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Why Oracle Can't Easily Kill PostgreSQL 279

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-will-rise-from-the-dead-to-feast-upon-the-living dept.
ruphus13 writes "Claiming that 'PostgreSQL is a FOSS alternative to MySQL and hence Oracle should be allowed to pursue MySQL' is a specious argument, according to Monty Widenius. He fears that Oracle, or someone else, can easily squash PostgreSQL by just 'buying out' the top 20 developers. The Postgre community has fired back, calling that claim ridiculous. According to the article, 'PostgreSQL as a project is pretty healthy, and shows how vulnerable projects like MySQL are to the winds of change. PostgreSQL could die tomorrow, if a huge group of its contributors dropped out for one reason or another and the remainder of the community didn't take up the slack. But that's exceedingly unlikely. The existing model for PostgreSQL development ensures that no single entity can control it, it can't be purchased, and if someone decides to fork the project, the odds are that the remaining community would be strong enough to continue without a serious glitch.'"
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Why Oracle Can't Easily Kill PostgreSQL

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  • And if postgresql fails there is still firebird, and all the other open source database that kick ass but are less known than mysql and postgresql.

    • Re:Firebird (Score:5, Informative)

      by gmack (197796) <gmack@innerfire . n et> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#30707438) Homepage Journal

      You forgot SQLite. It's small and good enough for most of what MySQL gets used for: simple web forms, stat counters etc.

      • by toby (759) * on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:46PM (#30707904) Homepage Journal

        It's not a multiuser database.

        A web site is a classic multiuser scenario for an RDBMS; you have to have concurrency issues completely nailed down (ideally with row level locking and ACID).

        It's also MySQL's sweet spot.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:31PM (#30708600) Journal

          SQLite is not a multi-user database, but a web app is a single user. It does support arbitrary numbers of concurrent reads and in relatively recent versions supports concurrent writes, although the locking is not quite row granularity. Most web apps are very read-heavy, and this is where SQLite shines. Consider something like Slashdot. Loading this page required me to read over a hundred comments from the db. Each of the times I expand a hidden comment, an AJAX request handler performs another db read. I only need to write to the db when I post something (well, there may be some logging stuff, but I'm still reading a lot more than I'm writing).

          For a lot of web sites, concurrent read speed is the bottleneck, and SQLite performs better than MySQL for concurrent reads by quite a large margin.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by greg1104 (461138)

          you have to have concurrency issues completely nailed down (ideally with row level locking and ACID).

          Even row-level locking ends up being a scalability issue eventually. This is why PostgreSQL uses MVCC [postgresql.org] for transaction isolation by default instead, which is one of the reasons it can scale upward well for some types of workloads.

    • Re:Firebird (Score:4, Insightful)

      by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:40PM (#30707862) Homepage Journal

      He's just pushing a straw-man argument, having unwisely made it for MySQL, and after embaressingly being caught twisting RMS's words (see groklaw, http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20100108114314405 [groklaw.net]).

      I fear he's strictly in this for himself and his friends, a certain well-know monopolist with a "Codeplex" Foundation...

      Bother! I wanted this to be over months ago, so I could get more consulting from Sun's (Now Oracle's) customers.

      --dave

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:25AM (#30707082)

    You got your money and now you want MySQL (or at least the spotlight) back.

    By your argument, PostgreSQL is fragile because the top 20 developers could be bought out by Oracle. If you think that's a buyout target that can be easily squashed, just think what a SQL DB with only one copyright owner can be? Oh wait, that was MySQL and we already know what you did....

    • by mangu (126918) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:41AM (#30707526)

      PostgreSQL is fragile because the top 20 developers could be bought out by Oracle

      His argument is "I was bought, therefore anybody else can be bought".

      If Oracle is willing to buy 20 developers at $1 billion each, then he may be right.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:56AM (#30707590) Journal
        Well, it was $1bn for the company, not just $1bn for Monty. $1bn for Postgres would be $50m for the 20 developers. Still quite a lot. Of course, there is a big problem here. Because Postgres would still be BSD licensed, there's nothing stopping these developers from giving $1m of this to pay for someone else to work full time on the project...
        • by turbidostato (878842) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @03:23PM (#30708960)

          "there's nothing stopping these developers from giving $1m of this to pay for someone else to work full time on the project..."

