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Re: How about an Oracle debate?

From: Niall Litchfield <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 21:32:18 +0100
Message-ID: <40c62241$0$25317$>

"Alan" <> wrote in message
> "Sybrand Bakker" <> wrote in
> message
> > On 7 Jun 2004 12:59:18 -0700, (Don Burleson) wrote:
> >
> > >However, I've been informed that there may be a problem that I did not
> > >consider, that these names don't correspond with "real" people.
> > >
> > >It turns out that I cannot verify that Nuno Souto, Richard Foote or
> > >Howard J. Rogers actually exist. No resumes with verifiable details,
> > >no photographs of any of them.
> >
> > Mr Burleson,
> > It strikes me you are incapable to see that resorting to slander as
> > the above ruins whatever credit you have build in the field.
> > In fact whatever you have written, whether accurate or inaccurate,
> > deserves to be thrashed, now you to need to proof or your inaccuracies
> > by contributions to an international forum that should be subjected to
> > legal scrutiny, as your contributions are slander.
> Technically, it's libel. Slander is the spoken form.

I agree.

>Anyway, although you
> may not like what he said, it does not raise to the level of libel (see
> York Time Co. vs. Sullivan 1964). He has to have malice (he may) and know
> that what he wrote is incorrect. He has stated opinion, and reported on
> research. If he actually found resumes with verifiable details or photos,
> and then made these claims, that would be a different story. Too bad
> no law against being an ignoramous.

Well as it would appear that he has bothered to find out who people worked for and then threatened to sue their employers (something that I and one other have asked about the truth of directly and not even received the courtesy of a reply) it would seem that there is plenty of evidence that he knows who these people are and that what he wrote was incorrect and that he knew it to be so.For example, Howard has a brief resume on the site that appears in his signature and his name at the very least appears on his published work Beginning Oracle Programming. I'd be quite frankly amazed if there wasn't a photograph there as well, but I don't have the book (sorry Howard et al). I too have never met Richard or seen a photograph - however I don't doubt his existence (someone is buying all those David Bowie albums) and anyway *someone* wrote the Indexing Myths paper.

So it is of course possible that a former Information Technology Professor doesn't have the skills to do the above research - though you know somehow I doubt it. What can't be said is that any competent research was done. I find it highly difficult to attribute anything other than malice to someone who resorts to petty name calling rather than addressing the technical issues at hand.

Now, I am not a lawyer and not qualified to state whether the above adds up to a case for libel, and if they did I would think it a bad thing for other reasons. It certainly however detracts from the professional reputation of Don for him to be associated with all this bluster, threatening behaviour and abuse. In fact I would probably have made no comment at all on this thread, or the previous 9i new features thread, were it not for the appalling posts that Don has made. Not appalling in a technical sense since they are devoid of technical content, but appalling in an abusive manner.

On the other hand making errors is something we all do. For example - since indexing myths started this - in response to a question about why you wouldn't want to use bitmap indexes in an OLTP environment I said

"In principle it works like this

For each and every piece of DML the entire bitmap has to be recalculated."

which is just wrong as Jonathan explained here You'll have to take my word for it but suing him for damage to my reputation never once entered my mind. I was wrong and its a good thing that this was corrected. In fact if Richard wants to put it in his paper that would be fine too. The important thing I hope is that we can agree that the whole profession benefits from rigorous technical analysis and professional quality behaviour.

Niall Litchfield
Oracle DBA
Received on Tue Jun 08 2004 - 15:32:18 CDT

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