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Re: Patent issues and 8.1

From: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
To: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: Neil Conway <neilc(at)samurai(dot)com>,Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>,"Marc G(dot) Fournier" <scrappy(at)postgresql(dot)org>,PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Patent issues and 8.1
Date: 2005-01-28 01:28:48
Message-ID: 200501272028.48009.xzilla@users.sourceforge.net (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
On Thursday 27 January 2005 10:27, Tom Lane wrote:
> Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net> writes:
> > I don't think it is worth breaking the expectation that only minor
> > changes get committed in revision level releases even with a beta.
>
> Ordinarily I would agree with you, but what happens to someone who is
> still running 8.0.* when IBM's patent gets issued?  (It seems very
> likely to me that the patent will be issued before 8.0 disappears from
> the wild.)  We really have to have an answer for that, and that means
> that an algorithm change has to get back-patched into 8.0.*.
>

This is a straw-man, since nothing stops people from running 8.0.0 even if the 
replacement come in 8.0.1   

> I'm coming around to the viewpoint that we should do this as a
> back-patch rather than try to release a file-compatible 8.1.  The reason
> is that people who are hesitant to move up to a new release are hesitant
> not only because of dump/reload costs; they also worry about whether a
> new version will break their existing applications.  If 8.1 has a pile
> of new features, or even simple behavioral changes such as flipping the
> with_oids default, then it will look like a hazard to them even without
> a dump/reload cycle.
>

Some people get scared of changes between even minor revision releases even 
when we tell them it is safe to do. (Of course pushing a change like ARC out 
in a minor release isn't going to help do away with that perception) Sticking 
to a two-month/no-initdb cycle, I don't think we'll have to worry about 
"piles-of-changes" that make things incompatible.  

> What's really being debated here is how we can have adequate confidence
> in a change that is admittedly larger than we like to back-patch.  It's
> not an unprecedented thing mind you; we have back-patched some fairly
> large bug fixes in the past.  But it's a bit galling to be taking any
> such risk for purely legal rather than technical reasons.
>

Especially when it doesn't even effect everyone involved.  Or anyone... who 
knows, maybe oracle is out submitting prior art and the thing never even gets 
granted.   

-- 
Robert Treat
Build A Brighter Lamp :: Linux Apache {middleware} PostgreSQL

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