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Re: Pseudo-Off-topic-survey: Opinions about future of Postgresql(MySQL)?

From: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
To: pgsql-admin(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Pseudo-Off-topic-survey: Opinions about future of Postgresql(MySQL)?
Date: 2004-08-14 04:23:14
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Lists: pgsql-adminpgsql-hackers
e_arizon_benito(at)yahoo(dot)com (Enrique Arizón) commented:
>  Now that CA has open sourced Ingres what future do
> you guess to Postgresql and MySQL?
>  Don't missunderstand me, I have been using Postgresql for more than
> 3 years and developing apps against it and all I got is possitive
> impressions, but comparing the upcoming 8.0 (7.5) release with
> Ingres, it looks that Ingres is much more advanced (clustering,
> load-balancing, XML, ...) and the main advantage Postgresql had in
> its open source nature looks to be vanished. More one, CA looks
> really serious about Ingres that now is a core tool in more of 100
> derivates CA products, and it's said they had doubled the number of
> Ingres developers. Also the new version provides a great
> compatibility with Oracle and "easify" Oracle to Ingres port. Is
> there any OBJETIVE reason not to change to Ingres?

Let me point to an article just released in InfoWorld, directly
addressing this issue:

Check out the second paragraph:

  "Then there are vendors that open up software, usually vintage code
  that has no commercial value. IBM opened its Cloudscape Java DBMS, a
  move that's a little late compared to Borland's opening of InterBase
  and a little irrelevant next to powerful and widely used open DBMSes
  such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, the latter being my current
  favorite. Computer Associates' qualified open sourcing of Ingres is,
  like Cloudscape and Microsoft's restrictive Shared Source Initiative
  opening of parts of .Net and other properties, an apt illustration
  of how selective corporate code charity is."

I have been watching different parts of the "computer biz" for
_years_, and I have seen plenty of projects using databases.

Oracle?  Plenty.  Microsoft SQL Server?  Lots.  Informix?  Sure.
Sybase?  I saw it chosen once, and I know one fellow who is presently
consulting at Morgan Stanley that tells me they are a big customer of

But in the last ten years, I have never once heard mention of Ingres
in a commercial context.  I was aware of it via "University Ingres"
and because of knowing a little history, both of which came from
academia, not from the commercial world.

- shows 13 jobs mentioning Ingres;
- PostgreSQL gets you 55 hits.

I have to concur with Yager's characterization of the release.

SAP's release of SAP-DB last year is another pretty evident case of a
vendor opening up "vintage code with little commercial value."  They
acquired it from Software AG a couple years ago, more than likely to
get them some leverage when negotiating licensing fees with Oracle.

They couldn't attract significant quantities of outside developers to
work on the "open source" release even though it has considerable
maturity and functionality.

Back to the Ingres question, it is _possible_ that the Ingres code
base may be usable / maintainable / improvable.  It is by no means
guaranteed that this is so.

It seems much more likely that CA has concluded that they can't make
any more money off of Ingres, and that they're essentially providing a
way that any remaining shops that are _heavily_ invested in it have
some capability to self support if CA stops doing maintenance.

For all of the vendors that have been doing this sort of thing, there
is also likely some notion of "scorched earth" policy in mind.  If
they can't make any money off their products, well, if they can do
something that can injure earning potential on the part of the the
leading vendor (e.g. - Oracle), they at least get _something_ out of a
retreat from the marketplace.

Note that, historically, a "scorched earth" policy probably most
notable as being the strategy Russian defenders used to fight back
those notable conquerors, Napoleon and Hitler.  They didn't have the
military might to directly fight off the conqueror, so they burned
everything as they retreated.  This left Stalingrad pretty much in
ruins, but the attacking armies were, shortly thereafter, nearly
destroyed by famine and frost.

I somehow doubt we'll see Oracle sales managers falling to quite that
kind of destruction, but it sure can't be enjoyable for them to see
others' database software getting steadily cheaper.

I wouldn't be shocked to see still more database products falling in
similar manner, although I don't expect to see many more closed source
DBs entering "open source form."  If you watch carefully, you'll
notice that every one of the recently "open sourced" databases has
emerged from a company to whom they represented a secondary sort of
product.  SAP _mostly_ sells R/3.  CA sells plenty of other software
as does IBM.

Companies like Oracle, Informix, and Sybase, where the _only_ product
is the database, have no room to do this.  If sales falter, the
company would fail before they could ever get a vital product "given
output = ("cbbrowne" "@" "")
"Purely applicative languages are poorly applicable." -- Alan Perlis

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