Oracle head Larry Ellison isn't brash or outspoken. At least according to the company's president Safra Catz.

Speaking at the 2004 SIAA Enterprise Software Summit, Catz bemoaned this misperception and that of the company in general. The public seems to view the software vendor as a bit annoying, she revealed. And she finds that a bit disappointing.

"Sometimes we're that annoying kid saying: 'The emperor is naked, this is not right'," she said. "You get a public perception that you're kind of whacky or annoying." She went on: "Most frustrating is the perception of our chief executive," adding that perception and reality do not match. Ellison, she explained, is often seen as brash and outspoken.

The implication would appear to be that he is not. Which is especially odd considering his personality, behaviour and general approach to life that Larry has demonstrated so ably for the past decade.

Mr Ellison is still calling the shots at the company, Catz again revealed to a hushed audience. "I actually view that my job is to promote our chief executive's vision and agenda for the company," Catz said. Oracle, she said, has thrived while others faded because of its willingness to take risks and change. The company even has canceled products in development for four years because of changes in the industry, Catz said, citing the switch from client-server to Internet computing as an example. "We actually view it that not changing can actually be riskier or fatal," she said.

We think that Ms Catz has a very valid point here. It can be terrible when people's perceptions get caught up in a historic hole. So we asked about and have the following new descriptions for the company and its charming head Larry Ellison:

Oracle: Second-best; vengeance-crazed, high-flying
Larry Ellison: Gives egomania a bad name; barking; probably Tarantino-inspired [Kill Bill]

We hope that smoothes things out.