Saturday, May 6, 2006

Trying to get a book fixed

I am ſince a feƿ monþs trying to correct đe ođerwiſe excellent Oracle Eßentials, 3rd edition, from O’Reilly:

Dr. Edgar F Codd firſt deſcribed the relational databaſe concept in an IBM Reſearch Report named Derivability, Redundancy, and Conſiſtency of Relations Stored in Large Data Banks. His 1970 paper was publiſhed in Communications of the ACM, and was called A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks. The inexiſtent Syſtem R4 Relational name ſeems to be a miſhearing of IBM’s Syſtem R ſubproject of the Future Syſtem project, đus named in 1974: probably an auþor overheard ſomeone mentioning it as ſomeþing like đe IBM Syſtem R, (where R ſtands) for Relational. Alſo, Oracle was not the firſt relational databaſe. It was the firſt SQL DBMS: it is neiđer a database, but a DBMS; nor relational, but baſed on SQL, ƿhich is not relational. Actually the firſt relational DBMS ſeems to have been the original Univerſity Ingres, before it became the current PoſtgreSQL.

Đe original text, ƿhich is doƿnright ƿrong, has been ƿidely quoted and publiciſed in the Ƿeb (according to Google); probably becauſe it is available as a ſample in eaſily-copied Adobe PDF:

The Evolution of the Relational Database

The relational database concept was described first by Dr. Edgar F. Codd in an IBM research publication entitled “System R4 Relational” appearing in 1970. Initially, it was unclear whether any system based on this concept could achieve commercial success. Nevertheless, […] RSI began in 1977 and released Oracle V.2 as the world’s first relational database within a couple of years. By 1985, Oracle could claim more than 1,000 relational database customer sites. By comparison, IBM would not embrace relational technology in a commercial product until the Query Management Facility in 1983.
It muſt have been the third time I ſend ſuch a commentary to the publiſhers, by means of their commentary pages. Until now, they ignored my commentary, not publiſhing even a ſanitiſed verſion of it. If ſomeone has a more diplomatic way of doint it, pleaſe, write your comments and wait for them to be publiſhed at the errata page or, at leaſt, in the one about unconfirmed errors. There are other errors in the ſame paragraph, alſo ſent as comments to O’Reilly:
The firſt IBM commercial SQL product was actually 1982’s SQL/DS for DOS/VSE, announced in 1981. 1983 ſaw alſo the launch of DB2.


Actually the firſt IBM relational product was BS12.

Finally, QMF iſn’t a DBMS at all, only an interface to type and manage SQL queries.