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Oregon Suing Oracle Over Obamacare Site, But Still Needs Oracle's Help

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the I-hate-you-now-help-me dept.

Government 116

jfruh writes Oracle and the state of Oregon are in the midst of a particularly nasty set of lawsuits over the botched rollout of Oregon's health care exchange site, with Oregon claiming that Oracle promised an "out-of-the-box solution" and Oracle saying that Oregon foolishly attempted to act as its own systems integrator. But one aspect of the dispute helps illustrate an unpleasant reality of these kinds of disputes: even as Oregon tries to extract damages from Oracle, it still needs Oracle's help to salvage the site.

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grow your own exchange (4, Funny)

BringsApples (3418089) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822359)

Then I guess all of the folks of Oregon will just have to grow cannabis and self medicate till this thing blows over.

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

thieh (3654731) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822389)

Or the guys at Oracle will start selling cannabis as medicine in Oregon until they fix it.

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822475)

Or the guys at Oracle will stop aking cannabis and their reliability goes up.

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823825)

You have to use pharmaceuticals to work with Oracle!

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823873)

Ain't that the truth!

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824211)

Or the guys at Oracle will start selling cannabis as medicine in Oregon until they fix it.

That's it! No more weed for developers until it's fixed!

Re:grow your own exchange (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822411)

With booze and gambling and hookers?

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822473)

With booze and gambling and hookers?

...And forget the booze and gambling.

-Bender

Re:grow your own exchange (2)

F34nor (321515) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822663)

Portland is almost unique in the U.S. as we allow the combination of vices, all nude and liqueur in the same venue. Granted the stripper is going to be a PhD. candidate in women's studies with two kids but... TITTIES!

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822723)

But you're not allowed to sell unpasteurized milk in most states....

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month and a half ago | (#47825057)

And Oregon is (almost) unique in not letting you pump you own gas.

You can do the full Monty. Just can't pump it up.

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826547)

I have a funny story about that, but that's for my grandkids. Needless to say I had one gas station attendant puzzled as to where the gas tank was on my van.

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

F34nor (321515) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822659)

It's the other state to the north.

We should have gone with the Metal Toad linux offer and owned our own exchange.

Re:grow your own exchange (2, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822773)

Or they could just hire programmers directly. The gov't doesn't have to just hand out juicy contracts, it can employe people directly. But as everyone who's been completely ignoring the increased efficiency of the DMV and post office knows it's scientifically impossible for the gov't to do that. That and it's still 1950 and Leave it to Beaver is in it's 3rd season...

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823671)

Or they could hire one of many other consultant companies that have proven track records. Oracle scrapes the bottom of the barrel for projects like this.

Re:grow your own exchange (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823835)

r they could just hire programmers directly. The gov't doesn't have to just hand out juicy contracts, it can employe people directly.

Ever looked at Civil Service payscales?

If so, and if you want that sort of salary, then the government is willing to hire you. My wife works for a company that does work for the Feds, and was offered the chance to come to work directly for the feds.

Had to turn it down, since it included a substantial paycut....

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47826413)

Indiana's BMV is pretty awesome, thank you!

Re:grow your own exchange (0)

Nkwe (604125) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823395)

Then I guess all of the folks of Oregon will just have to grow cannabis and self medicate till this thing blows over.

We have to wait until November [wikipedia.org] to decide if this is a legal option or not. Of course there is a segment of the population not willing to wait...

Mistake #1 (5, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822361)

Using Oracle. Even their flagship DBMS product is a nightmare to configure and try to get decent performance out of - unless one hires a 6-figure DBA to constantly babysit the damn thing.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Truth_Quark (219407) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822407)

What is the better choice?

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822481)

Pin and paper with filing cabinets. Old tech, but cheaper and it works.

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822513)

I was thinking chisel and stone tablets. Much more durable than paper. Less chance for data loss except if you drop them.

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822691)

Kinda obligatory www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TAtRCJIqnk

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826525)

Moses needed ECC. BTW, That's still a great movie.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822517)

"Pin and paper with filing cabinets. Old tech, but cheaper and it works."

