[HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

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[HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
The email below about FreeBSD's involvement in Google's Summer of Code
got me thinking; would there be value in trying to attract college
students to working on either PostgreSQL development, or using
PostgreSQL in projects? Even though we missed getting in on the summer
of code this year, ISTM that we could try targeting colleges,
professors, and students directly. When it comes to development, I'm
sure there's any number of TODO items that would make great coursework,
for all different levels of students. As for using PostgreSQL, perhaps
we could get database classes together with projects that could use
help.

Thoughts?

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--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Jeff Davis-2
Jim C. Nasby wrote:

> The email below about FreeBSD's involvement in Google's Summer of Code
> got me thinking; would there be value in trying to attract college
> students to working on either PostgreSQL development, or using
> PostgreSQL in projects? Even though we missed getting in on the summer
> of code this year, ISTM that we could try targeting colleges,
> professors, and students directly. When it comes to development, I'm
> sure there's any number of TODO items that would make great coursework,
> for all different levels of students. As for using PostgreSQL, perhaps
> we could get database classes together with projects that could use
> help.
>
> Thoughts?
>

I am planning to take a database course at a major university this fall.
If you have any materials that might help I'd be happy to see if the
professor is interested. I don't know what the course uses currently,
but I expect there will be opportunities to mention PostgreSQL.

Also, there's a PostgreSQL project that I'm planning on working on (not
even much work left, really), so I'll see if the professor shows any
interest in my project.

Regards,
        Jeff Davis

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
On Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 03:43:04PM -0700, Jeff Davis wrote:

> Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> > The email below about FreeBSD's involvement in Google's Summer of Code
> > got me thinking; would there be value in trying to attract college
> > students to working on either PostgreSQL development, or using
> > PostgreSQL in projects? Even though we missed getting in on the summer
> > of code this year, ISTM that we could try targeting colleges,
> > professors, and students directly. When it comes to development, I'm
> > sure there's any number of TODO items that would make great coursework,
> > for all different levels of students. As for using PostgreSQL, perhaps
> > we could get database classes together with projects that could use
> > help.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
>
> I am planning to take a database course at a major university this fall.
> If you have any materials that might help I'd be happy to see if the
> professor is interested. I don't know what the course uses currently,
> but I expect there will be opportunities to mention PostgreSQL.
>
> Also, there's a PostgreSQL project that I'm planning on working on (not
> even much work left, really), so I'll see if the professor shows any
> interest in my project.

Well, since the typical belief is that MySQL is a good choice for
things, http://sql-info.de/mysql/gotchas.html is probably a good start.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Jeff Davis-2
Jim C. Nasby wrote:
>>Also, there's a PostgreSQL project that I'm planning on working on (not
>>even much work left, really), so I'll see if the professor shows any
>>interest in my project.
>
>
> Well, since the typical belief is that MySQL is a good choice for
> things, http://sql-info.de/mysql/gotchas.html is probably a good start.

That's always a great resource. I would be very disappointed, however,
if a university professor was using MySQL to teach about relational theory.

I'll try to passively raise PostgreSQL awareness when appropriate.
Hopefully the professor might take an interest in my project and maybe
PostgreSQL will gain awareness among the faculty.

Regards,
        Jeff Davis

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
On Thu, Jul 21, 2005 at 02:33:22AM -0700, Jeff Davis wrote:

> Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> >>Also, there's a PostgreSQL project that I'm planning on working on (not
> >>even much work left, really), so I'll see if the professor shows any
> >>interest in my project.
> >
> >
> > Well, since the typical belief is that MySQL is a good choice for
> > things, http://sql-info.de/mysql/gotchas.html is probably a good start.
>
> That's always a great resource. I would be very disappointed, however,
> if a university professor was using MySQL to teach about relational theory.

Sadly, I'd be willing to bet there's a lot of professors using MySQL to
teach database theory. Just like there's a lot of other people who use
it because they don't know any better. But everyone else uses it, so it
must be good, right?

I fear that MySQL will be a repeat of linux... invest millions (if not
billions) in something to finally get it caught up to a better
alternative that had been around all along.

Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
developing for MySQL.

> I'll try to passively raise PostgreSQL awareness when appropriate.
> Hopefully the professor might take an interest in my project and maybe
> PostgreSQL will gain awareness among the faculty.

Good luck! Hopefully armed with the gotchas you can convince them to not
only use PostgreSQL to teach students with, but also to enlighten the
students of everything you shouldn't do in a RDBMS.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Mitch Pirtle
On 7/22/05, Jim C. Nasby <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
> becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
> more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
> many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
> developing for MySQL.

Actually the issue IMHO comes from the business and PR side. This will
take a couple paragraphs, indulge me ;-)

I see the biggest difference between MySQL<->PostgreSQL is that MySQL
has always appeared to be 'owned' by one company, MySQL.com (formerly
Monty's company IIRC). PostgreSQL has no such 'owner', so there is no
definitive entity to do business with. RedHat almost pulled this off
with Linux, but their identity crisis a couple years ago after Robert
Young left opened the door for all of the others and RedHat lost their
grip.

