There’s one big reason that Postgres can’t kill Oracle, and it’s not the technology

Postgres is popular but can’t unseat Oracle due to its business practices. Here’s how Oracle wins with its contracts and database stickiness.

A few years back EnterpriseDB, built on Postgres, offered enterprises something they shouldn’t have been able to refuse: All the Oracle database goodness without any of the Oracle. Enterprises were intrigued, but the efforts foundered. The problem? Contracts. As Keith Alsheimer, chief marketing officer for EnterpriseDB, explained:

Some of the practices that Oracle has of locking customers in contractually is a real challenge. Even if they want to move over [to another database system], they still have this number of licenses they bought, and they have to pay support for them [even if those licenses remain unused]. It’s very hard to get out of that.

It’s not merely a matter of contracts, but also how Oracle sells. Over the years, Oracle has acquired a bevy of applications (ERP, CRM, SCM, etc.) and tends not to certify that those applications will work with any other database. They probably would work fine, but not many CIOs would take that risk, especially given that doing so would violate their (wait for it!) contracts.

Marc Kasowitz, ‘Toughest of the Tough Guys,’ Stands Beside Trump

He is, for lack of a better comparison, the Donald Trump of lawyering.

.. A walk through Mr. Kasowitz’s office at Kasowitz Benson Torres in Midtown shows magazine covers and framed pictures of him. He’s quick to tell you about his latest accomplishment and never shies from publicity. The first paragraph of the online biography on his firm’s website, before mentioning any of his work, cites the dozens of media outlets that have written about him, and how they have described him as the “toughest lawyer on Wall Street,” an “uberlitigator” and “the toughest of the tough guys.”

.. In case you didn’t get the message, he likes a good fight, the nastier the better.

.. Mr. Kasowitz was largely responsible for helping Liggett settle the huge class action suits it faced over the health impact of tobacco

.. Mr. Kasowitz’s firm was on the other side of Mr. Icahn in a dispute over casinos. The client? Mr. Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka.

.. Mr. Kasowitz recently added Sberbank, a Russian state-controlled bank, as a client in a case that accused it of conspiring to take over a Russian granite company — and asserting that the conspiracy involved lieutenants of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The complaint called it a “textbook case of Russian corporate raiding.”

The big question in Washington is whether Mr. Kasowitz, who is not a criminal lawyer or a political hand, is the right person to be at Mr. Trump’s side. Some of Mr. Trump’s friends and advisers have privately raised questions about his hiring.

.. he does know about Mr. Trump — and he does know about the news media and the 24-hour news cycle.

.. He’s currently representing Bill O’Reilly

.. Mr. Kasowitz sent a letter to the paper threatening to sue over the publication of accusations from two women that Mr. Trump sexually harassed them.

.. Mr. Kasowitz’s law partner, David M. Friedman, was Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel.

.. And another of Mr. Kasowitz’s partners — one of his newest — is Joseph I. Lieberman

.. “I don’t read much. Mostly I read contracts, but usually my lawyers do most of the work.”

Blockchain Company’s Smart Contracts Were Dumb

The California electric grid operator built a set of rules for generating, distributing and paying for electricity. Those rules were dumb and bad. If you read them carefully and greedily, you could get paid silly amounts of money for generating electricity, not because the electricity was worth that much but because you found a way to exploit the rules. JPMorgan read the rules carefully and greedily, and exploited the rules. It did this openly and honestly, in ways that were ridiculous but explicitly allowed by the rules. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission fined it $410 million for doing this, and JPMorgan meekly paid up. What JPMorgan did was explicitly allowed by the rules, but that doesn’t mean that it was allowed. Just because rules are dumb and you are smart, that doesn’t always mean that you get to take advantage of them.

 .. The descriptions didn’t matter; only the code did. The descriptions didn’t allow for today’s hack, but the code did. (By definition! If the code could be hacked, the code allowed for the hack.) Any vulnerabilities in the DAO’s code were not flaws in the code; they were flaws in the descriptions — which were purely for entertainment purposes.
.. It isn’t how human institutions operate. But it is very much how “smart contract” utopians want future institutions to operate, or how they think they want those institutions to operate. “Immutable, unstoppable, and irrefutable”; free of human bias and stupidity and intervention; a utopia of coldly logical code. Human expectations are irrelevant, except to the extent that they are correctly translated into code.
.. Even if you invest in a company whose bylaws say that the board of directors can sacrifice you to a demon on the first full moon of a leap year, it’s unlikely that that term would be enforced. There is only so much leeway to depart from the standard terms.
.. And while cryptocurrency/blockchain/smart-contract fundamentalists have a tendency to think that they can place themselves outside of national legal systems just by saying that things happen “on the blockchain,” the national legal systems have a tendency to disagree.
.. To true believers in smart contracts, there is no problem here. The system is fine; the failures — writing bad code and not anticipating this attack — were trivial, mere human error.Next time, write better smart contracts and you’ll be fine. To those true believers, changing the code after the fact — even to conform it to almost-everyone’s reasonable expectations about how the DAO would work — would be a betrayal of the smart-contract ideal.
.. You can’t really base the financial system of the future on computers rather than humans, on trusting to immutable code no matter what happens. Financial systems are supposed to work for humans. If the code rips off the humans, something has gone wrong.