Do you mean pen and paper?

Anyway while it might work for keeping records, its hard to do a website that way.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822545)

Yes, pen, I had Personal Identification Number on the brain today, but I digress...

it's hard to do a website that way.

That's the whole point ;). When the tool because more of a monster than the actual problem (healthcare) you're trying to address in the first place, that's a problem.

Re:Mistake #1 (3, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822613)

No, this is healthcare we're talking about. Pin and paper. Use the pin to prick your finger, and sign the paper.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823431)

Remember kids. You can prick your finger, but don't finger your prick!

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823883)

No, this is healthcare we're talking about.

No, this is health INSURANCE we're talking about.

They're related, but not identical.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823995)

"Pin and paper with filing cabinets. Old tech, but cheaper and it works."

Do you mean pen and paper?

Forgive him, he's from New Zaland ... I mean New Zealand.

Re:Mistake #1 (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822509)

What is the better choice?

That 6 figure DBA is just as qualified to maintain any of the free alternatives. So why pay Oracle?

I maintain an Oracle app/DB and they're deprecating some major functionality and refuse to support older versions that do have it, so I'm supposed to come up with alternatives. I strongly favor an open/free alternative. My management came to me and said "But how do we get support?!?!" to which I replied "We haven't had support for over 10yrs, why start now?"

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823821)

What is the better choice?

That 6 figure DBA is just as qualified to maintain any of the free alternatives. So why pay Oracle?

I maintain an Oracle app/DB and they're deprecating some major functionality and refuse to support older versions that do have it, so I'm supposed to come up with alternatives. I strongly favor an open/free alternative. My management came to me and said "But how do we get support?!?!" to which I replied "We haven't had support for over 10yrs, why start now?"

Yeah, right. Why don't you trying setting up shared-storage active-active clusters with ANY of the "free" alternatives? PostgreSQL? Nope. Doesn't do active-active, and doesn't do shared storage.

Of course, even setting up the best PostgreSQL can do - active w/ hot standby via replication - is time consuming and anything but "free". And nevermind the fact that the "clustering" solution that sits on top of an active/hot-standby PostgreSQL cluster - pgpool II - is an utter turd that just plain doesn't work when things go bad - kinda EXACTLY when it needs to work for DB failover. Pull a plug on the active DB machine and watch pgpool do NOTHING on the standby machine for a WEEK. Or watch pgpool deadlock itself during failover because the signal handler for SIGQUIT - called when pgpool II restarts itself to do DB failover - makes a call to recvfrom() with an infinite timeout waiting for a packet from a process that's already been stopped. Watch pgpool II for new releases to fix these things and see them do new binary releases with no changes to the official source tree - at least the tarball version hasn't changed one bit and the version is the same - yeah, making binary releases when there are major bugs but claiming "the source code didn't change, trust us!" engenders the opposite reaction regarding a bunch of incompetents who sure seem to be lying.

And that's the BEST "free" solution out there.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824021)

You're confusing the enhancements made by EnterpriseDB with the community source. Just because they patch fixes into their binary doesn't mean it will show up in the community source anytime soon. How about instead of making up conspiracy theories to sound like you know what you're talking about, simply file a bug/feature report with the community source tracker so the product can become better.

TL;DR: Get a clue.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824263)

"Yeah, right. Why don't you trying setting up shared-storage active-active clusters with ANY of the "free" alternatives? "

Yes. That's why Google is Oracles biggest customer! Without Oracle you just can't do it!

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824489)

"Yeah, right. Why don't you trying setting up shared-storage active-active clusters with ANY of the "free" alternatives? "

Yes. That's why Google is Oracles biggest customer! Without Oracle you just can't do it!

Umm, how many BILLIONS of dollars does Google have to hire their own developers to write EXACTLY what Google needs?

Way to demonstrate your lack of understanding.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824525)

So apparently you didn't know that they make that code available to others [wikipedia.org] then? Way to demonstrate your cluelessness!