But ultimately that is one thing that holds PostgreSQL back, and other
F/OSS projects - when the business world gets involved, they expect
someone to be the de-facto source. This is not right or wrong, but
reality in the business world, right?

Say I am wanting to produce a commercial product, and want to license
an open-source database to cash in on the whole open source trend as
well as lower costs. I want to have a license, so that I can also use
that license as part of the marketing approach to show that this is a
'legitimate' product. With MySQL I can do that, but with PostgreSQL
who can I go to?

And if I am someone wanting to learn database programming, there are
tons of open source databases out there to choose from. Which one do I
choose? One factor for me will be the commercial value of my skills
that I develop, as if I cannot make money at my trade then this is
just a hobby.

What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
analogous in the PostgreSQL world?

-- Mitch

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Robert Treat
On Friday 22 July 2005 19:34, Mitch Pirtle wrote:

> On 7/22/05, Jim C. Nasby <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
> > becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
> > more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
> > many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
> > developing for MySQL.
>
> Actually the issue IMHO comes from the business and PR side. This will
> take a couple paragraphs, indulge me ;-)
>
> I see the biggest difference between MySQL<->PostgreSQL is that MySQL
> has always appeared to be 'owned' by one company, MySQL.com (formerly
> Monty's company IIRC).

FWIW it has always been owned them.  Thats actually one of the reasons that it
got so far ahead of PostgreSQL early on... it wasn't just marketing, it was
that there was always a goal to make a business out of it, increase it's user
base, and to make money from it.  The early hackers of PostgreSQL were more
interested in making a quality database for themselves to use than they were
in pushing their product. Even to this day, we have a large number of folks
in influential positions that really see increase of market share as even a
tertiary goal. I'll pick on Afilias for a moment since they are one of the
best companies we have involved in PostgreSQL... their goal (imho) wrt is not
to increase PostgreSQL market share, but to increase their ability to achieve
"world domination" in the registry services business, which is the business
they are in.  If PostgreSQL market share increases, they realize that is a
good thing for them, and so they have helped support the projects efforts to
get more users, but in the end it's not their end goal in the least, so it's
not something their people focus on.

> PostgreSQL has no such 'owner', so there is no
> definitive entity to do business with. RedHat almost pulled this off
> with Linux, but their identity crisis a couple years ago after Robert
> Young left opened the door for all of the others and RedHat lost their
> grip.
>
> But ultimately that is one thing that holds PostgreSQL back, and other
> F/OSS projects - when the business world gets involved, they expect
> someone to be the de-facto source. This is not right or wrong, but
> reality in the business world, right?
>

Well, I would say they certainly want someone to be a defacto source, though
it doesn't necessarily need to be an "owner" per say.  Think Red Hat or
Novell and Linux, they don't own it, but they are the defacto players when
you want to do platform partnering.

> Say I am wanting to produce a commercial product, and want to license
> an open-source database to cash in on the whole open source trend as
> well as lower costs. I want to have a license, so that I can also use
> that license as part of the marketing approach to show that this is a
> 'legitimate' product. With MySQL I can do that, but with PostgreSQL
> who can I go to?
>

There are places you *could* go, but they aren't the same as going to my$ql
inc.

> And if I am someone wanting to learn database programming, there are
> tons of open source databases out there to choose from. Which one do I
> choose? One factor for me will be the commercial value of my skills
> that I develop, as if I cannot make money at my trade then this is
> just a hobby.
>

If you are really concerned about this, you would probably download one of the
free developers installs of the proprietary db companies. :-)  But your point
is valid... and has been raised before, usually in the realm of things like
"how do i get certified?".  SRA has started a program, but I wonder what the
demand has been from folks outside the community, because I feel it is not
nearly as large as some inside the community would have you believe.  

> What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
> business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
> that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
> analogous in the PostgreSQL world?

IMO I would say the most "zend like" company in the pg community right now is
Command Prompt, who have been ratcheting up their involvement within the
community over the last 6 months - 1 year.   The caveat here is that unlike
zend, they have a lot of big companies lurking about that are also players in
the pg community (sra,fujitsu,pervasive,redhat) that could make very big
moves if pointed in the right direction.  It also remains to be seen just
what impact enterprisedb and greenplum on this picture; these companies are
much more business focused, but not exactly focused on pg.

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

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Joshua D. Drake

>>What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
>>business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
>>that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
>>analogous in the PostgreSQL world?
>
>
> IMO I would say the most "zend like" company in the pg community right now is
> Command Prompt, who have been ratcheting up their involvement within the
> community over the last 6 months - 1 year.   The caveat here is that unlike
> zend, they have a lot of big companies lurking about that are also players in
> the pg community (sra,fujitsu,pervasive,redhat) that could make very big
> moves if pointed in the right direction.