          Except the non-competing clause in their contracts, of course.

          And of course too, Widenius has a point, a moot point but a point: buying out everyone that happens to compete with you is a tried and true strategy to get away competitors. It's only it is not a long time strategy against a strong and open market, it doesn't scale and it happens that open source projects with an open community backing them up (say, KDE, Debian... PostgreSQL) are the most resistant against such strategy.

          So yes, Monty has a point... whatever.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Migala77 (1179151)

        His argument is "I was bought, therefore anybody else can be bought".

        If Oracle is willing to buy 20 developers at $1 billion each, then he may be right.

        That would only lead to 20 million developers starting to learn the PostgreSQL code base, hoping to get a billion dollars as well. Developers can be replaced (not easily, but they can be).

        Sun bought MySQL (and Oracle Sun) for the control, via the assigned copyright, of the sourcecode, and of the support structure. MySQL the company has always done everything it can to keep control over the MySQL product, making the GPL license just a part of a distribution model. A lot needs to be rebuild in organizing the

      • For $1 billion I'll become a PostgreSQL developer and then agree to stop developing for it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by unix_geek_512 (810627)

        Ladies and Gents please stop unfairly attacking Widenius, as TheRaven64 already mentioned, he absolutely positively did not get $1 billion for mysql he got about $16.6 million in 2008 which is nowhere near $1 billion. [ source wikipedia with 2 other sources providing confirmation ]

        The whole company was bought for $1 billion and a very small portion, reportedly about 12% or less of that went to Widenius and the other mysql founder.

        And keep in mind transactions like this are rarely done in cash and there are

        • Ah, and different stock option scheme when it is sold within 4 years...

          I see I see

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by koiransuklaa (1502579)

          None of your points are relevant...

          Of course Monty doesn't have the money to buy MySQL. It doesn't change the fact that he stayed completely silent on this until he got his millions. Maybe he only understood the problems of Oracle ownership then?

          If Oracle has patents they can use to kill MySQL, why on earth did they need to buy it first, and how would the situation improve if they were forced to sell it? That is an absurd idea.

          Of course monopoly is not good for the public. However, there is no monopoly here

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ThePhilips (752041)

            Of course Monty doesn't have the money to buy MySQL. It doesn't change the fact that he stayed completely silent on this until he got his millions. Maybe he only understood the problems of Oracle ownership then?

            He understood the problem long before. And he made an agreement with first investors (long before Sun deal) that MySQL, if sold, would be sold to a company which has more reasons to continue MySQL development than reasons to kill it. That's why Sun deal hadn't provoked his attention (and at the time he was only a member of MySQL board, not employed by MysQL AB anymore).

            After ownership of MySQL went to Sun, obviously the investors changed too. Initial investors understood the value of MySQL and to whom i

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:42AM (#30707530)

      ...PostgreSQL is fragile because the top 20 developers could be bought out by Oracle...

      Sort of like how Monty's been trying to buy all the top MySQL devs away from Sun...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I agree, In my opinion the guy is a jackass. I'm half tempted to quit using MySQL myself purely because it originated from him.
    • by BigGerman (541312)
      I think his statement is sort of Freudian admission that Oracle already did the same to MySQL (acting via Sun as proxy)
    • by jadavis (473492)

      By your argument, PostgreSQL is fragile because the top 20 developers could be bought out by Oracle.

      One thing about PostgreSQL is that the leadership have developed a lot of policies, standards, traditions, practices, style, tools, and other organized structures. In the recent past this has been much more conscious -- for instance the commit-fests are a great way for new developers to join in by submitting patches and reviewing others' patches.

