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Some Oracle Users Irked About Support Site Switch

Oracle is planning to retire its MetaLink support portal in favor of its successor, My Oracle Support, and some customers are not happy about it.

Their reasons range from a distaste for new social-networking features to allegedly slow performance due to the portal's heavy use of Flash.

"My Oracle Support, the page everybody is waiting for. Well, waiting for it to load I mean. Clearly it must be a joke to have people stare at a screen with the text 'faster problem resolution' for half a minute," user "Rene W." said in a post to an official Oracle forum last week. "I'm sorry I've really tried but just can't like anything about it. It's slow, it's messy. Hope it will go away."

My Oracle Support combines the original MetaLink portal with Oracle's Software Configuration Manager. Information about a customer's IT environment can be connected with Oracle's knowledge base of problem resolutions, thereby helping customers proactively fix system issues. My Oracle Support users get personalized dashboards, and the portal also has a layer of social software, such as RSS feeds, communities and a people-finder.

Upon pointing their browsers to metalink.oracle.com, users have been able to log in to either "Classic MetaLink" or My Oracle Support, which Oracle first unveiled last year.

But users should now prepare for the retirement of Classic MetaLink, according to a blog post from Chris Warticki, senior customer support manager. It is not clear exactly when that will take place; as of Monday afternoon, the site still offered a choice of logins.

But it seems some Oracle users prize simplicity over Web 2.0 bling.

"Metalink Classic is for Developers and DBAs," said poster "2889" in a recent post to the Oracle forum. "[The] new Metalink, Twitter, Facebook is for the rest. Somehow marketing invaded MetaLink."

The portal's Flash-heavy interface is drawing particular scorn, with one user saying its "movie-like screen graphics" are "slow and annoying."

Poster "Paul M." also decried the new UI. "We don't need special effects, special effects are for games. And we don't even need graphics, we just need functionality, intuitiveness and speed," he wrote.

"I am not 12 years old or in upper management and subsequently I not impressed by sliding windows and glossy borders," wrote user "Fuzzypig," a self-described "geek techie."

In addition, more than one user pointed to a logistical problem with the Flash interface -- namely, that some companies forbid or restrict the installation of Flash on desktops.

An Oracle spokeswoman could not immediately say whether Oracle may consider reviving Classic MetaLink, or respond to the allegations about performance problems.

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