What’s a good way to learn some Oracle internals every day?

Sometimes when an attendee describes me some totally weird problem during a seminar, I am immediately able to answer something like “Hey this looks like a bug related to this Oracle configuration and can be influenced by xyz”.

And then people ask me “How the hell do you know all this stuff?”

Well, I haven’t been bitten by all of these bugs myself, but I have been doing something for many years, almost every day… reading my email!

Oh, and additionally I have configured Metalink to send me daily updates about new/updated notes, forum articles and… bug descriptions!

The last part is very important. Bug descriptions tell you something about new bugs found (and old bugs rediscovered) and sometimes their details tell you an interesting piece or two about Oracle internals related to them.

And if these descriptions come to your mailbox every day, you catch a detail or two every day. Of course this assumes you are interested enough learning this stuff and take the time to actually open and read the bug descriptions you see interesting enough.

And if you do this for months or years, you will slowly start putting all these details together in your brain (without even noticing it yourself). Things will start to make sense to you over time, thanks to learning a little detail here and there every day. That way you also learn from other people’s experiences and when this bug (or something similar) happens to you, you can recognize it more easily.

I’m not saying here that all you need to do is read Metalink, but keeping an eye of the current bugs + their internal explanations by support people provides icing on the cake. Note that the bug descriptions often contain interesting information which you don’t see documented elsewhere, such some function names and their meanings, undocumented x$ table information and of course new undocumented parameters (which I don’t set anywhere, but do further research on).

I’ve had the habit of reading the bug descriptions for so much time so I haven’t even remembered to mention this to anyone if people ask where to learn internals. But Dominic Brooks and Coskan Gundogar have recently written about this so I thought I should share this with my blog audience too!

You can configure this by going to Settings page in Metalink and configuring the “Headlines/Hot topics via E-Mail” setting. The relevant MOS Note (actually a videa) is this one: Use My Oracle Support Hot Topics Email to subscribe to Support Product News, SRs, Bugs, etc. and events so that you Never Miss an Important Update – [VIDEO] (Doc ID 793436.1) (MOS login needed).

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11 Responses to What’s a good way to learn some Oracle internals every day?

  1. Carol D says:

    Great idea, Tanel! I have often picked up tips that way but never thought to have those emailed to me! Thanks!

  2. Prem says:

    thanks for that tip … Tanel.
    Never thought “bug descriptions”
    is a place to learn internals.

  3. coskan says:


    Do you still get the mails after MOS?

    I start not to get them

  4. coskan says:

    I think I found it. I needed to re-configure my settings form
    top navigation>more>settings>hot topics email

    it lets you focus on spesific products as well.

    Did not get an email yet:)

  5. Jared says:

    I haven’t yet figured out how to do this with MOS – I did get these emails prior to the ‘upgrade’.

    A bit of serendipity – I added the bugs section to my MOS homepage, clicked on a bug.

    The bug (6966721) turned out to be one I opened an SR for 1+ years ago.

    Support could never duplicate it – I could duplicate it with regularity.

  6. Jared says:

    Found it – MOS can send emails as MetaLink did, you need to go to settings and configure Hot Topics Email.

  7. Tropos says:

    with MOS, it does not work for me anymore. Here’s a picture of my settings:
    Any idea?

  8. Tanel Poder says:

    Hmm, it should work like that… I assume that the email address is correct there and metalink mails are not filtered out by spam filter.

    I think you might need to raise a support request asking for this…

  9. Tropos says:

    I was just told by oracle support that this is a bug. It will be fixed later :)

  10. Hi Tanel,

    Thanks for this tip.


  11. Sokrates says:

    I never succeeded to get Emails
    filed a Service Request on this on Jan 13, 2010
    SR Number 3-1311080861
    they told me on Jan 26th it would be a known issue being adressed to Development
    On June 7th they told me the issue had been fixed.
    I still do not get hot topics Emails …

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