Gennick: One advantage that PostgreSQL has long held over MySQL--the other open source database--is that PostgreSQL supports transactions and concurrency and related things that people have come to expect in a database. Now that MySQL has transactional support, do you expect interest in PostgreSQL to decline? If not, why not? After all, MySQL does seem to be more widely used.
Drake: We don't see interest in PostgreSQL declining. In fact, we see it growing. We get customers every week calling us about migrating from MySQL to PostgreSQL. To be fair to MySQL, PostgreSQL and MySQL are different products. You really can't compare them as it is almost like apples and oranges. Yes, they are both databases, but only PostgreSQL is an Object Relational Database. MySQL has increased its capabilities of late but there are still significant features it lacks. Here is a brief, albeit incomplete list of the features MySQL does not have that PostgreSQL does:
- Sub Selects
- Triggers and Views
- Full Joins
- Constraints (Although I believe this has been fixed with InnoDB)
- Atomic Updates
- Multiversion Concurrency Control
Some of these have been added with the 4.0 release, which is still in development. I don't want to sound negative about MySQL. It has a strong following for a reason: it is reasonably good at what it does and until about 18 to 24 months ago it really was a better solution (for simple database stuff) than PostgreSQL. However, over the last two years, PostgreSQL has really come into its own and from our experience provides a much better overall solution than MySQL for most database application development.
Gennick: Do you have any idea who has the largest PostgreSQL database and how big it is?
Drake: We are aware of an American Chemical Society database that is over a terabyte. We have several customers that are in the multigigabyte (10GB to 50GB) range and just recently BASF joined the PostgreSQL bandwagon as well.
Gennick: You mention BASF. Are they one of your clients? Why do you say they "joined the bandwagon"? Are they doing something special or unusual with PostgreSQL?
No, they are not one of our customers, but I know that they recently signed a five-year PostgreSQL support contract with a PostgreSQL support company.
Gennick: Do you recall which support company that was?
Drake: Web Commerce Group.
Gennick: What big improvements can we expect to see in the near future with respect to PostgreSQL? When is the next major release scheduled? When will we see PostgreSQL 8.0?
The next major release will be PostgreSQL 7.3, and it's planned for September 2002. However, it is important to realize that the PostgreSQL team follows the, "We release when it's done." motto quite religiously. There are currently no plans for an 8.0. Not that development will stop, just that we will probably be in the 7 series for some time.
In reference to features, we will see the standard items such as:
- Better performance
- Increased stability
But there has also been reference to:
- Schema support
- Replication support (for which we are working on a solution as well)
Gennick: Schema support, what's that?
Drake: I believe it is the equivalent of namespaces in Oracle. To be honest, I am not yet sure of the benefit.
For reliability reasons we tend to stick with current production-quality source only. That is one of the reasons we waited for 7.2.1 before we released Mammoth. At 7.2 we began testing, and released at 7.2.1. We won't worry about 7.3 until it comes out, then when 7.3.1 hits you will see a new version of Mammoth.