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Re: Comparing databases

From: Paul Ganainm <paulsnewsgroups(at)hotmail(dot)com>
To: pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Comparing databases
Date: 2003-11-23 18:47:35
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-advocacy

xzilla(at)users(dot)sourceforge(dot)net says...

> "I also can't speak to the accuracy of my listing of the other databases, if 
> you have recent experience with them please add or subtract as you see fit."

Your caveat is accepted, and I think that I have fully accepted the bona 
fides of those who post here.

> I said that precisely because I had a good feeling that my knowledge of some 
> of these database is limited, and I was hoping to garner the most accurate 
> information possible. 

Great - and I'll try and correct any errors (that I am sure about 

> > Firebird offers functions and libraries and the ability to create your
> > own types.
> AFAIK, and I could certainly be wrong, the level of support in postgresql for 
> custom operators, types, aggregates, libraries, and functions is superior to 
> any of the databases listed here.   

Accepted - maybe that was the kneejerk reaction of a satisfied user of 

> 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?

> Or do they have an 
> extensible enough codebase that can allow people to create their own 
> languages, like Joe Conway recently did with plR, or the folks at Command 
> Prompt have been doing with plPHP?

I need this explained to me in a bit more detail - URL?

>  (Of course this assumes you even have 
> access to the source code in the first place!)
Obviously this discussion is taking place in the context of Open Source 
dbs - with Oracle or M$oft, such a discussion is meaningless.

> That is what I mean by "stacks up against", when comparing databases, this 
> would be a feature worth highlighting from a <postgresql advocates> position. 


> BTW - Was just reading that M$ plans to support the CRE in Longhorn by 2005, 
> which will give developers the ability to write stored procedures in many 
> different languages. 


> > 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.

> 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. 

> > There are a few (perhaps not as many as several) vendors who support
> > Firebird.
> Right, but with PostgreSQL, you have 4 of the 5 core members all employed by 
> different support companies,  and there are several other high caliber 
> companies to choose from on top of that contribute code back into the 
> project.  Again, I just think that PostgreSQL's position in this department 
> is favorable compared to the other databases listed.


>  (BTW - the 5th member is employed by yet a 5th company, but not a PostgreSQL 
> support company)

> > 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 

I've done it!

> > It's a bit unfair to point at M$ here - locking and versioning each have
> > their pros and cons.
> i think Josh responded to this one already.  


> > 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.

> > Here I really *_really_* have to object. The Firebird community has an
> > excellent Community spirit, where those who contribute to the engine
> > also help out end users.

> OK, fair enough, but I don't see much permeation of firebird outside of the 
> firebird community. 

Which is a shame.

> 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.

> Still, you might be right that firebird shouldn't be included above. I don't 
> think I have heard of anyone who left firebird because of the support level 
> from the community. 

It would surprise me, people really make an effort.

> > Again, this is misleading to say the least. Firebird is a fork of
> > Borland's Interbase, which dates from 1981, so Firebird already has the
> > keys to the house (21) whereas PostgreSQL has yet to have its first
> > legal drink (18).

> Well, if you really want to pull out pedigrees,

I'll show you mine if you show me yours!   8-)

> PostgreSQL is a direct 
> descendant of Ingres, which IIRC came about in 1977, which would make us 26. 

Point taken.

> 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 

> 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.

> 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.


> Robert Treat


plinehan  x__AT__x  yahoo  x__DOT__x  com

C++ Builder 5 SP1, Interbase IBX 5.04 W2K Pro

Please do not top-post.

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