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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

From: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org,Mitch Pirtle <mitch(dot)pirtle(at)gmail(dot)com>
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL
Date: 2005-07-23 04:23:38
Message-ID: 200507230023.38724.xzilla@users.sourceforge.net (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackers
On Friday 22 July 2005 19:34, Mitch Pirtle wrote:
> On 7/22/05, Jim C. Nasby <decibel(at)decibel(dot)org> wrote:
> > Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
> > becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
> > more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
> > many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
> > developing for MySQL.
>
> Actually the issue IMHO comes from the business and PR side. This will
> take a couple paragraphs, indulge me ;-)
>
> I see the biggest difference between MySQL<->PostgreSQL is that MySQL
> has always appeared to be 'owned' by one company, MySQL.com (formerly
> Monty's company IIRC). 

FWIW it has always been owned them.  Thats actually one of the reasons that it 
got so far ahead of PostgreSQL early on... it wasn't just marketing, it was 
that there was always a goal to make a business out of it, increase it's user 
base, and to make money from it.  The early hackers of PostgreSQL were more 
interested in making a quality database for themselves to use than they were 
in pushing their product. Even to this day, we have a large number of folks 
in influential positions that really see increase of market share as even a 
tertiary goal. I'll pick on Afilias for a moment since they are one of the 
best companies we have involved in PostgreSQL... their goal (imho) wrt is not 
to increase PostgreSQL market share, but to increase their ability to achieve 
"world domination" in the registry services business, which is the business 
they are in.  If PostgreSQL market share increases, they realize that is a 
good thing for them, and so they have helped support the projects efforts to 
get more users, but in the end it's not their end goal in the least, so it's 
not something their people focus on.

> PostgreSQL has no such 'owner', so there is no 
> definitive entity to do business with. RedHat almost pulled this off
> with Linux, but their identity crisis a couple years ago after Robert
> Young left opened the door for all of the others and RedHat lost their
> grip.
>
> But ultimately that is one thing that holds PostgreSQL back, and other
> F/OSS projects - when the business world gets involved, they expect
> someone to be the de-facto source. This is not right or wrong, but
> reality in the business world, right?
>

Well, I would say they certainly want someone to be a defacto source, though 
it doesn't necessarily need to be an "owner" per say.  Think Red Hat or 
Novell and Linux, they don't own it, but they are the defacto players when 
you want to do platform partnering.

> Say I am wanting to produce a commercial product, and want to license
> an open-source database to cash in on the whole open source trend as
> well as lower costs. I want to have a license, so that I can also use
> that license as part of the marketing approach to show that this is a
> 'legitimate' product. With MySQL I can do that, but with PostgreSQL
> who can I go to?
>

There are places you *could* go, but they aren't the same as going to my$ql 
inc. 

> And if I am someone wanting to learn database programming, there are
> tons of open source databases out there to choose from. Which one do I
> choose? One factor for me will be the commercial value of my skills
> that I develop, as if I cannot make money at my trade then this is
> just a hobby.
>

If you are really concerned about this, you would probably download one of the 
free developers installs of the proprietary db companies. :-)  But your point 
is valid... and has been raised before, usually in the realm of things like 
"how do i get certified?".  SRA has started a program, but I wonder what the 
demand has been from folks outside the community, because I feel it is not 
nearly as large as some inside the community would have you believe.  

> What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
> business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
> that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
> analogous in the PostgreSQL world?

IMO I would say the most "zend like" company in the pg community right now is 
Command Prompt, who have been ratcheting up their involvement within the 
community over the last 6 months - 1 year.   The caveat here is that unlike 
zend, they have a lot of big companies lurking about that are also players in 
the pg community (sra,fujitsu,pervasive,redhat) that could make very big 
moves if pointed in the right direction.  It also remains to be seen just 
what impact enterprisedb and greenplum on this picture; these companies are 
much more business focused, but not exactly focused on pg.

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

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