About Oracle’s Code of Ethics, MOS Confidentiality Clause, and Content Stolen from My Website

I strive to keep the number non-technical posts on this blog to the minimum. However, there are days when a non-technical post has to be written. This is one of such days.

Oracle Corporation, concerned about legal and ethical issues, not only provides to its employees a document entitled Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, but also expects that every employee adheres with the standards that the document sets. For the purpose of this post, I would like to quote part of the “Intellectual Property” section:

It is against Oracle policy to use, copy, display, or distribute third-party copyrighted software, documentation, or other materials without permission or approval from Oracle’s Legal Department. For example, you may not post another entity’s copyrighted content to any internal or external Web site or other electronic forum without first obtaining the necessary approvals.

Having said that, I encourage you to have a look to the My Oracle Support note entitled Implementing Instance Caging (1177593.1). For your convenience (and also because I am fully aware that the current situation will change quickly), even though Oracle Corporation did not give me permission to do so, I provide you this PDF file showing the content of the note as the 5th of November 2014. In this way, you can accesses it from this blog without having access to My Oracle Support.

You might ask why I wrote that Oracle Corporation did not give me permission to publish the note I mentioned. The reason is quite simple… Despite the fact that I have access to My Oracle Support (among other, the company I work for, Trivadis, is a Platinum level partner), My Oracle Support Terms of Use clearly states the following:

You may not use, disclose, reproduce, transmit, or otherwise copy in any form or by any means the information contained in the Materials for any purpose, other than to support your authorized use of the Oracle product and/or cloud services, for which you have a current support contract, without the prior written permission of Oracle.

So, why I did it? Because part of the content of the note was reproduced by Oracle Corporation, or better, by one of its employees, without my permission! In fact, as you can easily see yourself, most of the post entitled Instance Caging that I published in November 2009 was included (i.e. copy/pasted) into the note.

While I might find flattering that people at Oracle are using my blog as a resource for technical information, such a conduct is against not only to common practices, but also to Oracle’s well defined code of ethics.

All the best!

PS: I did not write this post to attack Oracle Corporation, but to draw its attention about the unethical behaviour of some of its employees. Alas, doing that in public is the most effective way I am aware of.

UPDATE 2014-11-06 22:19: less than 4 hours after I published this post the note is no longer visible in My Oracle Support. Hence, the link referencing it is broken.

4 Comments

  1. November 6, 2014    

    And likely you would have quickly given permission for the zero cost of acknowledgement of the source! But I suspect someone was taking a short-cut on getting their own job done. Sigh. You and I know a lot a very good people from Oracle. It is a shame exceptions occur.

    • November 6, 2014    

      Hi Mark

      Of course I would give my permission. It’s a no-brainer.

      And, yes, most Oracle employees I personally know are very good and deserve all my respect. But, as in any large group of people, there are exceptions. The important thing is to avoid underestimating how detrimental few guys can be.

      Cheers,
      Chris

  2. November 7, 2014    

    I’m afraid you misinterpreted the section, Christian.
    It clearly states they can not do this “without permission or approval from Oracle’s Legal Department”.
    That is “Oracle’s legal department”, not you, the author.

    The employee may have done what he is supposed to, and the legal department may have given permission based on the assumption that the company can get away with it.

    I agree that they should have asked you, but their code of ethics does’t say they will, or even intend to.
    It only says they don’t want employees to make legal decisions by themselves.

    • November 7, 2014    

      Hi Erik

      I didn’t misinterpreted it.

      But, IMO:
      – I cannot immagine that a guy working in support (?) involves Oracle Legal department just to publish a MOS note.
      – I expect that Oracle Legal department would not provide the permission to plagiarise work of others people without a good reason. Maybe I’m too naive. Who knows… But, IMO, in such a case it would be so simple to come up with a text that provides the same insight without having to copy my post. For example, how difficult it is to run the code examples that I provided and generate another vmstat output? It’s very simple. But the guy wanted to avoid doing any work to publish the note.

      Best,
      Chris

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