Sunday Oct 07, 2012

When will EBS 12.2 be released?

[Sep. 20, 2013 Update:  EBS 12.2 is now available for download.  See this article for details.]

The most frequently asked question at OpenWorld this year was, "When will EBS 12.2 be released?"

Sadly, Oracle's communication policies prohibit us from speculating about release dates for unreleased software. We are not permitted to give estimates, rough timelines, guesses, or anything else that remotely resembles specific guidance on release dates.

You can monitor My Oracle Support and this blog for updates on EBS 12.2.  I'll post them here as soon as they're available. 

I'm embedding an old favourite from 2007 in its entirety here, since it applies equally to new releases as well as certifications.

"Loose Lips Sink Ships" (March 20, 2007)

If I were to sort emails in my inbox into groups, the biggest -- by far -- would be the one for emails that start with, "When will _____ be certified with the E-Business Suite?"  I answer these dutifully but know that my replies can sometimes be maddening, for two reasons:  technical uncertainty, and Oracle's rules for such communications.

On the Spiral Model of Certifications

Technology stack certifications tend to be highly iterative in nature.  As a result, statements about certification dates tend to be accurate only when made in hindsight.  Laypeople are horrified to hear this, but it's the ugly truth.  Uncertainty is simply inherent to the process.  I've become inured to it over the years, but it might come as a surprise to you that it can take many cycles to get fully-released software to work together. 

Take this scenario:
  1. We test a particular combination of Component A and B.
  2. If we encounter a problem, say, with Component A, we log a bug.
  3. We receive a new version of Component A.
  4. The process iterates again.
The reality is this: until a certification is completed and released, there's no accurate way of telling how many iterations are yet to come.  This is true regardless of the number of iterations that have already been completed

Our Lips Are Sealed

Generally, people understand that things are subject to change, so the second reason I can't say anything specific is actually much more important than the first.  "Loose lips might sink ships" was coined in World War II in an effort to remind people that careless talk can have serious consequences.  Curiously, this applies to Oracle's communications about upcoming features, configurations, and releases, too.  As a publicly traded company, we have very strict policies that prohibit us from linking specific releases to specific dates. 

If you've ever listened to an earnings call with analysts, you'll often hear them asking, "Can you add a little more color to that statement?"  For certifications, color is usually the only thing that I have.  Sometimes I can provide a bit more information about the technical nature of the certification in question, such as expected footprints or version levels.  I can occasionally share technical issues that we've found, too, to convey the degree of risk or complexity involved in the certification. 

Aside from that, there's little additional information about specific dates, date ranges, or even speculation about dates that I can provide... that is, without having one of those uncomfortable conversations with Oracle Legal.  So, as much as it pains me to do so, when it comes to dates, I'm always forced to conclude with a generic reply that blandly states one of the following:
  • We're working on that certification right now
  • That certification is in the pipeline but hasn't been started yet
  • We don't have plans for that certification

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Thankfully, I've developed a thick skin over the years -- which is a good thing, considering the colorful and energetic responses I've received over the years after answering these questions.  However, on behalf of my Oracle colleagues who are faced with these questions every day in the field, I urge you to remember that they're required to follow these same corporate rules about date disclosures.  It never hurts to ask, but don't be too disappointed if we can't provide you with a detailed answer.  The Go-Go's had it right, after all. 

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