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Cygwin PostgreSQL Information and Suggestions

From: Jason Tishler <jason(at)tishler(dot)net>
To: Dave Page <dpage(at)vale-housing(dot)co(dot)uk>
Cc: pgsql-cygwin(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Cygwin PostgreSQL Information and Suggestions
Date: 2002-05-10 14:00:29
Message-ID: 20020510140029.GF2124@tishler.net (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-cygwin
Dave,

Would you forward this to pgsql-hackers since I'm not subscribed?

On Thu, May 09, 2002 at 10:45:42PM +0100, Dave Page wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jason Tishler [mailto:jason(at)tishler(dot)net] 
> > Sent: 09 May 2002 21:52
> > To: Dave Page
> > 
> > On Thu, May 09, 2002 at 07:51:33PM +0100, Dave Page wrote:
> > > BTW Are you aware there is currently a rather busy thread 
> > > about native Windows/Beos ports on -hackers...
> > 
> > No, I'm not subscribed, but I just read all that I could find 
> > in the archives.
> > [snip]
> > 
> > > ...which is currently drifting towards a cutdown Cygwin version?
> > 
> > Maybe I'll be out of (another) job soon? :,)
> 
> [snip]
> 
> Personnally, I think (from a 'good for PostgreSQL' rather than 'good for
> Cygwin' perspective) that the way forward is a Cygwin based system but
> using a tailored downloader/installer that installs the system 'like a
> Windows app' (and quickly & easily etc.) rather than the current way
> which is Windows 'being' *nix. I think that's very offputting for many
> potential users (as others have said on the -hackers thread).

I agree with the above, but more can be done with Cygwin and its setup.exe
that can give a fair amount of bang for the buck for some good short
time gains too.  I will give some details below.

I also wanted to dispel some misinformation (IMO) that I perceived from
the above mentioned posts and/or elaborate on some of the items:

1. Cygwin's setup.exe supports categories and dependencies.  Hence,
there is no reason to install all Cygwin packages in order to ensure
properly PostgreSQL operation.  Someone just has to determine what is
the minimal set of packages necessary for PostgreSQL and I will update
the setup.hint accordingly.  The current setup.hint is as follows:

    sdesc: "PostgreSQL Data Base Management System"
    category: Database
    requires: ash cygwin readline zlib libreadline5

Sorry, but since I install all Cygwin packages plus about 30 additional
ones I haven't desire to determine what are the minimal requirements.

2. Cygwin's setup.exe is customizable.  There is a tool called "upset"
that generates the setup.ini file that drives setup.exe.  PostgreSQL could
offer a customized setup.  For example, this is what the XEmacs folks
are doing.

3. Cygwin's setup.exe can run package specific postinstall scripts during
the installation.  Hence, someone could automate the steps enumerated
(e.g., postmaster NT service installation, initdb, etc.) in my README:

    http://www.tishler.net/jason/software/postgresql/postgresql-7.2.1.README

to ease the installation burden.

4. Cygwin PostgreSQL is perceived to have poor performance.  I have
never done any benchmarks regarding this issue, but apparently Terry
Carlin (from the defunct Great Bridge) did:

    http://archives.postgresql.org/pgsql-cygwin/2001-08/msg00029.php

Specifically, he indicates the following:

    BTW, Up through 40 users, PostgreSQL under CYGWIN using the TPC-C
    benchmark performed very much the same as Linux PostgreSQL on the
    exact hardware.

5. Cygwin PostgreSQL is perceived to have poor reliability.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to gather data to concur or refute
this perception due a sudden job "change" last summer. :,)  However,
there are reports such as the following on the pgsql-cygwin list:

    http://archives.postgresql.org/pgsql-cygwin/2002-04/msg00021.php

IMO, the biggest reliability issue with Cygwin PostgreSQL is it's
dependency on cygipc.  There is some very recent work to create a Cygwin
daemon to support features such as System V IPC.  So soon the cygipc
dependency and its "problems" will be going way.

Those interested in a "Windows" PostgreSQL should possibly consider
contributing in this area or other "hard edges" (due to Windows-isms)
that would improve the reliability of Cygwin PostgreSQL.  BTW, I have
found the Cygwin core developers very responsive to PostgreSQL problems
because it drives the Cygwin DLL harder than most other applications.

6. Satisfying the Cygwin license for binary distribution is very simple.
Just include the source for the Cygwin DLL and all executables that are
linked with it in your distribution package.  It is really that easy.

Jason

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Subject: Re: Cygwin PostgreSQL Information and Suggestions
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