Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dr. Dobb's Journal...

Wow, a bit of my past is going away...  Funny enough - I referred to that magazine just today in a talk. 

Without Dr. Dobb's Journal - there might not be an site.

Why not? What is the link?  Dr. Dobb's is just a programmers journal after all (it and the C Users Journal were two subscriptions that changed my life, I learned a lot from them both).  Well, the link is that without Dr. Dobb's I might not have learned Oracle - or learned it much later than I did - or learned it differently, less completely.

I wrote about Dr. Dobb's in the foreword to a book once and I'll reproduce it here:

In 1987 I was just graduating from college and starting my career as a software developer. I started as a PL/I programmer on IBM mainframes using two databases – SQL/DS on VM/CMS and DB2 on MVS. I became familiar with SQL, but was limited as to what I could do on these production environments.

One day while reading a magazine, Dr. Dobbs Journal, I noticed an advertisement for a relational database that ran on DOS – simple PC’s. It was a product named “Oracle”. I clipped out the coupon – filled it in and ordered this relational database for $99. About 2 weeks later – a dozen or so 5-1/4” floppy disks showed up in my mailbox and I had Oracle version 5.1.5c and all of the development tools I needed to start playing, learning and exploring with. I was hooked.

That was then, this is now – and now, you have the ability to do in 10 minutes, for free what took me weeks and $99 ($166 in 2006 dollars!) in 1987 accomplish. With the introduction of Oracle Database Express Edition – you can download, develop, deploy and distribute your applications for free.


  • Dr. Dobb's Journal
  • C Users Journal
  • Borland's Turbo Pascal and Turbo C
  • Oracle version 5.1.5c

Things that changed everything for me...

Slowly disappearing - well, except for Oracle of course - and C.  I haven't read Dr. Dobb's in a while, I still write a bit of C here and there, I definitely use Oracle everyday.



Blogger Ontario Emperor said....

I guess you can say "Dr. Dobb's BYTEs the dust," but that just reminds one of another departure. I am not a programmer myself - I'm in marketing - but this is truly a sad moment.

Wed Jan 07, 06:26:00 PM EST  

Blogger Noons said....

Yeah, I still got all my C Users Journal mags, stashed away in a locker. One day I''m sure they will be useful to someone who researches the history of the language. I do miss that magazine. And to now see Dr Dobb's go is also a shock. But I guess to a certain extent, it was expected. Print magazines are on the way out. Wrongly IMHO. But it's very much here.

I still can't bring myself to read extensively or for long periods off a computer screen.

And I'm not in the habit of carrying a computer to the toilet, beach, bus or rail stop, during the coffee break, for coffee after lunch and dinner, etcetc: all those are places I carry a mag or book to.

Ah well: back to the books while they last...

Wed Jan 07, 07:08:00 PM EST  

Blogger Crisatunity said....

Unfortunately, over time CMP marketing patterns pretty much ground me out of reading anything in their stable. Apparently I was not alone.

Thu Jan 08, 12:18:00 AM EST  

Blogger Islam said....

Thank you Mr. Tom for your great effort at your wonderful blog,, Oracle Magazine articles ......ect, your topics and sites in my firefox bookmarks toolbar to check them daily, i liked your article at Oracle Magazine "The troubles with Triggers" and remeber always "Do not perform any operation that
cannot be rolled back.” ;)

I am from Egypt and could not able to get a copy from Dr. Dobb's journal because they restricted subscription only for USA and Canada

I don't know how can I get it

Eslam Abbas
Oracle Developer

Thu Jan 08, 02:00:00 AM EST  

Blogger Big Al said....

Hey Tom
I just started in Oracle Database; your story is one piece of inspiration for me and my career. My love for this product is not only because I used it for my salary, but it gives me joy.

Thank you,
Albert Zaza

Thu Jan 08, 07:58:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Bernie said....

I was excited when the Internet took off and I could get free content online instead of paying for periodicals (because the lack of money has always been problem for me).

Now I really prefer printed content because online advertisements are so distracting that I need to block Flash just to be able to concentrate on what I'm reading.

Thu Jan 08, 08:22:00 AM EST  

Blogger tnourse said....

Turbo Pascal? I remember that oh-so-well... in fact, I still have the 4 install disks (5 1/4) haha! I even have my scripts for creating queues, stacks, and merge-sorts saved on my flash drive. Great memories! Thanks!

Fri Jan 09, 10:37:00 AM EST  

Blogger nancyc said....

Hey Tom,

I thought you learned about Oracle when you were getting ready for a performance test while working for Sybase? The Oracle guys came in and started setting up writing the logs to tables and you were like "Hey, you will have contention" and they were like, "Hey, you have 3 eyes". You then realized Oracle had something and started working for them and never went back?

Thu Jan 15, 10:49:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....


I first really learned about Oracle (and Informix and Sybase and Ingres and ....) during the 1991-1992 timeframe - doing that evaluation.

Like many people, when I was young, I was raised to believe "all databases are the same, database independence rules, be very generic". It was during that project - where I was tasked with evaluating the databases in tandem - that I truly learned about them.

The first version of Oracle I got - the 5.1.5c version - was mostly for development on DOS machines, mostly single user machines. All forms development. I was very much the developers developer.

The (very true) story of a guy named Tim Hoechst (who was my oracle sales consultant and later manager here at Oracle) getting me to understand "they are not all the same" happened during that long evaluation. That was also the time in my life I read the Transaction Processing book - and had a database mentor and a half (Guy Decorte was his name).

Thu Jan 15, 12:34:00 PM EST  

Blogger Dr Doom said....

thanks for i know about
Dr. Dobb's Journal:
(DDJ) is a monthly journal published in the United States by CMP Technology. It covers topics aimed at computer programmers. DDJ was the first regular periodical focused on microcomputer software, rather than hardware.
I don't know how can I get it

from M'sian

Fri Jan 16, 08:06:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

@dr doom

well, this was after all an article about the fact that *no one* can *get* Dr Dobbs journal anymore.

If you follow the links and read the article...

... Now, it's possible (though not confirmed) that the January 2009 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal will be the last one, before it gets folded into the new "Dr. Dobb's Report" section of InformationWeek. The new section will debut in the Jan. 26 issue of InformationWeek. ...

Fri Jan 16, 10:24:00 AM EST  

Anonymous online data backup said....

That was an interesting post Tom. Thanks for it.

Fri Feb 27, 04:05:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Pete Barnett said....

Sad passing. Being a DBA is my third career. Dr. Dobbs got me started down the computer path.

Thu Mar 12, 10:49:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous backup online said....

Sad to hear the journal is coming to an end. It's been an inspiration to me and my career.

Mon Mar 16, 05:02:00 PM EDT  


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