      This makes it easier for newer developers and leaders to step up

  • Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enry (630) <enry AT wayga DOT net> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:28AM (#30707096) Journal

    While buying out the top 20 developers (and I find it unlikely they could in the first place) wouldn't necessarily kill PostgreSQL, it would hamper development until the next 20 developers get up to speed with the code. Imagine what would happen if Microsoft were to buy out the top 20 Linux kernel developers - Linux wouldn't be dead, but it certainly would be stagnant for a while. There's also the real possibility of major changes, since the next group of developers would have a different way of doing things and different goals for the project.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbwiv (266761)
      Um....there's over 70 committers to PostgreSQL. And even the top 20 work for a wide range of companies. Buying them out would be virtually impossible. PostgreSQL is an open source database done right, both technically and politically. You MySQL apologists simply refuse to acknowledge that you hitched your wagon to the wrong horse, even when your horse may be put down soon.
      • Re:Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dfetter (2035) <david@fetter.org> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:57AM (#30707282) Homepage Journal

        If somebody were willing to come up with a billion dollars in cash, they could buy the top 100 people in the PostgreSQL project, and that would cramp it severely for a couple of years.

        That said, Monty took VC money, which is basically legalized loan sharking. Taking VC money results, in the overwhelming majority of cases, in the complete screwing of the borrower. Monty was one of the lucky few who managed to get a fortune out of that situation, which makes his whining utterly unseemly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ultranova (717540)

          If somebody were willing to come up with a billion dollars in cash, they could buy the top 100 people in the PostgreSQL project, and that would cramp it severely for a couple of years.

          If someone is willing to use a billion dollars in cash just to slow the development of a database program, they're unlikely to have a billion dollars to begin with.

      • Re:Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:05AM (#30707308) Homepage

        Um....there's over 70 committers to PostgreSQL. And even the top 20 work for a wide range of companies. Buying them out would be virtually impossible.

        And the whole concept seems to assume that there's a fixed pool of people. I'm guessing that if any of those companies lost their PostgreSQL guy, they'd be looking to hire another one and if it's anything like most open source software there's plenty unpaid or poorly paid people who'd love to take the position. Or with 10% unemployment, there would be soon enough if people knew they lacked developers. For that matter, I think it'd be hard to bury MySQL if just the entire community gathered on one fork and not a dozen.

    • Re:Err... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#30707436) Journal

      Sun spent $1bn on MySQL. Spending the same amount of money on PostgreSQL would involve paying the top 20 developers $50m each not to work on PostgreSQL anymore (or to work on a proprietary fork of it). If I were offered that much not to work on a particular open source project, then I'd consider it quite seriously. For one thing I could pay someone else to work on the project full time while I did other things...

      The argument doesn't really make sense, because Oracle is vulnerable to the same tactic. What would happen if IBM offered even $1m to each of Oracle's top database programmers to quit? Would Oracle be able to survive? They'd have to hire a completely new team, but they'd probably manage it. The same is true of PostgreSQL (and other big hippyware projects). Most of the people who work on it are employed by companies which benefit from the project existing. If they all quit then these companies would hire other people to replace them. You'd see a little drop in productivity, but nothing permanent.

      • In regards to IBM pulling the same against Oracle you forget one of the biggest reasons against it. Federal Action and Lawsuits. This would fall squarely under Anti-Competitive actions, thus the Feds (DOJ/Regulators) would all jump in and Oracle would have a Damn near ironclad suit against IBM for Lots more then 100M dollars. Even though the Nazgul would be out in droves, they still couldn't keep the ring bearer away from Mount Doom as the Armies of the 7 lands would be fighting them at the same time.

      • Re:Err... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jadavis (473492) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @02:53PM (#30708752)

        The argument doesn't really make sense, because Oracle is vulnerable to the same tactic. What would happen if IBM offered even $1m to each of Oracle's top database programmers to quit?

        That would cause a problem for any organization, of course. But both Oracle and PostgreSQL have established policies and lots of historical precedent that guide new developers and project leaders while they are getting up to speed and filling empty roles. For instance, what happens when a significant patch hits the pgsql-hackers list that implements a new feature? Discussion begins, and then it goes on a public commit-fest page (http://commitfest.postgresql.org). When the commitfest begins, everyone stops work on their own patches, reviewers get assigned to patches, and after it passes review then a committer reviews it again and potentially commits it.

        With policies like that in place, as a few developers are hired away it's much easier for new developers to take their place. You don't get lopsided efforts. How does postgresql find enough reviewers? Reviewing is that much fun? No. If you don't review at commit fest time, then your patch is either ignored or at the back of the line.

