Oracle moves Sun docs, sparking user debate

Oracle's move has broken original Sun documentation links, setting off users who are arguing about the matter online

Oracle's recent move to switch Sun Microsystems documentation to Oracle support infrastructure has some users up in arms, since the original links currently redirect to a general table of contents.

The broken links mean seminal papers such as "What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic" are more difficult to find thanks to Oracle's "URL-crapping," one user posted in a Reddit thread on Thursday.

But some respondents to the thread, which has generated more than 200 posts, wondered what all the fuss was about.

"Why should Oracle care if the links in Google's index are broken temporarily until their website is crawled again? This is much ado about nothing," another user said.

That earned a sharp retort from another poster: "It's not about something being temporarily broken. Old URLs should never break. Yes, you can move the page to a new URL, but the old URL should redirect to the new one. This is not a hard task. In fact, it's exceptionally trivial."

Perhaps in anticipation of this sort of reaction, a Jan. 14 post on the official Oracle OTN (Oracle Technology Network) blog provided a "cheat sheet" list of links to help users "get where [they] want to go while [they're] still getting familiar with the new arrangement."

Some additional relief is apparently on the way.

"With over 6.2 million files to move totaling 103GB of content this was no small effort," states a Jan. 20 post on the official Docs.sun.com blog.

"Over the coming weeks publishing teams will continue to tweak the documentation libraries, navigation structure and search indexing so as to aid users in finding resources as quickly as possible," it adds.

The document migration is "another consolidation move to standardize on Oracle practices and systems and remove any duplication," Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement. "OTN will be the standard location for accessing product documentation. Product documentation on OTN is organized into documentation libraries and easily accessed through documentation landing pages."

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Chris Kanaracus

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