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Observations From the Southern California Linux Expo
Written by Joe Conway

I am a long term advocate and contributor to the PostgreSQL database project. This open source community is not owned or even dominated by a single company. As such, this past weekend I spent pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday as a volunteer answering questions at the PostgreSQL booth in the SCALE 8X (Southern California Linux Expo) exposition hall. There were two recurring themes among the visitors that I spoke with:


  1. Fear with respect to the future of MySQL in the wake of Oracle's purchase of Sun
  2. Excitement with respect to PostgreSQL 9.0 (i.e. the next release) finally having a form of built-in replication


The most common question by far was some variation of:


  • Why should I use PostgreSQL instead of MySQL?


The interesting thing is that many people were anxious about MySQL and very eager to learn about PostgreSQL due to #1, and once informed about #2 they were basically joyous. Often the rest of the discussion was icing on the cake.


Beyond that, there were many follow up questions that could be summarized as:


  • What are the advanced features of Postgres?


A good number of people were sold as soon as they were told about PL/perl, PL/Python, PL/R, etc. There were several good discussions about advanced data analytics and appropriate use of cryptography for data storage.


Overall, the interest was very high. Pretty much all day Saturday there were at least three PostgreSQL people answering questions without a break the entire day. By contrast there was an Oracle booth directly across the way with one guy who was often lonely.


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