        What happens when a patch hits the mysql list from a random contributor? Well, we don't really know, because MySQL isn't really a community project. They only know how to get patches committed and releases out the door from within MySQL AB (and that could obviously be questioned as well, seeing how long they went without a release, and the problems that happened when they did release, like Monty saying it wasn't ready).

        It's much easier to cause major damage to a disorganized project like MySQL.

        I believe MariaDB and Drizzle are both attempting to establish a real community project (notice I didn't say "re-establish"). I hope they succeed for the sake of MySQL users. But new users would be wise to count on a real organization like the PostgreSQL Global Development Group and it's established policies (or Oracle, for that matter).

    • PostgreSQL just works fine. Probably PostgreSQL does not need so many developer.

  • Stop quoting Monty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:28AM (#30707098)

    Please stop quoting Monty in slashdot stories, you're giving him a bigger platform for his comments than he deserves. He sold MySQL to Sun and then left Sun. That should be the end of the story. Now he's making sounds like a regular cry baby. Someone please tell him to get some balls and grow up.

    • This guy speaks the truth. Please, no more stories about the cry baby.
    • Wrong (Score:2, Informative)

      by microbox (704317)
      He sold MySQL to Sun and then left Sun.

      That is factually inaccurate. He was informed that the sale had taken place once it was done. The mistake Monty made was to sell MySQL to shareholders years ago. It probably wasn't a mistake either, although there should have been a clause in the shareholder agreement about the resale of MySQL.
      • Whatever! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Whatever!

        The point is received gobs of money and now he's whining like a toddler. I think everybody's fucking sick of it by now.

        If he signed a bad deal, THAT IS HIS FAULT AND HE SHOULD FUCKING COPE WITH IT LIKE AN ADULT! And stop spamming up this, and other, forums with his bullshit whining.

  • webmaster, publisher, community leader, administrator.

    if anything 'bad' happens to mysql, heads will roll.

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:44AM (#30707184)

      if anything 'bad' happens to mysql, heads will roll.

      Probably yours...

      Widenius is only using scare tactics to try to get MySQL back after enjoying the profits from selling it in the first place.

      His constant whining will morph into a cautionary tale about using open source programs in a production environment.

      Phrases like "You don't get fired for buying from Oracle, Microsoft, or IBM" will return to the IT workplace and all the work open source developers did to enter the workplace will be set back several years.

    • by atomic777 (860023)
      Heads need not roll. Anyone with a large exposure to mysql should be at least getting a sense of how painful it would be to migrate to postgresql, and ideally have been doing some of this research for at least the past year when it was clear mysql was headed for trouble.

      But even in the worst case, mysql would turn into a type of legacy application, with support and bug fixes provided by 3rd parties. This would be not nearly as bad as the suffering of companies back in the day dealing with legacy systems
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That is a very good point indeed. mysql was the cat's meow in the internet's early days; everybody was doing a web portal and mysql is fast as hell with simple lookups. Just the ticket. Now even databases that were supposed to stay simple are morphing into who knows what. mysql's engine still can't even do transactions and they own nobody whose plugin can. Even if they're not a target they'll always be weak in their market no matter how popular they are. Postgresql (for example) has always kicked mysql's bu

        • that bug in the ambler of simpler times is powering millions of sites servicing hundreds of millions of internet users worldwide. ranging from forums to portals, shopping sites to collaboration sites.

          for hosting market LAMP hosting with cpanel is THE way to go. it is expected default server config. even the big players are offering lamp packages foremost, because request for other packages are nil, the only exception being a very tiny percentage of asp and mssql hosting. its to the extent that new startups

  • It would do fine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vanilla_face (1369183) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:31AM (#30707106)
    Postgres has a diverse group of contributors so it will be absolutely nothing like Oracle acquiring MySQL. Sure it would be temporarily damaging to the project if Oracle did go out and buy the leading contributors but I can't imagine that Oracle would get away with such predatory actions. FTR I believe that Oracle genuinely wants to use MySQL as s competitor to SQL Server in the bottom of the market.
  • Why trust Sun? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter AT slashdo ... taronga DOT com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:36AM (#30707136) Homepage Journal

    This is precisely why people were concerned about letting ANY single company own it.

