect full commoditisation with services being the value add. Tweak my cluster Larry-'san, here's a kimono for your trouble.

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