Also, unlike Zend there is a benefit to the continual cooperative
competition that SRA, Fugitsu etc... have with the community and Command
Prompt.

For example, SRA and Command Prompt are responsible for the
PostgreSQL.Org booth this year at OSCON.

I think in the long run everyone will still exist just like most Linux
distributions still exist but more and more they will specialize in
specific departments.

For example, Command Prompt is probably the most infrastructure focused
of the PostgreSQL companies where someone like Fujitsu focuses more on
serving and existing customer base with a modified version of PostgreSQL.

Pervasive will have their hands full as all there legacy customers come
do and (I assume) that they start moving to Pervasive PostgreSQL.

In all, I think you would be amazed at how aggressive PostgreSQL is on
the business side, we (the community) just do it differently than a lot
of traditional companies.

We have a lot of word of mouth, a lot of the consultants and companies
look out for each other, warning of potential bad customers etc... We
also cooperate to publicize PostgreSQL as a whole.

We don't in general run a lot of press, but then again we typically
don't have to.

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake



   It also remains to be seen just
> what impact enterprisedb and greenplum on this picture; these companies are
> much more business focused, but not exactly focused on pg.
>


--
Your PostgreSQL solutions provider, Command Prompt, Inc.
24x7 support - 1.800.492.2240, programming, and consulting
Home of PostgreSQL Replicator, plPHP, plPerlNG and pgPHPToolkit
http://www.commandprompt.com / http://www.postgresql.org

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Alexey Borzov
In reply to this post by Mitch Pirtle
Hi,

Mitch Pirtle wrote:
>
> What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
> business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
> that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
> analogous in the PostgreSQL world?

I'd hate to see the analog of Zend in PostgreSQL world.

Zend's business model is beneficial for them, but bad for PHP community. The
classic example is absence of bytecode compilation (available in all other major
scripting languages) in default PHP. To get this you need to pay money to Zend
for Super Advanced Zend Enterprise Ready Accelerator Platform Plus, or whatever
the thing is called now. The guys have a sh*tload of engine level bugs in the
language and refuse to fix them, but have a lot of money spent on PR and
"enterprise" cruft they are marketing.

Maybe Zend is making inroads into the enterprise, but they are damaging their
ecosystem in the process, by alienating the developers [1] that are building the
major Open Source applications in and around PHP. And these applications are
what drives most people to PHP, not "Super Advanced Zend Enterprise Ready
Accelerator Platform Plus".

So "having Zend in PostgreSQL world" translates to me as "keeping PostgreSQL
substandard product to be able to sell addons for it". I doubt that is a good idea.

[1] http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=279833

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Bruno Wolff III
In reply to this post by Decibel!
On Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 17:47:09 -0500,
  "Jim C. Nasby" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Sadly, I'd be willing to bet there's a lot of professors using MySQL to
> teach database theory. Just like there's a lot of other people who use
> it because they don't know any better. But everyone else uses it, so it
> must be good, right?

I don't see a problem for the professors or students using MySQL to learn
database theory. For a first course in database theory you could use
almost anything to practice issuing some DDL and DML commands.

It might be nice PR for Postgres to have professors using that instead
of MySQL. So as a Postgres developer or user you might not like this,
but its not as if the students are going to be scarred for life by
using MySQL to practice creating tables and doing simple queries.

> I fear that MySQL will be a repeat of linux... invest millions (if not
> billions) in something to finally get it caught up to a better
> alternative that had been around all along.

What great alternative to Linux do you think there was when Linus started
working on it? Free versions of BSD came out while Linux was still pretty
raw, but they had issues of their own. It might have been better to take
up a collection to free some existing OS, but that wasn't likely to happen
at that time.

> Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
> becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
> more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
> many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
> developing for MySQL.

That seems unlikely to happen with the owners of MySQL threatening users
with money to cough some up or risk being sued.

I don't think the open source database market is going to be reduced to
effectively one system any time soon.

The main problem I see is that some applications have been developed such
that they are tied to MySQL (either form using its quirks extensively or
being designed so that performance sucks on other databases) so that we
are stuck running some MySQL servers to run these applications. However
just because we run them to support specific applications (e.g. Horde),
doesn't mean we need or want to develop are own applications using
MySQL.

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Bruno Wolff III
In reply to this post by Mitch Pirtle
On Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 19:34:57 -0400,
  Mitch Pirtle <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I see the biggest difference between MySQL<->PostgreSQL is that MySQL
> has always appeared to be 'owned' by one company, MySQL.com (formerly
> Monty's company IIRC). PostgreSQL has no such 'owner', so there is no
> definitive entity to do business with. RedHat almost pulled this off
> with Linux, but their identity crisis a couple years ago after Robert
> Young left opened the door for all of the others and RedHat lost their
> grip.