    Any company can be bought out.

    If a product can't be effectively forked, it's not completely open source.

    If a GPL fork of MySQL isn't good enough, then whose fault is that? And what does that mean for other dual-licensed GPL+Proprietary products?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OverlordQ (264228)

      Any company can be bought out..

      No, not really. As pointed out one of those 'top 20' works at NTT. Lets compare revenues.

      NTT: $106.289 billion (2009)
      Oracle: $ 23.252 billion (2009)

      I think the buying out would go the other way.

      • by atomic777 (860023)
        But Oracle would not need to buy out companies, just key people.

        Oracle could just offer that one NTT employee, say, a "consulting" position at Oracle, for, oh, 50x his current salary. There would be some tiny little clause in his contract stating something along the lines of "you shall remain 50 yards from any computer that contains the source code for the postgresql database"

        I'm not suggesting that Oracle can or should do this (see my other comment) but that the comparison between NTT and Oracle is n
        • Re:Why trust Sun? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:07PM (#30707662) Homepage

          At which point NTT would promptly hire/promote someone else into the same position with the same level of resources necessary to be effective. For example, in addition to committer Itagaki Takahiro, they also have some major work on replication [postgresql.org] being led by Masao Fujii. The point of having a big company like NTT involved is that you can't just make their need for PostgreSQL to be successful go away so easily. There's not just "that one NTT employee"--he's one of a whole team there doing PostgreSQL related work.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      If a product can't be effectively forked, it's not completely open source.

      If a GPL fork of MySQL isn't good enough, then whose fault is that? And what does that mean for other dual-licensed GPL+Proprietary products?

      The only one that seems to be having trouble with this is Monty Widenius. And it seems his issue is being unable to re-create a proprietary fork. So if your goal is to maintain a proprietary product, and you don't own the copyright to the code, then big surprise... the GPL is an issue. But then, that's kind of the point of the GPL.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:37AM (#30707140)

    no text necessary!

  • by atomic777 (860023) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:37AM (#30707142)

    While he is technically correct that Oracle could just bribe the key developers to abandon pgsql, this would likely backfire.

    First, it assumes that the pgsql developers of importance can be bought. Our world is decadent, but not everyone has a price tag

    Second, seems Monty has been dealing with mysql code for too long. The pgsql code base (at least the parts I've seen) is significantly more pleasant to work with than MySQL's, and the sheer number of projects building off of it, commercial or OSS (due to BSD licence) are a testament to how accessible it is. Even if all of the current developers were to be bribed and stopped working on postgresql, there would be a significant incentive for other parties to step in and pick up the slack, given that postgresql has a sizable user base, and especially since it is now widely seen as the heir-apparent to mysql as the open-source rdbms of choice for your run-of-the-mill applications.

    Add on top of that the bad press from a failed attempt to use such questionable tactics, and I think not even Oracle is greedy or dumb enough to try anything.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:57AM (#30707280)

      I agree. Hell, even PostgreSQL’s documentation is literally fun to read. It’s clean, it’s complete, it’s concise. Other projects should learn from them.

      • I agree. Hell, even PostgreSQL’s documentation is literally fun to read. It’s clean, it’s complete, it’s concise. Other projects should learn from them.

        Contrast this with the sad fact that most (all?) the MySQL forks lack almost all documentation because MySQL AB never received the documentation under a free license.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > First, it assumes that the pgsql developers of importance can be bought.

      No, first it assumes that Oracle has an interest in aquiring or stopping postgresql at all.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      First, it assumes that the pgsql developers of importance can be bought. Our world is decadent, but not everyone has a price tag.

      Really? To quote Tom Lehrer:
      "It's so nice to have integrity, I'll tell you why:
      'Cause if you really have integrity, that means your price is very high."

      While I'd probably be resistant to being bought out, if the price were high enough I would at least consider it. If I were in that position, I'd think about taking the big bucks, retiring from my day job, and working on and donating to other open source projects (and probably some other worthy causes as well) while enjoying my comfortable retirement.

      And the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      First, it assumes that the pgsql developers of importance can be bought.

      The biggest assumption is that Oracle wants to do this in the first place. Microsoft has SQL Server and IBM has DB2, neither of them have tried to buy out PostGRE... Sun's been around for decades and they've never tried it before...

