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Oracle SQL: the Essential Reference by David C. Kreines

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The Commercial Development of SQL through the 1980s

In 1977, Larry Ellison and two others founded what became Relational Software Incorporated (RSI) with the expressed purpose of bringing to market the world's first commercial relational database management system. They were inspired by Codd's 1970 paper describing the relational model and the 1974 paper describing SQL, and they decided to develop from scratch a commercial product that was as compatible as possible with the prototype being developed at IBM's research facilities. Ellison's vision was to implement a SQL system on small minicomputers, and he correctly anticipated that in addition to the novelty of a relational database, IBM compatibility would be attractive to the market. Indeed, so complete was their commitment to strict compatibility with System R that Larry Ellison himself called Don Chamberlin at IBM to request the error numbers that the system used. Early demonstrations of ORACLE often included the "underpaid managers" query used to illustrate the power of the IBM System R prototype. ORACLE was small in size and lean in resource requirements compared to System R, which ran on large, water-cooled mainframe computers.

In 1979, RSI released the first commercially available relational database, ORACLE. The name ORACLE was taken from a project Ellison and his colleagues had worked on for the U.S. Government. Version 1 of ORACLE was an internal prototype, so the first commercial release was ORACLE Version 2. The ...

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