I don't think Redhat was ever much of a threat to control Linux. Unlike
mysql.com they don't hold the copyright to Linux and couldn't dual license
it the way mysql.com can. They may have been more dominent in the commercial
Linux distribution market, but there would have been competing distributions.

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
In reply to this post by Bruno Wolff III
On Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 08:41:07AM -0500, Bruno Wolff III wrote:
> I don't see a problem for the professors or students using MySQL to learn
> database theory. For a first course in database theory you could use
> almost anything to practice issuing some DDL and DML commands.
>
> It might be nice PR for Postgres to have professors using that instead
> of MySQL. So as a Postgres developer or user you might not like this,
> but its not as if the students are going to be scarred for life by
> using MySQL to practice creating tables and doing simple queries.

The problem is that not only does MySQL tend to shun ANSI SQL (think
concat v. ||), but it also does a lot of things no real database would
ever do, such as silently truncating data, or allowing count(*) to
return an estimate instead of an actual rowcount. These (and other)
'MySQLisms' would certainly end up in any class, and it would be very
easy for students to think "Oh, this is just how databases are supposed
to work."

> What great alternative to Linux do you think there was when Linus started
> working on it? Free versions of BSD came out while Linux was still pretty
> raw, but they had issues of their own. It might have been better to take
> up a collection to free some existing OS, but that wasn't likely to happen
> at that time.

IIRC, FreeBSD (or maybe only NetBSD) was readily available at the time
Linas wrote Linux, there were just some licensing questions. This would
obviously be an issue for commercial use, but not really for personal
use.

But, that's really neither here nor there; my point is that linux (like
MySQL) was for a very long time significantly inferior to the *BSD's.
The only advantage it offered was it would run on cheap hardware. For a
long time it was largely (and perhaps rightfully) poo-poo'd by FreeBSD
developers.

Now, FreeBSD (the largest of the BSDs) can only dream of having the
amount of development effort available to linux, even including all the
work that Apple is putting into BSD and Darwin.

> > Why should this matter to PostgreSQL and it's users? Because if MySQL
> > becomes the defacto open source database, that means it will be much
> > more difficult to use PostgreSQL in professional environments, and that
> > many people who might have developed for PostgreSQL will end up
> > developing for MySQL.
>
> That seems unlikely to happen with the owners of MySQL threatening users
> with money to cough some up or risk being sued.

We can always hope they eat the goose that laid their golden egg... :)

> I don't think the open source database market is going to be reduced to
> effectively one system any time soon.

Soon? No. But I strongly suspect that given the current situation, MySQL
will eventually be the defacto OSS database, just as linux has become
the defacto OSS OS. This is already happening despite all it's technical
flaws, and will only get worse as those flaws get 'fixed'.

> The main problem I see is that some applications have been developed such
> that they are tied to MySQL (either form using its quirks extensively or
> being designed so that performance sucks on other databases) so that we
> are stuck running some MySQL servers to run these applications. However
> just because we run them to support specific applications (e.g. Horde),
> doesn't mean we need or want to develop are own applications using
> MySQL.

This is a perfect example of why MySQL could end up as the linux of
databases. People write applications that depend on MySQL because it's
'what everyone else does'. They don't use any kind of abstraction layer
because it's 'what everyone else does'. And they don't understand things
like why ACID is important, because 'nobody else does'.

I've run into numerous people who are 'stuck' with MySQL, because it's
too hard to migrate. As one person recently put it, "I wish MySQL sucked
more, because then it would be easy to decide to migrate. But it's just
barely OK for what we need, so we stick with it."

Fortunately, word is slowly getting around that PostgreSQL is better
than MySQL, but I suspect it's too little too late. While I expect MySQL
5.0 to still suffer from serious flaws, it will remove a lot of the
shortcommings that are easy to point out and easy to understand why
they're so bad. This makes it more and more difficult to convince people
that PostgreSQL is a better choice, because people love to follow the
herd.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Joshua D. Drake
In reply to this post by Alexey Borzov
> I'd hate to see the analog of Zend in PostgreSQL world.
>
> Zend's business model is beneficial for them, but bad for PHP community.
> The classic example is absence of bytecode compilation (available in all
> other major scripting languages) in default PHP. To get this you need to
> pay money to Zend for Super Advanced Zend Enterprise Ready Accelerator

No you don't. PHP is BSD style licensed just like PostgreSQL. If you
want Super Advanced Zend Enterprise Ready Accelerator and don't want to
pay for it, you can create your own and several already have.

> Platform Plus, or whatever the thing is called now. The guys have a
> sh*tload of engine level bugs in the language and refuse to fix them,

Again BSD style license, anyone can jump in at any time and fix them.

> Maybe Zend is making inroads into the enterprise, but they are damaging
> their ecosystem in the process, by alienating the developers [1] that
> are building the major Open Source applications in and around PHP.

