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Oracle shelves Sedona tool

At least one skeleton in Oracle's closet, the long-promised Sedona next-generation developers' toolset, will remain there until further notice.

REDWOOD SHORES, California--The only product to receive more hype from the Oracle (ORCL) spin machine than the Network Computer or Oracle 8 has been the company's long-promised next generation development toolset, code-named Sedona.

But today, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Sedona is on ice until further notice, the victim of infighting in the company's development tool division.

Sedona, which has been in the hands of Oracle customers for many months in a pre-release version, was expected to ship next month after the debut of the company's new database server, Oracle 8.

Sedona was to include an object repository and the ability to generate object-oriented applications. Those features were designed to go hand in hand with the release of Oracle 8, which includes object support.

Product managers have described Sedona as the company's next-generation tool, and an eventual replacement for Developer 2000, the company's existing forms-based toolset.

Now, Ellison said the tool, "might ship in 6 months, 18 months...we don't know. It's a work in progress."

Ellison elaborated by saying, "It makes no sense to ship a next-generation application development environment until the internal groups are ready [to support it]. I decided not to release a product that does not have the full support of our development group."

The development group Ellison referred to is responsible for development of the existing Developer 2000 toolset.

He said the company's internal divisions charged with developing Oracle's various toolsets "are not working together, and they have to work together or the product will never ship. The Sedona team sent a version of Sedona to the application development team and there was some disputing. I took the stand that we will not release a tool that the application development team will not support."

Ellison said Sedona "is primarily Basic. We don't have Java built into Sedona. It would be silly for us, silly for us to release a tool that competes with our mainstream toolset [Developer 2000].

"We won't ship it, ever, unless we get the active engagement of the application development team," he said.

Analysts speculate that the tool may never see the light of day, since Oracle has also reassigned Joe Duncan, who was in charge of Sedona development, to head up work on the company's InterOffice messaging application.

"Sounds like the product is dead to me," said Mitch Kramer, an analyst with the Patricia Seybold Group.

The decision to put the brakes on Sedona may also have repercussions for another Oracle tool, Oracle Power Objects, which was originally intended to compete with Microsoft Visual Basic. Ellison said Sedona did not fit with existing Oracle tools, and added, "we have a great little tool called Power Objects that's off in the periphery...of our product line."

Analysts have in the past questioned the wisdom of Oracle shipping a Visual Basic clone. While many developers have either downloaded or requested a trial version of Power Objects, few use it for actual development, analysts said.