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Increased company involvement

From: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgreSQL(dot)org>
Subject: Increased company involvement
Date: 2005-04-28 05:09:58
Message-ID: 200504280509.j3S59wi09482@candle.pha.pa.us (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackers
I am very excited to see companies involved in PostgreSQL development. 
It gives us funding for developers and features that is new for us.  We
had Fujitsu funding some features for 8.0 and that really helped us.

However, there was a lot of coordination that happened with Fujitsu that
I don't see happening with the current companies involved.  Companies
are already duplicating work that is also done by community members or
by other companies.  The big issue is communication.  Because the
PostgreSQL code base is common for most of the companies involved, there
has to be coordination in what they are working on and their approaches.

If that doesn't happen, two companies will work on the same feature, and
only one can be added, or a complex process of merging the two patches
into one patch has to happen --- again duplicated effort.  I am willing
to do the coordination, or even better, have the companies involved
publicly post their efforts so all the other companies can know what
is happening.  I realize this is hard for companies because their
efforts are in some ways part of their profitability.  Does
profitability require duplication of effort and code collisions?  I am
not sure, but if it does, we are in trouble.  I am not sure the
community has the resources to resolve that many collisions.

Second, some developers are being hired from the community to work on
closed-source additions to PostgreSQL.  That is fine and great, but one
way to kill PostgreSQL is to hire away its developers.  If a commercial
company wanted to hurt us, that is certainly one way they might do it.
Anyway, it is a concern I have.  I am hoping community members hired to
do closed-source additions can at least spend some of their time on
community work.

And finally, we have a few companies working on features that they
eventually want merged back into the PostgreSQL codebase.  That is a
very tricky process and usually goes badly unless the company seeks
community involvement from the start, including user interface,
implementation, and coding standards.

I hate to be discouraging here, but I am trying to communicate what we
have learned over the past few years to help companies be effective in
working with open source communities.  I am available to talk to any
company that wants further details.

-- 
  Bruce Momjian                        |  http://candle.pha.pa.us
  pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us               |  (610) 359-1001
  +  If your life is a hard drive,     |  13 Roberts Road
  +  Christ can be your backup.        |  Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073

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