How are they damaging "their" ecosystem. It isn't "their" ecosystem, it
is the PHP communities, Zend is just one (albeit powerful within the
community) member.

If people were truly unhappy with the direction of PHP somebody would
fork it, fix it, and create PHP++.

The unfortunate part is that most PHP programmers don't care or don't
have the skills required to fix the problems.

I am not saying Zend is a good or bad company, I honestly don't know but
your arguments don't make sense to me.



Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake


--
Your PostgreSQL solutions provider, Command Prompt, Inc.
24x7 support - 1.800.492.2240, programming, and consulting
Home of PostgreSQL Replicator, plPHP, plPerlNG and pgPHPToolkit
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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
In reply to this post by Mitch Pirtle
On Fri, Jul 22, 2005 at 07:34:57PM -0400, Mitch Pirtle wrote:
> Say I am wanting to produce a commercial product, and want to license
> an open-source database to cash in on the whole open source trend as
> well as lower costs. I want to have a license, so that I can also use
> that license as part of the marketing approach to show that this is a
> 'legitimate' product. With MySQL I can do that, but with PostgreSQL
> who can I go to?

In this example, I believe there is a legal entity that owns the
PostgreSQL license, so that's who you would go to. Though that entity
isn't very well advertised...

Of course, this example is pretty pointless because the whole purpose
behind the BSD license is that you can do whatever you want with
PostgreSQL (unlike MySQL).

> And if I am someone wanting to learn database programming, there are
> tons of open source databases out there to choose from. Which one do I
> choose? One factor for me will be the commercial value of my skills
> that I develop, as if I cannot make money at my trade then this is
> just a hobby.

I suspect that PostgreSQL contractors make more money than MySQL ones.
And Oracle ones certainly make even more still.

> What I'd love to see for PostgreSQL is a more aggressive push on the
> business side, to get PostgreSQL into the same enterprise accounts
> that MySQL is starting to get into. Like Zend is to PHP, who is
> analogous in the PostgreSQL world?

Well, that's part of what many of the commercial companies with some
form of a PostgreSQL offering hope to do. EnterpriseDB is a good
example; their Oracle compatability is clearly targeted at large
business users.

But the problem is that grassroots OSS movements change the market once
they get large enough. 10, or even 5 years ago it was impossible to get
linux into big business, for many of the reasons you mentioned. But
that's changed, even though *BSD was technically superior. It changed
because there was a virtual army of linux users who wanted very badly to
be able to use linux at work. MySQL has more 'foot-soldiers' than
PostgreSQL does, even if a lot of them are alienated.

I think we need to do 2 things to ensure PostgreSQL doesn't get
relegated to niche status. First, we need to counter MySQL's FUD. MySQL
has a laundry-list of 'companies that are using mysql', even though it
doesn't mean anything more than they've got it sitting on a server
somewhere. Of course there's also they're misrepresentive benchmarks.

Second (and probably more important), we need to make it easier for
people to migrate to PostgreSQL from MySQL. There's a sizeable number of
people who would like to migrate things off of MySQL if it wasn't so
difficult, and hard to do incrementally. Adding support for some MySQL
features (such as enum and tinyint), making it easy for PostgreSQL
databases to talk to MySQL databases (perhaps via dblink), and providing
methods to connect to PostgreSQL without having to tear out big chunks
of un-abstracted code are some things that would help here.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Joshua D. Drake
In reply to this post by Joshua D. Drake

>
> One problem with that is: where do people go when they want to find out
> about PostgreSQL and MySQL? To the websites. Currently, MySQL has 1/4 of
> their front page dedicated to "Discover how Global 2000 companies are
> cutting their database costs by 90%". And "Over six million

MySQL is a company. PostgreSQL is not. We will never as a community be
able to compete with MySQL as a company.

It is not the job of the community to **market**, advocate yes, market no.
It is the job of the commercial entities such as Command Prompt, SRA,
GreenPlum, Pervasive and PgSQL, Inc. to do marketing.

> installations use MySQL to power high-volume Web sites and other
> critical business systems — including industry-leaders like The
> Associated Press, Yahoo, NASA, Sabre Holdings and Suzuki." Our site has
> nothing like that.

Neither does Linux.Org, but Redhat and Novell do.

> Of course it's easy for a commercial company to hire a full-time MarCom
> person (or team), but given the number of commercial companies
> supporting PostgreSQL we should be able to do just as good a job at
> messaging, if not better. Heck, I bet even the 'small' companies
> supporting PostgreSQL together are larger than MySQL AB, let alone
> companies like Fujitsu.

This if I recall is what the PostgreSQL Foundation is for. It should also
be noted that companies are marketing more and more with PostgreSQL. Look
at the press that EnterpriseDB has gotten. Heck even Greenplum and
Command Prompt have been picked up recently without Command Prompt (I
don't know about Greenplum) doing anything to solicit the pick up.