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824863)

Except that's 3rd party people REWRITING (poorly) what Google decided to put in a "Spec" or Public document.

They didn't release any code at all. They told us how they built their tool and probably didn't even divulge the best details.

Re:Mistake #1 (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822527)

What is the better choice?

There are many better choices. There are fifty states, and Oregon's website is widely regarded as the worst, despite spending far more than almost any other state.

Better choice #1: Spend $0, and just use the federal site. More than half the states are doing this, and none have regretted it. There is no rational reason for each state to run their own site.

Better choice #2: Use a small lean team of state employees, so they have skin in the game because promotions and raises depend on their success. Starve them of resources, so they have no choice but to keep it simple and focus on basic functionality. This is what Kentucky did. They spent 3% of what Oregon spent. Oregon ended up with the worst site. Kentucky's is widely considered the best.

Really bad choice: Use a contractor, that has a vested interested in a broken and bloated site, that needs lots of continuing maintenance.

Absolute worst possible choice: Use a contractor with a long and horrible track record of late deliveries and busted budgets. I have never EVER heard of anyone that used Oracle as a contractor and was happy with the result. Using Oracle is like buying a book from Amazon that has 1.000000 stars after 600 reviews.

Re:Mistake #1 (3, Insightful)

F34nor (321515) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822677)

Same reason that Regence BCBS blew $500 million on their REMAC project trying to replace IBM mainframes with PCs. They listened to ass-hat consultants and ignored the nerds. If your computer consultant arrives in a suit and a Lincoln Town Car DON'T FUCKING LISTEN TO HIM.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822729)

Technically, half of the states have not opted to use the federal site, but have decided to not participate at all. This led the federal government to run the site without the state, although an authority not granted to it by congress under the law.

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

meglon (1001833) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822781)

Technically they had the choice of opting to make their own, with the default setting to use the federal site if they didn't make their own. Most of those are them federal government haters that decry "big" and "intrusive" federal government, yet continue to suck money out of the feds to make up for their shortcomings in their states economy.... and when they're given the chance to reduce that "intrusiveness," they opt to be lazy bitches and use the feds site.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822883)

AKA Montana. Fucking republicans. Only suck that federal tit when it is for the wealthy but fuck that middle class.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822861)

And let me tell you how great this is. Live in a red state that didn't accept the expansion. Now I get to deal with $120 a month insurance bill, a $5000 deductible before my insurance is worth anything, and a miserable experience all around. Fuck the Republicunts. Your asshole inability to change made insurance worth even less than it was before.

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822887)

Live in a red state that didn't accept the expansion. Now I get to deal with $120 a month insurance bill, a $5000 deductible

If you live in a blue state, your options are pretty much the same. The only difference is that you are also paying more taxes so your state can give $230M to Oracle, so Larry Ellison can afford to buy his own private island [wikipedia.org] . He don't get to be that filthy stinking rich by being frugal with his client's money.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Kalium70 (3437049) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823161)

Actually, your insurance is worth quite a bit even if you never meet your deductible. With insurance, you get the insurance company's negotiated rates, which are much cheaper than the price without insurance. Just looking at some of my bills: lab work that was billed at $343 was knocked down to $79; medical visit billed at $150 was knocked down to $117; medical visit billed at $250 knocked down to $114. Even if the insurance never actually paid for anything, it would be much cheaper to have it than not.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823425)

Have you ever asked your medical providers how much a procedure costs if paid in cash? Usually it looks something like this:

lab work billed to insurance company at $343, cash = $79;
medical visit billed to insurance company at $150, cash = $117;
medical visit billed to insurance company at $250, cash = $114;
etc.

At least for the small/routine stuff: Insurance doesn't save money, the medical providers still charge what the market will bear. They just increase their prices until your copay is equivalent to what you would pay without medical insurance. That's because if they charged more then you wouldn't be willing to use their medical services, and if they charged less they would be leaving money on the table. It is only people who have abnormally good(read: subsidized) insurance or people who use health care more than average who benefit from the system as it is now. Everyone else pays more for less to give those people the cushy ride.

