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2003/01/08 - Bruce Momjian


An interview conducted by Alain Buret
Alain Buret - First and traditionnal question : please present yourself

Bruce Momjian - You can pick this up from my home page, particularly the Resume page. Text at bottom is:

Bruce Momjian is a co-founder of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, and has worked on PostgreSQL since 1996. He is the author of PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts, published by Addison-Wesley. Bruce is employed by SRA (Tokyo, Japan) in their PostgreSQL support division. Previously, he was vice-president of Database Development at Great Bridge LLC, another PostgreSQL support company. He has spoken at many international open-source conferences. Prior to his involvement with PostgreSQL, Bruce worked as a consultant, developing custom database applications for some of the world's largest law firms. Prior to this, he was a high school computer science teacher and holds a Masters in Education.

Alain Buret - Can you give a little history about your PostgreSQL history ? I mean, you did not wake up a morning and said : "I'll be a PostgreSQL core developer" ?

Bruce Momjian - In 1996, I had been using SQL databases for 7 years, and wanted an SQL database on my Unix machine. I tried mSQL, but that didn't have the same features I was used to in commercial databases. Postgres95 had just recently been released as Berkeley Postgres with an SQL interface. I tried that and it worked pretty well, but there were lots of bugs, and there wasn't a group collecting them to generate new releases. Merc Fournier and I got that group together, and that's how PostgreSQL started.

Alain Buret - You're not the only developer and there are plenty things to do around PostgreSQL. Can you present us the other people and aspects of this project, like documentation, ...

Bruce Momjian - Well, we are very distributed, in the sense we don't even have predefined roles for people. We have a core committee, but they are mostly there for conflict resolution. All our work is done in the open, on mailing lists, where people ask questions, submit bugs, and post patches.

We do have a web page listing some of the major contributors :

Alain Buret - How does the databases world evolve ? What are the main improvements made these 5 years in general, and particulary for PostgrSQL ?

Bruce Momjian - Well, that's a big question. I would say our first few years involved fixing server crashes and fixing things that clearly were broken. In more recent years, we have focused on improving functionality, standards compliance, and performance.

Alain Buret - You are the vice-president of Great Bridge, a PostgreSQL support company : what kind of clients have you ? Have you been hit by the "dot-com dot-gone" crash ?

Bruce Momjian - Well, Great Bridge is already dot-gone. I work for SRA/Japan now. See my biography listed above. SRA/Japan supports PostgreSQL users in Japan. We have very good saturation in that country.

Alain Buret - PostgreSQL is always compared to MySQL : I will not ask you which one is the best, but what are the main differences between them ?

Bruce Momjian - In a few words, PostgreSQL is more like Oracle, and MySQL is more like MS-Access --- at least that's how it was put by several other people. PostgreSQL focuses on standards compliance and on the needs of enterprise sites, while MySQL focuses on performance and is more concentrated on web-based apps.

Alain Buret - Last question : what did you attend from your FOSDEM presentation ?

Bruce Momjian - Uh, I haven't attended yet. What is the question, exactly ?


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