In a way I prefer the PostgreSQL marketing because the MySQL marketing
is just that... All the press they get isn't press seeking them out, it
is MySQL seeking out the press, soliciting interviews, whitepapers etc...

Why doesn't the press (for the most part) do that with PostgreSQL?
Because PostgreSQL is not a commercial entity. PostgreSQL is not an
advertiser. PostgreSQL is just another Open Source project. Everytime
PostgreSQL gets picked up by the press it is because of the general work
and quality of the PostgreSQL product.

Most of the time that MySQL gets picked up it is because somebody in a
tie, called another guy in a tie, who forced some poor journalist to
write about something he really has no clue about, just to spout FUD
about everybody BUT MySQL.

Sincerely,

Joshua D. Drake












--
Your PostgreSQL solutions provider, Command Prompt, Inc.
24x7 support - 1.800.492.2240, programming, and consulting
Home of PostgreSQL Replicator, plPHP, plPerlNG and pgPHPToolkit
http://www.commandprompt.com / http://www.postgresql.org

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Robert Treat
In reply to this post by Decibel!
On Saturday 23 July 2005 12:43, Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> I think we need to do 2 things to ensure PostgreSQL doesn't get
> relegated to niche status.

as a side question, do you feel BSD is a niche operating system?

> First, we need to counter MySQL's FUD. MySQL
> has a laundry-list of 'companies that are using mysql', even though it
> doesn't mean anything more than they've got it sitting on a server
> somewhere. Of course there's also they're misrepresentive benchmarks.
>

pgsql inc has something like this, a registered users site (or at least they
used to).  I have on my todo to convert that into something for the main www
site, but it's gonna be awhile before I get to it. Of course if anyone is
interested in picking it up, shoot me an email.

(BTW, calling the my$ql customer list FUD is rather harsh, afaik all of the
companies listed there are customers of my$ql, and the oss projects do
support my$ql.)

> Second (and probably more important), we need to make it easier for
> people to migrate to PostgreSQL from MySQL. There's a sizeable number of
> people who would like to migrate things off of MySQL if it wasn't so
> difficult, and hard to do incrementally. Adding support for some MySQL
> features (such as enum and tinyint), making it easy for PostgreSQL
> databases to talk to MySQL databases (perhaps via dblink), and providing
> methods to connect to PostgreSQL without having to tear out big chunks
> of un-abstracted code are some things that would help here.

I always get concerned when things devolve into a pg vs my$ql scenario.  What
I think we need to do is make it easier for people to convert from $ql $erver
and oracle to postgresql.  They have larger user bases and have folks willing
to pay for development/support.  If we can make it simple enough that 50% of
the people using my$ql all switch to postgres, but my$ql goes after the
corporations and gets 50% of them to switch to my$ql, were not going to come
out on top.

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

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Alexey Borzov
In reply to this post by Joshua D. Drake
Hi,

Joshua D. Drake wrote:
>> Zend's business model is beneficial for them, but bad for PHP
>> community. The classic example is absence of bytecode compilation
>> (available in all other major scripting languages) in default PHP. To
>> get this you need to pay money to Zend for Super Advanced Zend
>> Enterprise Ready Accelerator
>
> No you don't. PHP is BSD style licensed just like PostgreSQL. If you
> want Super Advanced Zend Enterprise Ready Accelerator and don't want to
> pay for it, you can create your own and several already have.

First of all, PHP is two parts: there is language itself licensed under BSD-like
license and there is Zend engine (virtual machine running the bytecode) licensed
under QPL-like license. Which essentially means that commercial "forks" of PHP
are feasible only if you use some other virtual machine. This is a huge
difference to pure-BSD PostgreSQL with its multiple forks.

Of course I know about existing accelerators, but they are third party addons,
in other languages this is built-in feature. Why does Command Prompt sell
*integrated* replication solution?

>> Platform Plus, or whatever the thing is called now. The guys have a
>> sh*tload of engine level bugs in the language and refuse to fix them,
>
> Again BSD style license, anyone can jump in at any time and fix them.

Ah, the classic line: send in the patches. The Ultimate Open Source Argument
That Should Make The Opponent Shut Up Immediately And Crawl Away. My point was
that Zend employs the best experts on PHP internals but these experts are busy
doing stuff that brings money.

>> Maybe Zend is making inroads into the enterprise, but they are
>> damaging their ecosystem in the process, by alienating the developers
>> [1] that are building the major Open Source applications in and around
>> PHP.
>
> How are they damaging "their" ecosystem. It isn't "their" ecosystem, it
> is the PHP communities, Zend is just one (albeit powerful within the
> community) member.
>
> If people were truly unhappy with the direction of PHP somebody would
> fork it, fix it, and create PHP++.

See above. There is (was?) a project to run PHP on Parrot virtual machine, that
may even some day become your PHP++.

> The unfortunate part is that most PHP programmers don't care or don't
> have the skills required to fix the problems.

