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Re: Patent issues and 8.1

From: Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net>
To: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: Neil Conway <neilc(at)samurai(dot)com>,Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>,"Marc G(dot) Fournier" <scrappy(at)postgresql(dot)org>,PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Patent issues and 8.1
Date: 2005-01-28 01:28:48
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
On Thursday 27 January 2005 10:27, Tom Lane wrote:
> Robert Treat <xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net> writes:
> > I don't think it is worth breaking the expectation that only minor
> > changes get committed in revision level releases even with a beta.
> Ordinarily I would agree with you, but what happens to someone who is
> still running 8.0.* when IBM's patent gets issued?  (It seems very
> likely to me that the patent will be issued before 8.0 disappears from
> the wild.)  We really have to have an answer for that, and that means
> that an algorithm change has to get back-patched into 8.0.*.

This is a straw-man, since nothing stops people from running 8.0.0 even if the 
replacement come in 8.0.1   

> I'm coming around to the viewpoint that we should do this as a
> back-patch rather than try to release a file-compatible 8.1.  The reason
> is that people who are hesitant to move up to a new release are hesitant
> not only because of dump/reload costs; they also worry about whether a
> new version will break their existing applications.  If 8.1 has a pile
> of new features, or even simple behavioral changes such as flipping the
> with_oids default, then it will look like a hazard to them even without
> a dump/reload cycle.

Some people get scared of changes between even minor revision releases even 
when we tell them it is safe to do. (Of course pushing a change like ARC out 
in a minor release isn't going to help do away with that perception) Sticking 
to a two-month/no-initdb cycle, I don't think we'll have to worry about 
"piles-of-changes" that make things incompatible.  

> What's really being debated here is how we can have adequate confidence
> in a change that is admittedly larger than we like to back-patch.  It's
> not an unprecedented thing mind you; we have back-patched some fairly
> large bug fixes in the past.  But it's a bit galling to be taking any
> such risk for purely legal rather than technical reasons.

Especially when it doesn't even effect everyone involved.  Or anyone... who 
knows, maybe oracle is out submitting prior art and the thing never even gets 

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

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