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I cannot reproduce this:
SQL*Plus: Release 220.127.116.11.0 Production on Fri Feb 3 10:34:38 2012
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Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 18.104.22.168.0 - Production
With the Partitioning option
SQL> select rpad('Hello World', 5) Hdr from dual;
If you don't have the latest patchlevel installed , it may be a bug in an earlier version.
Edited by: oradba on 03.02.2012 10:44
I installed 22.214.171.124.0 and the problem still exists.
I'm not sure what to try next. Maybe I can write a simple OCI program that prints out what Oracle thinks the column widths coming back from the server are. If the widths are good, that would indicate a bug in sqlplus.
Any other suggestions? A colleague says we should install an 11gR1 client on our development server and use that for running sqlplus, but that's not how we'll be deploying and we'd like to be able to use our existing code as-is in production.
I also just ran into this problem, and it is quite annoying.
This might help with the problem: Note 330717.1 Output widths change after upgrade.
It seems that you might have upgraded to the AL32UTF8 character set from an 8-bit character set. Check your NLS_CHARACTERSET setting:
select * from SYS.NLS_DATABASE_PARAMETERS where parameter = 'NLS_CHARACTERSET';
But this doesn't answer the burning question - Is there a way to force column widths to be handled the way they used to be (without needing to explicitly define a format for each column)?