The unfortunate part is that most Java programmers don't care or don't have the
skills required to fix bugs in a Java virtual machine.

The unfortunate part is that most DBMS administrators don't care or don't have
the skills required to fix bugs in their DBMS.

Er, what was your point, again?

> I am not saying Zend is a good or bad company, I honestly don't know but
> your arguments don't make sense to me.

OK, once again: though PHP-the-language is BSD-like licensed, there is a crucial
part of infrastructure needed to run it which is owned by a company. And this
company obviously cares more about selling their products than about making the
language they depend upon better. Why give something for free when you can sell it?

To sum it up:
a) Zend example does not apply to PostgreSQL for reasons described above;
b) Even if it did apply, that's hardly an example we'd like to follow.

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
In reply to this post by Joshua D. Drake
On Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 11:19:26AM -0700, Joshua D. Drake wrote:
> Most of the time that MySQL gets picked up it is because somebody in a
> tie, called another guy in a tie, who forced some poor journalist to
> write about something he really has no clue about, just to spout FUD
> about everybody BUT MySQL.

And you don't think that's worth countering?

Yes, PostgreSQL isn't technically a company. But the fact remains that
when people look at both websites, they see a whole bunch of success
stories about MySQL on their site, and next to nothing of the kind on
the PostgreSQL site. I find it hard to believe that this doesn't make
MySQL look like a better choice ("Wow, look at all these companies that
are using it!")

Understand that I'm not suggesting changes to the community, or even
legal entites. What I'm saying is that while it's good that individual
companies are getting press about their PostgreSQL offerings, there's
not really anything that makes it easy for people to see that. Putting
case studies from these individual companies on http://postgresql.org
would be a good start towards fixing this. Publishing prominent
customers would help as well.

Put another way, MySQL is making a well planned, coordinated effort to
gain market share as an OSS database. PostgreSQL has no such effort, and
without it I believe it's headed down the road to eventual obscurity.
Yet if there was some cooperation between the community and the numerous
commercial companies, the message of PostgreSQL, and why it's actually
*better* than MySQL, would be out there for everyone to see.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Decibel!
In reply to this post by Robert Treat
On Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 02:27:51PM -0400, Robert Treat wrote:
> On Saturday 23 July 2005 12:43, Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> > I think we need to do 2 things to ensure PostgreSQL doesn't get
> > relegated to niche status.
>
> as a side question, do you feel BSD is a niche operating system?

All things considered, yes. This is especially true outside of ISP's.
But, there's something even more important than userbase, and that's
development effort. I think it's pretty easy to see that linux is
clearly ahead of *BSD there.

> > First, we need to counter MySQL's FUD. MySQL
> > has a laundry-list of 'companies that are using mysql', even though it
> > doesn't mean anything more than they've got it sitting on a server
> > somewhere. Of course there's also they're misrepresentive benchmarks.
> >
>
> pgsql inc has something like this, a registered users site (or at least they
> used to).  I have on my todo to convert that into something for the main www
> site, but it's gonna be awhile before I get to it. Of course if anyone is
> interested in picking it up, shoot me an email.

Maybe put the code in pg-foundry so it's easy for people to help?

> (BTW, calling the my$ql customer list FUD is rather harsh, afaik all of the
> companies listed there are customers of my$ql, and the oss projects do
> support my$ql.)

I didn't mean that the customer list was FUD (even though it came across
that way). What is FUD is a lot of their benchmarks, etc. that show them
to be superior to other databases. There is also a lot of FUD around
MySQL in the OSS community. I've actually seen websites *apologize* for
using PostgreSQL (since they needed minor features like subqueries and
views).

> > Second (and probably more important), we need to make it easier for
> > people to migrate to PostgreSQL from MySQL. There's a sizeable number of
> > people who would like to migrate things off of MySQL if it wasn't so
> > difficult, and hard to do incrementally. Adding support for some MySQL
> > features (such as enum and tinyint), making it easy for PostgreSQL
> > databases to talk to MySQL databases (perhaps via dblink), and providing
> > methods to connect to PostgreSQL without having to tear out big chunks
> > of un-abstracted code are some things that would help here.
>
> I always get concerned when things devolve into a pg vs my$ql scenario.  What
> I think we need to do is make it easier for people to convert from $ql $erver
> and oracle to postgresql.  They have larger user bases and have folks willing
> to pay for development/support.  If we can make it simple enough that 50% of
> the people using my$ql all switch to postgres, but my$ql goes after the
> corporations and gets 50% of them to switch to my$ql, were not going to come
> out on top.

I absolutely agree that we should be assisting in the migration from
Oracle and MSSQL, but there's already a good amount of focus on that (as
well there should be).

But I think it's also folly not to promote MySQL->PostgreSQL migration.
The only advantage MySQL has over PostgreSQL is the size of the user
community. More users means more tools means more apps written for MySQL
means more users, etc. Many times people start off on MySQL then find
themselves wishing they hadn't once they get some exposure to
PostgreSQL. Yet they stay with MySQL because of how difficult it would
be to migrate. So they stay MySQL users, giving MySQL more momentum.