      It's just fear-mongoring from Monty.

  • by RicardoGCE (1173519) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:44AM (#30707186)

    ...sure makes some people whiny.

  • Please name names (Score:4, Informative)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @10:50AM (#30707220)

    I would like to have a list of serious companies using PostgreSQL for serious stuff...and what stuff it is PostgreSQL is doing. In my world, all you hear is "...MySQL...MySQL...", even in cases where the back-end is being handled by PostgreSQL.

    Our three major DBs have about 13.4 million records combined, with enormous amounts of data about clients. PostgreSQL has never failed us. I work in the insurance business.

    • Re:Please name names (Score:5, Informative)

      by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:10AM (#30707344) Homepage

      I would like to have a list of serious companies using PostgreSQL for serious stuff

      PostgreSQL Featured Users [postgresql.org]; Quotes [postgresql.org] has additional detail about the scope of some of those. Most people are probably familiar with names like Skype and Cisco on there, but less well known companies like NTT [google.com] are huge too--and they even sponsor a good chunk of PostgreSQL development [postgresql.org] because it's so heavily used there.

      And those are just the public record. Because of its BSD license, PostgreSQL also gets used in plenty of places that don't talk about what they're doing with it. For example, I've worked with financial companies that are cutting loose Oracle for PostgreSQL whenever feasible, and with some US defense companies that use PostGIS [wikipedia.org] for geographic databases. (looks out window) I may have already said too much.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Toze (1668155)
        For them as don't RTFL, the Featured Users include IMDB.com, SourceForge, Safeway, and Skype.
      • by slick_rick (193080) * <rwrslashdot&rowell,info> on Saturday January 09, 2010 @04:19PM (#30709380) Homepage Journal

        I happen to know that right after the Columbia accident, all the telemetry data was loaded into a PG database and that is what was used for analysis. At one point tracking the entire .org domain was done with PG as well. I've always thought of MySQL as a racehorse, no other horses can compete for speed when running around a short track (IE read-mostly website). PG is more of a draft horse, able to plow the fields, or pull the wagon, or do a million other things that MySQL is not appropriate for. Oracle would be an Elephant, too huge and expensive to maintain for most things while SQL Server would be a mule, a hopefully sterile off-breed of a horse (Sybase) and a donkey (Windows).

    • Not a serious company but thought I'd note that OpenStreetmap (http://openstreetmap.org) uses PostgreSQL to store data for their Mapnik rendering engine and PostGIS to query it. They're rendering user-contributed map data for the entire world, so that's a fairly serious operation.

    • Re:Please name names (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:19AM (#30707404)

      It'll be difficult to say who's using it because they download it, try it, run it.. all quietly without fuss. No-one at PostgreSQL website can say who's using the downloads because there's no licensing or even a 'email to get your registration' type stuff going on.

      I can tell you that 3 large UK emergency service centres (the 911 callcentres) use PostgreSQL for handling the incoming 999 calls. Its been used for some time now and we've not had a major failure (I don't think we've had a single failure of any type come to that).

      Taking calls for the emergency services is as serious as you can get. It's even more serious if you're the one who wants an ambulance!

      • Re:Please name names (Score:5, Informative)

        by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:52PM (#30707932) Journal

        It'll be difficult to say who's using it because they download it, try it, run it.. all quietly without fuss. No-one at PostgreSQL website can say who's using the downloads because there's no licensing or even a 'email to get your registration' type stuff going on.

        We started with yum -y install postgresql-server and now, hundreds of busy clients later and a few updates later, Postgresql is still going stronger than ever...

        And seriously, Postgres is the overachieving underdog of the database world. It has it all - replication, data integrity, legendarily stunning stability, MVCC, foreign keys, triggers, PLPGSQL, subselects, indexes, query scheduling, parameterized statements, DDBC, metatables, cross-database joins... I could go on, and on, and on. It holds up very nicely when Its security
        model is excellent. Its organizational model is stable. It holds up well under very demanding loads and just basically doesn't crash. (In a decade of using it every single business day, I've NEVER HAD an instance of Postgres corrupt running on a RedHat/CentOS server) It costs nothing, it's available by default on any RedHat install CD, and most other distros.

