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Re: What can we learn from MySQL?

From: Robert Bernier <robert(dot)bernier5(at)sympatico(dot)ca>
To: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: What can we learn from MySQL?
Date: 2004-04-23 11:07:41
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Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackerspgsql-www
Rather than contining with the answers that you and the others have 
contributed to the thread I'm going to respond to this first posting.

The first link that you've quoted is a mixture of fact that I can agree 
with and an excuse to express an ego.

I was first introduced to pc based databases back around when DBase came 
out. DBase II was not that good but DBase-III+ was what set the measure 
for everything else that came onto the PC, including oracle. Ironically 
the blog that you've listed is a demonstration of the success of the 
human desire to justify ones value system by converting others. What 
drove the development of sql related technology has less to do with 
technology and more to do with psychology and human nature.

In my opinion MySQL became popular because of the internet (no news 
there). I still remember the days when a person could get paid $300 for 
composing one html page. People get spoilt making this kind of money so 
when companies like microsoft started putting out products that 
simplified html composing, like frontpage, thus allowing less skilled 
children onto the market, the html page composers saw the writing on the 
wall and started hunting for the next 'evolution'  which was of course 
dynamic pages.

Netscape was king in those days and javascript made a great impression 
on the community. What a concept to be able to change the way a page 
looked and acted. So now the emphasis was instead of making money on a 
static page it would be a dynamic one.

The more popular a technology is the higher the elite must raise the bar 
to continue making gobs of money. So as more people jumped on the 
bandwagon we had to look at other ways of expanding the word 'dynamic'. 
Enter databased information.

Meanwhile, as html was getting more complicated we had taken our 
classically trained views of programming languages and applied it to 
server side includes and to javascript. But javascript is such a bitch 
so cgi remained important until larry showed up and changed the paradign 
by looking at the person rather than the language (remember larry's a 
linguist) and we stared using perl.

So now people started using databased technology on the internet. 
Remember, I speak of the grass roots and not that very small minority of 
DBA's that had a real understanding of databases. MySQL became popular, 
it "bragged" (this is the point folks) that you could attach your 
programming language to it and get good results. And for what it's is 
worth, this was true. People hate to change and need to justify their 
decisions in life with the money they make so programming stayed outside 
of the database for a long time giving MySQL time to evolve.

The reason why MySQL remains relevant because it grew up at rate that 
the grass roots expectations grew.

PostgreSQL is different, it was never part of this movement because of 
its roots. Using this view of history I would argue that Pg is the 
newcomer and MySQL is the veteran.

If we want to reach the 'popular' masses then we need to consider the 
psychology of the internet ... go after the grass roots by convincing 
them that their jobs are on the line if they don't learn proper 
relational theory. Show them! Give them examples!

There's three phases to software development:
- programming
- debugging
- documentation

You old timers have done the first two. Now it's time to address the 
last one. And if you don't agree with what I say it may not perhaps be 
so much because I'm wrong but because you have not invested your 
self-image into that activity. Success is about figuring out what 
everybody wants before they do. And the measure of success is not 
technology its money.

Bruce Momjian wrote:

>Here is a blog about a recent MySQL conference with title, "Why MySQL
>Grew So Fast":
>and a a Slashdot discussion about it:
>My question is, "What can we learn from MySQL?"  I don't know there is
>anything, but I think it makes sense to ask the question.
>Questions I have are:
>	o  Are we marketing ourselves properly?
>	o  Are we focused enough on ease-of-use issues?
>	o  How do we position ourselves against a database that some
>	   say is "good enough" (MySQL), and another one that some
>	   say is "too much"  (Oracle)
>	o  Are our priorities too technically driven?

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