Insurance is great if you have a bunch of assets which aren't exempt from bankruptcy and then you suffer from a disastrous(read: estate destroying) illness. For the people who have no assets to protect from bankruptcy, they are paying a lot of money to sit at a table where they will never see any benefit to themselves. It's hedging risk against a downside potential which only impacts them to the extent that they exaggerate in their minds the actual value of their belongings.

Gambling used to be illegal because it exploited people with inferior understandings of probability. In the case of insurance it's somehow more legitimate because the rules are situationally specific enough to make a suckers bet even less apparent to the average rube with no understanding of economics?

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823845)

Have you ever asked your medical providers how much a procedure costs if paid in cash? Usually it looks something like this:

lab work billed to insurance company at $343, cash = $79;
medical visit billed to insurance company at $150, cash = $117;
medical visit billed to insurance company at $250, cash = $114;
etc.

...

Those are the rates they tell you. They don't tell you the specific reimbursement rates they've negotiated with various insurance companies. "Billed to insurance company" isn't a constant, and it's a big reason why various medical practitioners may not accept a particular insurance - the rates the insurance company reimburses at are too low.

Re: Mistake #1 (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822981)

Better choice #1: Spend $0, and just use the federal site. More than half the states are doing this, and none have regretted it. There is no rational reason for each state to run their own site.

The text of the PPACA and Halbig. That's a pretty big reason

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823447)

Using Oracle is like buying a book from Amazon that has 1.000000 stars after 600 reviews.

And yet it still managed to sell 599 copies after the first 1 start review...

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824143)

Better choice #1: Spend $0, and just use the federal site.

Absolute worst possible choice: Use a contractor with a long and horrible track record of late deliveries and busted budgets.

I find it rather embarrassingly funny in your post those two are like that since the federal site when it was created, chose the absolute worst possible choice: picking contractors with horrible track records of late deliveries and busted budgets (some even being invested for charging the UK government for services it didn't provide)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/techonomy/2013/11/10/the-unhealthy-truth-about-obamacares-contractors/

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47826573)

1) Oregon: "Hey, Kentucky. I'll give you $2 million for a copy of your code".

2) Kentucky: "Deal! With bragging rights, of course."

3) Sue Oracle for a brazillion dollars.

4) Profit!!

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823183)

MongoDB - it's web scale

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824453)

But /dev/null benchmarks faster. If only it supported sharding.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823797)

Here we use PostgreSQL in most applications of the government, and it works pretty well.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822417)

Sounds like you're a 5 figure software engineer using MySQL.

Re:Mistake #1 (2)

thieh (3654731) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822455)

Haven't Oracle bought that too? Use MariaDB instead.

Re:Mistake #1 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822863)

Or use PostgreSQL.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Rhaban (987410) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823585)

Or use PostgreSQL.

+1 Funny

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823855)

> > Or use PostgreSQL.

> +1 Funny

[citation needed]

And oh, BTW: PostgreSQL runs Skype, among other "biggish" applications (OSM?). So performance ain't it.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823983)

> > Or use PostgreSQL.

> +1 Funny

[citation needed]

And oh, BTW: PostgreSQL runs Skype, among other "biggish" applications (OSM?). So performance ain't it.

So, what's Skype using PostgreSQL to do? What are their performance requirements? What are their availability requirements?

Yay. You managed to put "[citation needed]", PostgreSQL, and Skype into one post. Hooray for you.

But you don't know any specifics, you (ironically) can't cite any sources, and your post made you feel better but it turns out it was just empty blather.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823871)

Or use PostgreSQL.

What's that? No active-active clusters? Can't do shared storage between two or more DB instances?

Translation: PostgreSQL doesn't scale.

When you have terabytes or maybe even petabytes of data, replication is NOT a clustering scheme. Sorry, it's not.

PostreSQL is a TOY database. Sorry, it is.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824031)

PostreSQL is a TOY database if you're too lazy to read the (excellent) docs. FTFY.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823017)

MariaDB--MySQL; same shit different brand.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822421)

I agree with half of that. The other half is DBAs who configure it to run like shit so they're paid to babysit it.