        If Oracle is scared, they should be scared of PostgreSQL, and if you're looking to database something, you should strongly consider Postgres!

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          There's one thing it doesn't have - the developer mindshare. When someone's writing their PHP webapp, the first thing they think is "install MySql", not "install PostgreSQL".

          Perhaps now they'll start to update the code and we'll get a LAPP stack instead of LAMP.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            It does have developer mindshare, it just doesn't have PHP developer mindshare.

            Then again, PHP and MySQL are a match made in heaven - both underfeatured and broadly outdated, but immensely popular because of (often misleading) marketing, and mostly just being in the right place at the right time.

            They're also alike in that, if we could get rid of both, and have, say, Linux+Apache+Python+Postgres, that would make the lives of many developers and admins easier, and the world just a little bit better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maroberts (15852)
      I'm working for a major European bank; we use PostgresSQL for most of our data aggregation and analysis. I'm really a long term MySQL user, but haven't found any problems doing the same stuff with a different database
    • by jimicus (737525)

      PostgreSQL users tend to shut up and get on with it quietly and efficiently.

      MySQL users tend to indulge in all sorts of public willy-waving.

      Much like the databases they use, in fact.

    • MXLogic uses PostgreSQL as their major production database. I know of some other luggage company in Denver that uses PostgreSQL, but I forget the name of the company.

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      IIRC, distributed.net uses Postgres, but their statistics server is down at the moment, so I cannot confirm it...
  • Even if all the pgsql developers quit today and nobody came in to continue, it would still be a better product than mysql will ever be.

  • They released free version XE for the department/small business server. If nothing else, that demonstrates the power of PostgreSQL to give the consumer a break in the marketplace. Up there with Apache and OO.org as one of the premiere open source display projects. I hope that excellence keeps them committed.

  • Sod Off Monty (Score:4, Interesting)

    by segedunum (883035) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:15AM (#30707370)
    I'm getting fed up to the back teeth with this guy. He must have got himself into some mental issues he can't get out of. He had a dual licensed database server in MySQL that brought in good money and had a side-effect of making it the standard database as the web expanded, which he then sold to Sun for a very tidy sum and he still now expects to be able to control MySQL's future?

    Before Sun bought MySQL Sun was heavily involved with Postgres (still is in many ways) and they could have quite easily tried to take that project over as opposed to buying MySQL. They didn't, and they would have found that very difficult because there are a lot of different interests in Postgres now.
  • Join! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Goglu (774689) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:33AM (#30707488)
    Maybe, just to ensure that this can't happen, he should join the PostgreSQL project and become a top contributor...
  • EnterpriseDB (Score:2, Informative)

    by ascari (1400977)
    EnterpriseDB is a company that offers commercial support for PostgresQL. They have salaried people on staff that contribute to the project, much like IBM, RedHat etc. contribute to the Linux kernel. So I would say Monty's scenario is about as likely as Linux going away by Microsoft or Apple paying off the to 20 kernel developers. Some people just don't get how open source works.
  • according to Monty Widenius. He fears that Oracle, or someone else, can easily squash PostgreSQL by just 'buying out' the top 20 developers

    Or in MySQL's case, just one ... right, Monty ?

  • by toby (759) * on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:40PM (#30707866) Homepage Journal

    Richard Stallman has clarified that he believes the GPL is necessary and sufficient protection for MySQL, [groklaw.net] in direct contradiction to Widenius' call that the license should be changed and copyrights rest in some entity other than Oracle.

    Stallman: One thing that makes no sense at all is the idea of changing the license of MySQL to something non-copyleft. That would eliminate the possibility of selling exceptions, but allow all sorts of proprietary modified versions. Wherever MySQL should go, it isn't there.

    Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center [softwarefreedom.org] defend the GPL even more strongly:

    "The GPL was designed specifically to ensure the permanent freedom of software, and the ability of everyone to improve and share their improvements to the program, no matter who acquires the copyrights to the code," Moglen said of the argument he presented to the Commission. "The whole point of GPL as a copyright license is to deal with every contingency that could result in hobbling or destroying the freedom of code shared under it. The drafters of GPL versions 2 and 3 considered scenarios very similar to the ones that the Commission is concerned about now. The design of the license, and the experience we have had using it, show that it can be counted upon to operate as intended in situations like this one."