Fortunately, since MySQL is a fairly simple database, it wouldn't be
too difficult to offer features that would greatly ease migration. Even
some simple things like providing an equivalent to enum would probably
go a long way.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant               [hidden email]
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

Windows: "Where do you want to go today?"
Linux: "Where do you want to go tomorrow?"
FreeBSD: "Are you guys coming, or what?"

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Re: [HACKERS] Enticing interns to PostgreSQL

Robert Treat
On Saturday 23 July 2005 16:15, Jim C. Nasby wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 02:27:51PM -0400, Robert Treat wrote:
> > On Saturday 23 July 2005 12:43, Jim C. Nasby wrote:
> > > I think we need to do 2 things to ensure PostgreSQL doesn't get
> > > relegated to niche status.
> >
> > as a side question, do you feel BSD is a niche operating system?
>
> All things considered, yes. This is especially true outside of ISP's.
> But, there's something even more important than userbase, and that's
> development effort. I think it's pretty easy to see that linux is
> clearly ahead of *BSD there.

Ah, but this is one of the advantages we have over my$ql that bsd did not have
over linux, which is that we are able to better harness the development
efforts of our community than my$ql is.  Between the GPL license, and more
importantly the tight copyright controls around the my$ql code base, it just
isn't feasible for companies to jump in and extend thier system. That
development has to be done in house, but with us it can be done from any
number of sources.  This isn't that bsd doesnt have these aspects, but linux
had them as well, so there was no advantage there. In the long run we have a
big advantage over my$ql in this area.

>
> > > First, we need to counter MySQL's FUD. MySQL
> > > has a laundry-list of 'companies that are using mysql', even though it
> > > doesn't mean anything more than they've got it sitting on a server
> > > somewhere. Of course there's also they're misrepresentive benchmarks.
> >
> > pgsql inc has something like this, a registered users site (or at least
> > they used to).  I have on my todo to convert that into something for the
> > main www site, but it's gonna be awhile before I get to it. Of course if
> > anyone is interested in picking it up, shoot me an email.
>
> Maybe put the code in pg-foundry so it's easy for people to help?
>

Heh, let's rehash this again eh? The code is on gborg, there is even a
question in the FAQ pointing people to the project and mailing lists for
people who are interested in contributing.  

>
> > > Second (and probably more important), we need to make it easier for
> > > people to migrate to PostgreSQL from MySQL. There's a sizeable number
> > > of people who would like to migrate things off of MySQL if it wasn't so
> > > difficult, and hard to do incrementally. Adding support for some MySQL
> > > features (such as enum and tinyint), making it easy for PostgreSQL
> > > databases to talk to MySQL databases (perhaps via dblink), and
> > > providing methods to connect to PostgreSQL without having to tear out
> > > big chunks of un-abstracted code are some things that would help here.
> >
> > I always get concerned when things devolve into a pg vs my$ql scenario.
> > What I think we need to do is make it easier for people to convert from
> > $ql $erver and oracle to postgresql.  They have larger user bases and
> > have folks willing to pay for development/support.  If we can make it
> > simple enough that 50% of the people using my$ql all switch to postgres,
> > but my$ql goes after the corporations and gets 50% of them to switch to
> > my$ql, were not going to come out on top.
>
> I absolutely agree that we should be assisting in the migration from
> Oracle and MSSQL, but there's already a good amount of focus on that (as
> well there should be).
>
> But I think it's also folly not to promote MySQL->PostgreSQL migration.
> The only advantage MySQL has over PostgreSQL is the size of the user
> community. More users means more tools means more apps written for MySQL
> means more users, etc. Many times people start off on MySQL then find
> themselves wishing they hadn't once they get some exposure to
> PostgreSQL. Yet they stay with MySQL because of how difficult it would
> be to migrate. So they stay MySQL users, giving MySQL more momentum.
>

I'm not saying we don't want people to convert, but if the end goal is to
increase the user base, why go after a small piece of the pie? I think that
the $ql$erver/oracle user bases are signifigantly larger than my$qls that it
offsets an ease of convincing that you might have when dealing with my$ql
users.

> Fortunately, since MySQL is a fairly simple database, it wouldn't be
> too difficult to offer features that would greatly ease migration. Even
> some simple things like providing an equivalent to enum would probably
> go a long way.

I can see why people like enum, but its just not a sound way to do things.
It's kind of like how they do timestamps, sure its handy in some scenarios,
but just dumb in others. I don't think your ever going to see these features
put into mainline postgresql. Maybe you can get enterprisedb to code up a
"uppsala" mode, but outside of that I think you'd just be better off making a
website listing specific my$ql features, why people find fault in them, and
then how to work around them in pg.

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

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