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Upward compatibility issue

I inherited support of a Web application, and one of the users posed the following: "We are using a CLOB data type in one of our tables. For our machines running Oracle client v8.0.5, we can access the CLOB column in all our environments. For our machines with Oracle client v8.1.7, we can only access production, which is also at Oracle8. Our development and test db instances are at 9i. My understanding is with Oracle v8.1.5, a change was made where the client and server need to be at the same version of Oracle to view LOB data types. If we were running Oracle9i client, would we be able to view the 9i data? If we did update to Oracle client 9i, then would we be able to view production db at Oracle v8i?"

My response to being able to view 9i data using 9i client would be yes, since the versions would be the same. Is this the correct response?
The fact that Oracle 8.1.7 client can only access the production database is because production has an Oracle8 server. It cannot see development and test db because the databases are run on Oracle9i. This is an upward compatibility issue and nothing to do with running the same version. If the client was Oracle9i, then it would access Oracle8 server as well as Oracle9i.

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