Re:Mistake #1 (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822477)

Not "A" but "A team of" 6 figure DBAs

Re:Mistake #1 (3, Insightful)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822793)

Much as I'm not a fan of Bill gates, mistake #1 is not following the rules of automation:

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

-- Bill Gates

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823677)

Using Oracle. Even their flagship DBMS product is a nightmare to configure and try to get decent performance out of - unless one hires a 6-figure DBA to constantly babysit the damn thing.

1 6-figure DBA can get a database up in running in a week - far more cost effective than that offshore team of 20 that constantly crashes it.

And don't forget that this is run by that 7-figure manager that chose the employee based on the color of their shirt.

Re:Mistake #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823891)

Er, um...well then you won't like DB2 either.

normal (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822365)

this is how disputes over large projects between large organizations are almost always handled, nobody takes their ball and goes home just because something is disputed unless one or both organizations have a serious cult of personality issue.

Re:normal (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822529)

this is how disputes over large projects between large organizations are almost always handled, nobody takes their ball and goes home just because something is disputed unless one or both organizations have a serious cult of personality issue.

Right... I think everyone doing business with Oracle is Simultaneously working on a project, negotiating their contract renewal and in legal preceding. That's how Oracle works.

Re:normal (1)

siddesu (698447) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822897)

I believe that's what they mean by "vendor lock-in". It isn't "normal" in the normal meaning of the word, although it is the norm.

contract negotiation via litigation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822383)

probably not the way to build a long term relationship based on trust

Re:contract negotiation via litigation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822817)

For a business, the only thing they should trust is money.

I don't see why this is news. News would be things like a corporation suing itself, which I've seen before. Just because they are not happy with the current state of things, does not mean that Oracle should stop working on it. If Oracle would pay to have a rival company / standard take over the job, then that would be news and interesting.

ok (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822465)

why does it need a court case to define contract terms? It's OOTB or it's something which requires a vendor integrator. Which is it? What does the advertising say? Why did Oregon agree to the contract without reading it first? I'm not going to buy a car until I've taken it round the fucking block, okay?

Re:ok (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822535)

It's a contract dispute as alleged by Oregon: fraud and poor performance. A court trial in this case would be warranted if the parties couldn't work it out amicably. Having dealt with State and Federal contracts I tell you that some of the deliverables stated in contracts leave huge holes. The vendors more often than not can't change them and so eventually you get to a point where either the customer is happy or they withhold payment or sue you because their nebulous requirements weren't met.

Re:ok (3, Insightful)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822565)

it's a shame oracle has never done a state or federal contract before; otherwise, they would know more about how to write a contract and scope of work. I'm sure the next time will go smoother!

Re:ok (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822673)

Oh come on I know your kidding there but sometimes the customer insists on vague specs. It's also mostly about the lowest cost bidder so they probably had a small team in the US, glad-handers and an offshore team doing the actual work. Obviously Oregon isn't happy about it and it's probably clear that Oracle feels they did a great job.

Re:ok (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822843)

it's a good idea for contractor to write a good contract.

Re:ok (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826493)

Contractors usually don't write the contracts, it's usually up to the customer to do that and the contractor to agree to it and amend as necessary. After all it's the customer's requirements, not the contractors that are trying to be met.

Re:ok (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822939)

But Oregon probably had a bunch if certified business analysts [iiba.org] collect and write all the requirements in a water tight manner. If they used certified BA's (maybe they were ITIL certified) the requirements would have been perfectly clear.

But seriously, if Oracle can show that they met the requirements as written, the mess is on Oregon's head. I have seen too many BA's who don't know how to get to the details or how to document requirements properly. Too many bullet pointed excel spreadsheet business requirements out there. I don't have much respect for Oracle at the best of times, but even they can only build what is asked for. And if what is asked for isn't clear, they are supposed to (if they have any integrity) ask for clarification. If the client won't give clarification, they can only build it as best they can.

