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Re: have you seen this?

From: Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>
To: Alexey Borzov <borz_off(at)cs(dot)msu(dot)su>,Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
Cc: robert(dot)bernier5(at)sympatico(dot)ca, pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: have you seen this?
Date: 2004-05-25 17:27:26
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy

First off, I'm glad you posted this.   Our advocacy thinking tends to be 
heavily US-dominated and I've wondered for a while how things are in your 
part of the world.

> I was recently giving a small presentation on PostgreSQL on a Russian
> PHP conference and found out an interesting thing: no one there really
> cared about feature comparisons. I did a table with PostgreSQL features
> and the versions they appeared in. This did not go completely unnoticed,
> as the next lecture was about the new features of MySQL 4.1/5.0, but the
> people were not really interested and didn't ask questions.

Clayton Christensen has a facinating book called "The Inventor's Dillemma" 
about how business forces inevitably push companies to over-feature their own 
customer base.    Certainly both MySQL and PostgreSQL already have more 
features than 85% of the PHP community has any interest in.

> As the PostgreSQL advocacy group thinks that PHP programmers are among
> their *main* target audience, may I humbly suggest answering the
> questions that are asked instead of the ones that are not?

Well, the first question I would ask *us* is whether or not PHP programmers 
*are* among our main targets for advocacy.   Based on my experience at 
PHPCon, I would say that 80% of PHP coders would be well served by SQLite -- 
MySQL is more powerful than they need or want, let alone us.   

Not that I'm writing off the PHP community.  Given PostgreSQL's powerful 
functions, views, and other in-database code, it makes a really dynamic 
pairing with a lightweight scripting language like PHP -- one which I've used 
to great effect.   But I think that the target audience for this message is 
not necessarily existing PHP jockeys, but rather coders in client-side 
languages, and database designers used to Oracle and MSSQL, looking to move 
to the web.

Overall, though, if you look at PostgreSQL adoption in my area (the San 
Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley), it's at least 80% Java and J2EE.  In 
fact, of the 6 new clients I've signed in the last year, all of them were 
using Java as middleware and client.

> The most successful (most quoted) advocacy articles I remember were the
> once from OpenACS (Why not MySQL?) and (MySQL gotchas). To
> make people look at PostgreSQL you should concentrate on why MySQL is
> *bad*, to create a sense of insecurity in its users. That is the
> propaganda that works.

Unfortunately, this sort of propaganda can also backfire dramatically; the 
danger of mud-slinging is that you always seem to get some on yourself as 
well.    Maybe it's different in Russia, but in the US I'd advocate pretty 
strongly against any really aggressive trashing of MySQL; the winner in that 
is liable to be the proprietary databases, not us.

If you really want to reach the PHP coders where they live, though, just point 
out MySQL's licensing policy.    If they want to use MySQL and *not* 
open-source their entire site, then they have to cough up $300 to $500US to 
MySQL AB as a commercial license, and pay for *each server* they use.    
That's a persuasive reason to switch to PostgreSQL.    You can also point out 
that MySQL AB has changed the MySQL license 3 times since 2.0; what's to keep 
them from closing it entirely, and eliminating the Open Source version, if 
they feel it will be profitable?

Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

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