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November 30, 1993

SLEEPING WITH AN ELEPHANT? NERVOUS OBJECT DATABASE GROUP CONSIDERS ORACLE’s REQUEST TO JOIN

By CBR Staff Writer

Oracle Corp has asked to be accepted as a member of the fledgling Object Database Management Group, a spin-off of the Object Management Group that has just published the book containing its standard, says co-author Guy Ferran, vice-president of engineering for Versailles-based O2 Technology SA. Their request has the effect of validating the norm, but it could also be dangerous in terms of the competitive threat Oracle could pose to the smaller object database vendors who comprise the Object Database Group, Ferran noted. The group is still considering the request. All of the members of the Object Database Group Group – Object Design Inc, Ontos Inc, O2 Technology SA, Versant Object Technology Inc, and Objectivity Inc – have agreed to incorporate the standard into their products, Ferran said. Ferran notes two major extensions the Object Database Group added to the Object Group standard in the book – The Object Database Standard: Object Database Group 93: One, it defines relationships between objects and, two, it defines the notion of a structured collection of objects. Among the elements in the Object Database Group standard is O2’s SQL, called OQL, which was chosen as the standard request language, Ferran said. The object definition language from Object Group was retained, he added. We think that the impact of Object Database Group-93 (the standard) should be the same that SQL had on the relational database world, because up until now, we have had no object-oriented standard; everybody proposed his own thing, Ferran said. We could have gone to ANSI or one of the other big standards groups, but we wouldn’t have been able to do this work in 18 months. The Object Database Management Group acquired a separate legal status from Object Management Group in the last few months and has hired Doug Barry, from Itasca Inc, to look for money and take the specification to other standards bodies. The object database vendors decided to spin off from the Object Management Group, Ferran says, because Object Group was mostly computer manufacturers who wanted to make their computers communicate and who considered the [object-oriented] database problem more long term. Ferran said the US Advanced Research Projects Agency may be ready to finance their work to expand the standard in collaboration with some university researchers, such as David Dewitt of University of Wisconsin and David Maier of Oregon. Dewitt will probably work on performance and optimisation for the OQL request language, Ferran added.

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