And at this point, here is where the supposed experience and expertise of Oracle should come into play if all the advertising it produces is worth more than a pile of tried turd: if the requirements are vague and the client can't or won't clarify them, they should have been able to fill in the gaps on their own to make a site that meets the needs of the health insurance seeking online customers. That is why people pay so much for their services, they are supposed to be good and have a depth of experience (or maybe that's offshore hires). But I guess that is what the court case is going to sort out.

Re:ok (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826355)

or maybe Oracle is more shrewd at business than the State of Oregon? I think that's the reality here.

Re:ok (1)

F34nor (321515) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822687)

No Oracle's contract is the fucking bomb, it did not stipulate a working end product. Oregon's attorneys should be paraded through the streets and have rotten fruit thrown at them.

Re:ok (3, Insightful)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822845)

i was shopping for a developer company to make a public website DB thing. I was getting all sort of stupid responses. One firm bragged that they use "waterfall", which means they would sign on to do $X worth of work but would not agree to deliverables because it's fluid and agile. is this what the industry's like? lactarded.

Re:ok (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826423)

i was shopping for a developer company to make a public website DB thing. I was getting all sort of stupid responses. One firm bragged that they use "waterfall", which means they would sign on to do $X worth of work but would not agree to deliverables because it's fluid and agile. is this what the industry's like? lactarded.

On the other hand, I know many companies that have had huge losses on fixed bid projects because a seemingly innocent scope turned out to be a bear trap or because there's no customer incentive to ensure progress, help with clarification, dispute unspecified things such as looks or button texts or tooltips or whatever and in general avoid the most absurd and time-consuming interpretation of the requirements, not to mention all the time spent arguing over them. To compare it to the construction industry it's the difference between having a building blueprint and a few sketches to show roughly the kind of house you'd like. And then expect a fixed bid on it.

I strongly preferred time and material contracts over fixed bid projects when I was a consultant and I think my clients were generally happier about it too, basically if they figured "Hey, that's a good idea" or "Hey, I know I said X but now that I see it we should have done Y" they don't have to make a long change order process with typically inflated estimates and prices, they decide what I spend my time on but the flip side is that they only thing they can say is that they're not happy with my work and cancel my contract, there's no fixed deliverable.

I guess it's a lot harder with a big project where you can't just bail in the middle or expect someone else to take over. Besides, the government is generally not allowed to be subjective. In the private sector, if Oracle treats you like shit you can just make an executive decision to f*ck off. In the public sector you can't refuse Oracle on the next contract just because they were dicks on the last contract, you have to go with the criteria and follow the process that is to ensure your tax money isn't just funneled to their favorite partner. That's also why they can afford to be so abusive, they know this is hardly the end of government contracts in Oregon for Oracle.

Re:ok (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826025)

True story - I once worked for a place that was going to bid on a State Government contract. The requirements had been gathered and I was asked to put together an estimate of effort. So I did and the bid was put forth - at exactly half the amount of time I had estimated it would take. The company won the bid and proceeded to lose their shirt on the implementation.

Unfortunately this sort of crap happens all the time in large scale software projects. The salespeople will tell you that if you don't put in the lowest bid you won't win the contract. The hope is to win the contract and then hit them up for a change order part of the way through when you basically have them by the short hairs.

Meanwhile, the salespeople collect their commissions up front regardless of whether the project makes money or not. That - in my view - is the problem. if commissions were based at least in part on profitability you might see a lot less of this nonsense.

Trust me, all the big players operate like this.

Re:ok (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822649)

I should really look at what other states have done and how they've come out of it, from what I hear though (ie pretty much nothing) they've done OK. They've also not done business with Oracle.

Re:ok (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826581)

It could probably be safe to assume that other states have much better legal teams and requirements people.

Re:ok (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822559)

'm not going to marry a girl until I've taken her round the fucking block, okay?

What the fuck? (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about a month and a half ago | (#47822553)

How in the fuck is someone going to fix their site without the help of the guilty party?

