Oracle in renewed criticism on support

Oracle is showing no signs it will reverse course on plans to shut down the venerable MetaLink support portal.

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Oracle is showing no signs it will reverse course on plans to shut down the venerable MetaLink support portal.

The site has long been used by thousands of IT professionals around the world. A shut down would go against many user complaints.

The software vendor is planning to replace MetaLink with My Oracle Support (MOS), a Web 2.0 and social-networking infused portal with a dynamic, Flash-based look.

Oracle has offered users an option of logging into "Classic MetaLink" or the new site, but it will soon be no more, despite outcry from many users who prefer the tried-and-true.

More than nostalgia is behind the complaints. Many Oracle users say the MOS interface's use of Flash, which is not installed on many corporate sites and client machines, makes it difficult for them to do their jobs and has resulted in sluggish performance.

The gripes have been rolling in for weeks on both Oracle's official forums and listservs.

A poll started by Oracle DBA Jared Still has received more than 600 responses, with about 62 percent, or two-thirds, saying they preferred Classic MetaLink over MOS.

"So far I'm very disappointed," one respondent said in a comment. "It's certainly not 'My' support, it's 100% 'Their' support (everything is centered around an idea how to cut as much as possible their support expenses.)"

One European Oracle user said via e-mail that the MOS site struggles to perform over lower-bandwidth lines, and the redesign overall was unnecessary and even counterproductive.

"Who cares...the phone works," said the user, a long-time Oracle projects consultant who preferred anonymity. "And I think that some customers will use the phone even more [now]."

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