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Re: [mail] Re: Windows Build System

From: Kevin Brown <kevin(at)sysexperts(dot)com>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: [mail] Re: Windows Build System
Date: 2003-01-30 05:29:04
Message-ID: 20030130052903.GD12957@filer (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Tom Lane wrote:
> "Curtis Faith" <curtis(at)galtcapital(dot)com> writes:
> > If a developer can simply download the source, click on the Visual C++
> > project in the win32 directory and then build PostgreSQL, and they can
> > see that Windows is not the "poor stepchild" because the VC project is
> > well laid out, they will be more likely to use it for Windows projects
> > than MySQL which requires the CygWin tools (this means "really a Unix
> > product" to Windows developers).
> <flame on>
> In all honesty, I do not *want* Windows people to think that they're not
> running on the "poor stepchild" platform.    If we go down that path,
> they'll start trying to run production databases on Windows, and then
> we'll get blamed for the instability of the platform, not to mention
> the likelihood that it ignores Unix semantics for fsync() and suchlike
> critical primitives.

Unless this concern is the result of experience (with, say, some
versions of Linux or whatnot), then I'd be more inclined to take a
"try it and see" attitude.

I do think it's quite appropriate to make the world aware that
PostgreSQL under Windows is not likely to be as dependable as
PostgreSQL under other Unix platforms, if only because the underlying
platform isn't as stable.

The fsync() issue and others like it can hopefully be settled through
testing.  Frankly, I will be surprised if it doesn't work (but not
*too* surprised :-).

> I have no objection to there being a Windows port that people can use
> to do SQL-client development on their laptops.  But let us please not
> confuse this with an industrial-strength solution; nor give any level
> of support that might lead others to make such confusion.

I don't believe the level of support this group provides has anything
to do with whether or not others will regard PostgreSQL on Windows to
be an industrial strength solution.  Only their experience will
determine that.  Because PostgreSQL doesn't have a huge marketing arm,
its reputation is built upon word of mouth, which is something that
only comes from experience.

You're assuming that if PostgreSQL is made available under Windows
such that it can be run as a service, people who deploy it will
immediately assume that it's an industrial strength solution.  I think
that assumption is faulty, because in reality people out there in the
real world are reluctant to deploy PostgreSQL under *Unix* as an
industrial strength solution despite its high reliability.  Otherwise
PostgreSQL would be a LOT more popular than it is.

It takes time and experience for people to be convinced that something
is industrial-strength, and the Windows port of PostgreSQL is no

Perhaps your real concern here is that a port of PostgreSQL to Windows
might negatively impact the overall reputation of PostgreSQL due to
the fragility of Windows.  But I don't think that's really much of a
concern: I don't believe the overall reputation of Oracle suffered due
to its Windows port, for instance.  I think most people who really
care about such things are aware that Windows as a platform isn't as
reliable as Unix and take that into account when judging the
reliability of a deployed solution.

For judging the reliability PostgreSQL under Windows, what would
matter would be how it stacks up against other database engines
running under Windows.  In other words, take Windows out of the
comparison equation.  If PostgreSQL under Windows is at least as fast,
solid, etc., as MS-SQL, DB/2, or Oracle under Windows, then people
will rightly think of PostgreSQL as an industrial-strength solution
and the reputation of PostgreSQL will be secure despite the failings
of the platform relative to Unix.

Bottom line: put tons of disclaimers about the likely reliability of
the Windows port in the documentation if you'd like, but don't let
these concerns prevent any action with respect to doing a proper
Windows port.

Kevin Brown					      kevin(at)sysexperts(dot)com

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