Friday, September 09, 2005

The Ugly Mess - Burleson's undocumented PGA parameter article

It was with a "train-wreck" mentality and fascination that I looked through the various posts on various sites that deal with this topic of Burleson's latest article on

The postings are deteriorating into legalese and unfounded accusations. Take a look at AskTom for follow-up but you should take a look at these sites first:

a) The "enhanced" article (version 3)
b) Getting credible information
c) Supersize
d) Jonathan Lewis dis-assemblement of Burleson's article and Snark?
e) Discussion on Dizwell forum
f) Another blog comment from Radoslav Rusinov

Obviously, the gang at Burleson Consulting is trying their best to try and deflect attention away from the article and make it a 'personal' issue with Tom. It didn't help that there was a comment posted by someone on Tom's blog who suggested rating all of "Rampant Press" books to one-star regardless of authorship although I am sure the poster actually meant all of DKB's books. This led to Janet Burleson posting on AskTom accusing Tom of allowing that comment to stand and thereby an attempt by Tom to "interfere with fair competition in the publishing marketplace". Of course there are also comments from Don's favourite buddy, Mike Ault, on the lack of "professionalism" from Tom, Jonathan, et al, and Tom being labelled as the "ambassador of Oracle". I mean, Mike even went to the effort of producing a 180+ or 230 (depending on how you size your page) page MS Word document professing tests and test results that supports Don's assertions. He even summarized his findings as follows, "This test was constructed as a repeatable test case to show that the principles set forth in Don Burleson’s article Undocumented secrets for super-sizing your PGA are correct in most of the cases that I see as an Oracle tuning consultant."

I did a search on who would have labelled Tom as "The Ambassador of Oracle" and found this link from and Mike Ault was upset about that? Maybe he should take it up with the editors at, then. Gosh, what's next? DKB trade-marking and registering the term "world-renowed Oracle expert"?

The crux of the problem was that Burleson published an article that wasn't entirely correct and also insulting (Yes! Insulting as he basically stated that your Oracle DBA doesn't understand PGA management if certain parameters were set which turned out to be incorrect in the first place). When shown that he himself did not understand PGA management, much less providing advice that could seriously damaged an Oracle installation (after all, advising the use of undocumented parameters without obtaining Oracle Tech Support is not the brightest move), he couldn't take it and in his usual fashion claimed he was correct all along or that Tom and Jonathan has a personal vendetta against him, etc.

It's strange too since it seems that in the early days (pre-Oracle 9, I think), both Tom and Don seems to get along (probably because there wasn't too much complexity in how Oracle works).

Here's a pic that I found which showed Tom and Don sitting next to each other in happier times? NB: Don is the one on the far left and then Tom followed by Dave Ensor and then Connor McDonald.

Personally and professionally, I think it's great that folks like Tom and Jonathan and countless others are willing to take on ensuring that correct information are posted on the web. It's the right thing to do. What's wrong is the inability to accept and correct said information, after all, you cannot stop learning (at least, you cannot be right all the time).

I fear that this current "dispute" (whatever you want to call it) will turn ugly for even as I write this entry, Howard Rogers has an entry on his blog about Janet Burleson's feeble attempt and of course, unfounded accusations against Tom Kyte. I'm sure that the Burlesons will have a response to Howard's post and I fear that it won't be nice. On top of that, Brian Duffy's Oracle Blogs Aggregator automatically receives Howard's blog entry. Will Janet Burleson contact Brian again and threaten him with legal action unless that he remove said entry as has been done recently?

My suggestion is to let for everyone to take a step back and let cooler heads pervail otherwise it could seriously degenerate into an ugly mess. No, I'm not suggesting that Tom or Jonathan or Howard has done anything wrong.

Edited: to correct link to the "original" article published by Burleson.


Pete_S said...

I even know of one blog where the author has deleted a reference (with link to AskTom, Jonathan and, of cousre, Don) to the PGA sizing stuff. The original version was still on the orablog aggregator yesterday.

I spoke to the blogger yesterday - there is more to this than I have written here, perhaps this will come out elsewhere

Bill S. said...


Your first link :
a) The "enhanced" article (version 3)

points back to your own blog. On purpose, or just a mistake?

I find it continually amazing that anyone with a degree of intellect could repeatedly shout about the correctness of their advice, when others have provided repeatable and irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

Peter K said...

bill s. said...


Your first link :
a) The "enhanced" article (version 3)

Ooops...that's what happened when you try to compost a post over several days on different computers.

Thanks. Corrected the reference.

I find it continually amazing that anyone with a degree of intellect could repeatedly shout about the correctness of their advice, when others have provided repeatable and irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

You and me both