Option 1: Delete all, start over
Option 2: Oracle fixes whatever went wrong in the other states

One option is really obvious, the other is expensive. We should all shit down Chris Kanaracus's neck for this.

Re:What the fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47823451)

One option is really obvious, the other is expensive.

True, but I hope you have it in the right order. Option 1 is obvious, while Option 2 is expensive.

Re:What the fuck? (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824495)

If you look it up. They hired Deloitte to come in to assess the situation. Deloitte delivered a dozen of these sites successfully.

They are opting for option 3 which is use the federal site.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/or... [cbsnews.com]

As a former Oracle Employee... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47822811)

A lot of folks sue Oracle.

When you charge a lot of money then over-promise and under-deliver, it's inevitable.

Oracle’s Oregon Website Failure .. (2)

lippydude (3635849) | about a month and a half ago | (#47823029)

Oracle wouldn’t be my first choice but it sounds like they put it up for a bidding process and when everyone saw how complicated the project was, Oracle’s the only one that hung in there.”

It’s hard to judge the quality from the outside, but if you look at their front end website, there are a lot of things they didn’t do. When you look at their technology practices, even the ones we can see from the outside, it’s obvious they didn’t put their ‘A’ team on this. So, yeah, I do think that Oracle didn’t do a good job and they probably shouldn’t have taken it in the first place, because they’ve taken on something it would be impossible to do a good job on.” ref [fossforce.com]

You made two mistakes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824279)

1. You hired Oracle.
2. You hired Oracle.

Just Give It Up (1)

andywest (1722392) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824291)

Trusting in Oracle (or any other company of that kind) is your first mistake. When you realize that mistake, you sue Oracle. [slashdot.org] Well and good. Now you want to salvage the mess that Oracle made, and you need their help? That is even more foolish. Why should Oracle help you now? Just give it up already, swallow the cost (and the pride) you already paid, and go on the Federal site.

Failure in management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47824341)

I may work in an organization that:

1) Uses Oracle.

2) Hires a big consulting firm to tell them how to save money.

There isn't a lot of respect for management in the trenches.

Wrong company for the Job (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | about a month and a half ago | (#47824553)

For some reason companies and individuals believe they can just jump right into ACA and develop a website that can meet all the requirements. That is not the case what so ever. Integrated Eligibility systems have been around for 2 decades, and there are teams that specialize in them. Just because it is a website, doesn't mean it is easy. You have historical legation that you must understand, then you have state specific customization on gray areas of the law.

These systems can range from 500k to 6 million lines of code. For a company to come in and produce the average, 3 million lines of code, within a year, including the entire SDLC process is insane. But that is what ACA was. The federal system had 3 years, but some of the states started late and only had 1 year from start to finish.

Summary: ACA was high risk, if you didn't know what you were doing.

Why did they go proprietary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47825063)

Of course you'll be stuck holding the bag, they have you in a very unenviable position!

It's easier to hand out free everything (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826227)

And just forgo the messiness of charging filthy lucre for anything at all. In Oregon you should be able to walk into any hospital or doctor's office and get whatever you need, instantly for no charge, Just double or triple everyone's taxes to pay for it. What's the big deal.

Johnny Taxhaber..... (1)

scrout (814004) | about a month and a half ago | (#47826361)

Of course our reelected governor Kitzhaber was an emergency room doc in an earlier life, so thinks he knows medicine. Unfortunately that did not translate to government or anything more technical than a Simon game. These types of government contracts are written specifically so there can be no real responsibility attached, and this is really an exclusive government problem. Do you think Intel and Nike in Oregon write contracts without performance clauses and penalties? These contracts are designed this way so they can be abused. But hey, we deserve Johnny K. When he first became governor in 1995 our state budget was $10 billion. Now it is over $30 billion a year for 3.8 million of us plebes. Additionally, if you work (using this word loosely) for the state, city, county and are due to retire before 2026 with 30 years in, as of today you will receive 110% of your base pay in retirement, forever. Oregon is a wonderful place, we just have a severe lack of people pulling the wagon versus in the wagon.
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