Saturday, September 29, 2007

Playa Hatin' on Oracle in the 2K7

Growing up a young nerd, I spent a lot of time in my formative years on BBSes. OK, entirely too much time that should have been spent playing in the mud and socializing with people instead of keyboards, but I digress.

Along with BBS doors which were (are; I have a computer that supported a Telnet-connectable BBS collecting dust) awesome, I regularly found myself getting into inane flame wars about how much WINDOWS SUX LOL and MACS ARE GAME SYSTEMS ROFL to bump up my system credits so that I could spend them downloading t-files.

I'm not normally one to wax nostalgic (FUCK CDS! BRING BACK ACETATE!), but when I get a telephone book-sized requirements document (or hell, one that fits on a double-sided printout), boy howdy do I start to wish for The Good Ol' Days, when Telling You How It Was was the domain of hackers.

I miss those precious t-files and what they connote to me.

Profanity. Dry, cutting wit. No mincing words, no dumbing it down for people who won't (and can't) "get it". A pretty powerful stench of superiority, and you'd better believe that as you pore over the electrons of that tome, you start to feel better than the assholes out there that don't know shit from shinola either. Goddamn, I love those things. I still go back and read the Cult of the Dead Cow from time to time. It can feel like a product of its time, like a zine handed off with a wink and a nod in a suburban parking lot, but it sure as hell ages better than that requirements document - pick a requirements document, any requirements document.

The cDc got its name from a little programmer joke (I think; please don't hack my site folks, I am 31337 and k-r4d to the bone!!!!) - people would use hexadecimal "magic numbers" to flag specific memory segments so they could find them easily. People figured out that you could spell things with the few letters that afforded you - 0xDEADBEEF is, to my thinking, one of the swankier iterations that hackerdom mustered.

The fine folks at Oracle, the database company responsible for the ungodly machines required to run Oracle and the $400/hour consultants that are required to "tune" your systems so they don't run like raw ass (does raw ass run?) haven't forgotten about these magic hex codes. I can't speak to whether they've forgotten how to tell the difference between an empty string and a null one, but what do we care for 40 years of relational database theory? There is only one true path to Database Enlightenment and ORACLE IS IT. But seriously, watch those fucking spaces when you work with it.

Why so bitter about Oracle when I should know better than to get all frothy about a technology that I don't use and that probably has no effect on my life? THEY KILLED MY MOTHERFUCKING MOTHER, MAN! No they didn't. But I did have to deal with an Oracle salesman once (and if you've ever had to deal with an Oracle salesman, you know it isn't just once) and it left a foul taste in my mouth ever since.

Which is why I'm so glad to see that the way of the t-file is alive and well - this is some quality-ass hatin' on Oracle right here, folks. A few choice quotes (but really, go read it!):

We are talking libraries of 30 Megabytes and more linked in as well as sitting next to the binary, just in case.


One can only assume that Oracle uses the Intel compiler because no other compiler would produce efficient enough code to run this behemoth of a binary in acceptable speed.


And we would like to welcome Oracle Corp. in the year 2007, the century of highly advanced, mixed-case passwords.

When I was young, after getting over wanting to be an astronaut and paleontologist, I wanted to be a guy who dug deep into the cruft of software and systems, ripped the secrets out of them and brought them back to the world.

I never became that guy (and doubt I ever will because I spend too much time playing video games and I'm not that smart), but I am glad to see that there are people out there hacking away and still producing quality t-files. That they're straight hatin' on Oracle is just a triple word bonus.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to start praying that no one ever looks at my code ever because I'd probably break down sobbing like a big stupid baby if it ever received that kind of brutal scrutiny.

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