    Programs released under the GPL, including Linux, Samba, and the GNU Compiler Collection, have continually proven to be resistant to anti-competitive conduct in the marketplace. "GPL’d programs competing effectively against offerings of the richest and most powerful monopoly in the history of information technology have resisted the efforts of the monopolist to find a chink in its armor," Moglen writes.

  • by Toze (1668155) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @12:51PM (#30707930)
    of speaking with Monty on freenode's mysql channel, when he responded to my suggestion that he needed a helmet and a big cup of STFU. I asked him about forking and MariaDB, and he had pretty much the same response as in the blog linked above. The way he talked about open source, though, it was like he thought it was impossible for a large open-source project to succeed without a strong leader. He expressed little trust in the community, and no faith that an abandoned project could be picked up again. When I asked him about developers scratching itches, and solutions drawing users and more developers, he didn't seem to think it was a feasible solution. He kept defending his posts about Oracle as being about "for the users," and his motivation being to maintain choices.

    I think the problem is less about Monty wailing about Oracle's calumny, and more about Monty's view of how FOSS works. He seems to think it needs heroes, and that the rest of us plebes need someone to follow before we can get anything useful done. I'll agree with him that projects need leadership, but like comments above have said, there's a difference between project leadership and making yourself indispensable. If Monty was indispensable when he left MySQL, then he was the one that killed it, not Sun, and not Oracle.

  • Postgresql has a more robust, decentralized community of ISVs and developers than did MysqlAB. The BSD license contributes to this loose federation of collective developers because no one company runs the show.

    Furthermore, the folks in #postgresql on irc.freenode.net are superb. David Fetter [planetpostgresql.org] is the man!
  • ...why this is such an issue. I know that MySQL is distributed (at least to some) under the terms of the GPL. I have received it only under GPL2, and never under their proprietary license.

    The GPL has been applied to the MySQL code, and it cannot under any circumstances be removed. Sure Oracle could absorb whatever code they wanted into any proprietary product, but I still have GPL code, we all still have the original.

    Development could continue in the community, we can still enjoy the benefit of the MySQL

  • by EbNo (174259) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @01:38PM (#30708226)

    I once worked for a company called Great Bridge, which attempted to make money selling a boxed version of PostgreSQL. We employed/contracted with several key PostgreSQL developers, and I distinctly remember discussions with management and at least one of those developers about this very topic. The developers had agreed amongst themselves and with Great Bridge management to limit the number of key committers who took money from Great Bridge in order to ensure the company didn't exert too much control over the project (I'm sure we would have been happy to have every one of them on the payroll). History proves Monty wrong on this one.

  • Yeah... keep telling yourself that...

  • Why is he all in a wad over this? He alleged concerns make no sense when his past actions are taken into account - unless he has some hidden agenda. He sees no problem with selling mysql to Sun, and then has a hissy fit about mysql being sold to oracle. Something is not adding up.

    Some have suggested that he wants to double-dip. How would he do this? And why would mysql being sold to oracle make any difference?

    His present hysteria about the future of postgresql does not make sense to me either. Is there not

  • You know, the kind that plans gambits with the assumption the opposition isn't paying attention to what you're up to.

    Suppose Oracle decides to kill PostGres by hiring *all* of the top developers. Getting 40% or 50% of them is probably feasible at a reasonable price, but not the nail-in-the-coffin Evil Ellison is looking for. He needs 100% of the key developers or as-near-as-dammit. The closer you need to get to 100%, the higher the cost goes, and it's not linear.

    It'd be easy to hire four or five of the to

  • The 2nd Iraq invasion changed my view about the world.

    As we know, the initial success of the invasion wasn't due to military excellence such as the African Desert Tank Battles between General Mongomery and the German Panzer Divisions.

    It was due to middle ranked officers - tank commander, platoon leaders being paid money by the US Govt, CIA. When they didnt show up to work on the specified day, the ordinary soldier fled.

    In this case Monty is right, its not hard, for orgs with the know-how and resource

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