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Re: Comparing databases

From: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
To: Paul Ganainm <paulsnewsgroups(at)hotmail(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Comparing databases
Date: 2003-11-24 15:09:23
Message-ID: 1069686563.10319.17224.camel@camel (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
On Sun, 2003-11-23 at 13:47, Paul Ganainm wrote:
> xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net says...
> > A good example is our function language support. While most of the databases 
> > above support some type of procedural language, do any of them support more 
> > than 10 different types of procedural languages?
> Maybe this is a silly question, but do you really need more than 10? 
> What's the matter with one that does a great job?

Rod Taylor touched on this, mention something like plR which is based on
the R statistical language.  Every language has it's strengths and
weaknesses, with a variety of languages to choose from you can choose
the best tool for the job.  And by best I mean I am able to write
functions in tcl to do socket connections that I would normally have to
write in C.  Given my inferior C skills, that's certainly a bonus. 

> > > Firebird is fully Open Source. No flame wars about the particular
> > > licence please. MySQL is also Open Source - you may not like the fact
> > > that you have to pay for it if you use it in commercial apps, but it is
> > > Open Source.
> > I seem to recall reading that most of the firebird core developers all work 
> > for the same commercial company, perhaps that is not true? 
> Nope - I don't think so. There are a few who work for IBPhoenix, who 
> consult on Interbase and Firebird and restore corrupted dbs &c., but 
> there is a lot of work done by non IBPhoenix people. Take a look at the 
> dev list on sourceforge - you may also be able to see a list of 
> committers and their affiliation. 
> With the *_Interbase_* Open Source, the only allowed committers were 
> AFAIK, Borland employees, but this project died after a few months, and 
> was re-embraced and re-extended by Borland.

Ahh... maybe I was confusing the two. Well, thats good for the firebase
community, and puts them a step ahead of oracle/m$/mysql/etc... in my

> > In any case, it certainly holds up with mysql, as Josh addressed in his 
> > response.  One thing he didn't mention, which I still think is true, is that 
> > in order to have a patch accepted into mysql, you have to turn copyright over 
> > to them for inclusion in their proprietary products. 
> I'm not sure how the IPL (MPL variant) works on this for Borland. They 
> *_may_* implicitly have the right to fold donated code into their 
> commercial stuff, but I'm not sure. Anyway one of the guys on the 
> Interbase lists said that the products were diverging anyway, so it 
> wouldn't make sense. 
> > > Oh dear - you most certainly *_can_* use Firebird for free in commerical
> > > apps.
> > Hmm.. I should have put the qualifier "closed-source" commercial applications, 
> > since you can also use mysql with commercial applications as long as your 
> > willing to gpl them.   Does this still apply to firebird? My understanding is 
> > that their license is sort of MPL-ish... 
> You are certainly allowed deploy commercial apps which user Interbase 
> Open Source (discontinued) or Firebird for *_no licence fee 
> whatsoever_*.
> I've done it!

Maybe I just need to go read the IPL, but if you do that, don't you have
to make copies of your code available? With BSD you can modify the code
and sell it and you don't have to expose that code to no one not ever
never :-)  While a lot of open source folks don't like that fact, it's
certainly a boon to business to not have to worry about it. 

BTW - Not sure if your aware, but there is an interpretation of the gpl
that says that if your software would not operate without the existence
of a gpl'd piece of software, then your software should be gpl as well. 
This would include applications hard coded to connect to only one
database. Now, I don't necessarily agree with this POV, but a company
like mysql would have a lot to gain if that interpretation were to ever
be confirmed legally.  


> > > In Firebird IIRC, you can write dll's or so's in any language you like,
> > > and use these as user defined functions.
> > Hmm... I'd guess there is something similar for folks running firebird on 
> > *nix? Actually I'd guess that all of these database have *some way* of doing 
> > this, but again, I don't think its as easy or as extensible as postgresql. 
> Probably not.

Doh! That's kind of a downer... I'm one of those folks who would never
choose to run a production database on windows...

> > To be fair, postgresql is just starting to get to this 
> > point, where you'll see support for postgresql in a wide range of software.  
> > Heres an example, if I want to write php applications against firebird, who 
> > do I do it?  I just took a swing through the php function list and I don't 
> > see anything that jumps out to me as firebird support. (fbsql turns out to be 
> > frontbase support) I looked at the dbx module, which proclaims to support 
> > frontbase, m$, mysql, odbc, postgresql, sybase, oracle, and sqlite. Where is 
> > firebird?  
> I don't know much (anything) about PHP - but I do know that there are 
> Firebird users who use it.

yes... i know there are people doing this as well, but I can't see how
they do it unless they are using the generic odbc connection
functions... odd.

> > But seriously, I think the point of the above is that our community has been 
> > around for a long time and is well established.  Firebird has only been on 
> > it's own for a little more than 3 years and I think the biggest hurdle it has 
> > had to overcome is the whole mozilla browser naming problem (which I think 
> > the db folks were right in btw). 
> Thanks - I know that the Firebird (real one) people will be glad of 
> that.
> > Certainly the case can be made with any 
> > open source software that it can truly never die, but if IBPhoenix were to go 
> > under, how much of an effect would that have on the firebird community?  At 
> > this point I feel pretty confident that if  any of our primary support 
> > companies were to pull out, this community would just keep on moving.
> Can't answer your question about "what if?" - there is, as I said, a 
> sizeable nucleus that does not have IBPhoenix affiliations.

Ok... sounds like the community has "spread its wings" a bit more than I
had thought.

> > So thats the long of it from our side, please feel welcome to educate us more 
> > on firebird if you want.  Should anyone decide to make a more permanent 
> > document out of all of this I'd like for them to have accurate information.  
> > For that matter, please also feel free to post things that you feel firebird 
> > has an advantage on over postgresql, part of advocacy is being able to 
> > address our weak points as well.
> Your graciousness does you and the project honour sir!
> I've only just started with PostgreSQL, and to be honest, the one that 
> literally *_screams_* at me is "Ease of use" - esp Windo$e, but it holds 
> for Linux too. 
> When I say "Ease of use", I mean for a reasonably IT savvy person to be 
> able to get up and running and be functional with - that does not mean 
> that IB/FB is in any way a "toy" db - an accusation that I have heard in 
> the past! 
> Yes, I know, you and I mightn't like it, but W$oze is the OS of choice 
> for most organisations (though that is changing!).
> I haven't got down and dirty into PostgreSQL yet, but I will pipe up as 
> I start to get a handle on things.

Please do, I think you've already been pretty informative so far. 

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

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