Re: Date's First Great Blunder

From: Dawn M. Wolthuis <>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 12:54:51 -0500
Message-ID: <c613pl$a1u$>

"Laconic2" <> wrote in message
> Dawn,
> I'd like to suggest that you go back to two original sources.
> The first is Codd's original work, proposing the relational model. A
> search on "Codd Data Model" brings up a reprint of the classic paper,
> lots of others.

Within the past year I have read it, re-read it, made sure I understood it and filed I've got it right here. What do you think it says that I'm missing?

> The second is James Martin, "Computer Database Organization". I haven't
> looked at Martin in almost twenty years, so I don't know what you'll find
> there. But I would expect that you would find his treatment more
> than I find most of the stuff I associate with the word "marketing."

I last read Martin about 20 years ago too (common grade school text?) Again, what do you think I'll find there?

> Was Galileo's comparison of the Copernican and the Ptolemaic systems,
> "marketing"?

No -- again, I'm not judging the original users of such terms, but the fact that they became the norm so that instead of using the very common term "tree" to describe IMS (it might not exactly be a tree, but wlog we can consider it such), we perpetuate the relational folks' terminology not just for relational theory, but for products that are not in their camp. From a global standpoint, that is a common marketing strategy -- classify competitor products and your own and then attact the super-classes. It has worked so well for the relational database industry in grabbing mindshare that almost every product, including PICK, has called itself a relational database. It makes sense for Oracle and other RDBMS vendors to use this trick, but perhaps the textbooks could be a little less slanted in their use of terms.

For example, if you say that there are hierarchical databases and then list IMS and PICK (I know it is never listed, except as "and others") in that category, you would have readers thinking that there is anything similar between IMS and PICK (nothing I can see other than the ability to display the structure of each as a di-graph).

I'm rambling and this isn't an important enough point. But if you DO KNOW of any reason to believe that prior to Codd's publications in 1970 (or his work to get there) any of the existing database implementations classified themselves as hierarchical or network, please point me to the sources. I'm VERY interested in that. Thanks. --dawn Received on Mon Apr 19 2004 - 19:54:51 CEST

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