As expected, Oracle Corp introduced Release 10 of its client-server business applications under the Co-operative Applications and Services Initiative at its European User Group conference in Maastricht, the Netherlands last week. The event was focused on Oracle’s self-promotion as a global, distributed business solutions supplier. But it was forced to admit the new Co-operative Applications, which include Oracle Financials, Manufacturing and Human Resources – that’s Personnel for people that regard people as people rather than simply resources to be exploited – will not be truly distributed at all until it adds vital replication services. These services are not expected to be delivered until early 1995, the company says. Although Oracle claims vehemently that Co-operative Applications have already been rearchitected to take advantage of distribution functions, the software will not operate as a total enterprise system without replication. In fact, according to Greg Brady, Oracle’s worldwide vice-president of applications, these features for Release 10 Co-operative Applications haven’t even gone into production yet. Oracle also backed down on its promised replication functionality for Oracle7 release 7.1, saying that it will not ship in its initial release expected in the next few months, but will follow as a maintenance upgrade by the end of the fourth quarter. (Replication, alias master-slave, enables users to define where master and replicant files of an application, database or even data itself, reside in an organisation. Because replication is asynchronous in nature, which means that an operation will begin only once its preceding operation has been completed, data integrity is maintained even when system failures occur). On the marketing side, Oracle’s top US officials gave a very US-centric overview of product strategy, announcing very little European third party support, with news that products in Release 10 will initially only be available in the US and the UK. Localised versions for the continent and the Asia-Pacific are not expected until next year. Despite all the technical hitches in Oracle’s global strategy, the Co-operative Applications and Services Initiative announcements were wide-ranging, including 25 new modules for the firm’s Oracle Financials, Distribution, Manufacturing, Human Resources and Project Management applications, and the publication of 30 application programming interfaces, which will allow independent software vendors to integrate their applications with with the Co-operative architecture. More than 20 software companies have signed up for the application programming interfaces, including BusinessObjects SA, Trilogy Development Group, Clarify Corp, Data General Corp, Aurum Software, EDI Solutions Inc, Datalogix International Inc, Mantix Inc, Sterling Software Inc, Pillar Corp and Sherpa Corp. The Co-operative Services Initiative, also announced at the conference, will provide legacy application migration, transitional outsourcing, application benchmarking, system management and training for its customers. Co-operative Services teams with 17 services providers in the computer industry, including six multinational consultancies, system integrators, hardware vendors and system management tool suppliers to build a unified set of implementation services for Co-operative-based applications. Co-operative Services Initiative members include Hewlett-Packard Co, Compaq Computer Corp, Computer Sciences Corp, Price Waterhouse, IBM Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc, Unisys Corp, Pyramid Technology Corp, SHL Systemhouse Inc and Coopers & Lybrand. Release 10 applications ship in phases from May 1 to September.