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Why does sdesetupora8i not fail when it fails to read the dbtune.sde file?
If the dbtune.sde file contains bogus parameters, the dbtune import function will fail, reject the entire dbtune file, and leave the dbtune table empty.
If this error occurs, the sdesetupora8i command fails to detect it and continues,
until it attempts to create the first gdb table. This operation fails because the DATA_DICTIONARY keyword does not exist in the dbtune table.
This problem is addressed in ArcGIS 8.1 Service Pack 1. See the Related Information section to download this pack.