Subject: Re: "I've got more programmers than you"
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 14:57:57 -0700
Wed, 3 Oct 2001 14:57:57 -0700
on Wed, Oct 03, 2001 at 01:51:14PM -0700, Ian Lance Taylor ( wrote:
> Peter Wayner <> writes:
> > I've spoken to the people who make MySQL and they're quite upfront
> > about the strengths and weaknesses of the tool. One explained it with
> > a metaphors about cars, trucks, SUVs etc. Corvettes and Unimogs have
> > different market niches. One is not better than the other.
> >   The same is true about databases. The good news for MySQL and
> > Postgres is that there's a large niche for them. Many websites need a
> > fast, basic database.
> I believe that part of the reason this discussion keeps on going and
> going and going is that there is a terminology problem.  People mean
> different things by the words ``database'' and ``RDBMS.''

My terminology suggstion, largely drawn from online dictionaries (FOLDOC
and others):

  database:  a collection of data, an organized body of related

  online database:  a database accessible via electronic means.
  RDBMS:  a relational database.  From the work of E.F. Codd:  A
      relational database allows the definition of data structures,
      storage, and retrieval operations and integrity constraints.
      Often implemented with SQL query / maintenance / programming

  ACID:  a mnemonic for the properties a transaction should have to
      satisfy the object management group transaction service
      specifications.  A transaction should be Atomic, its result
      should be Consistent, Isolated (independent of other transactions)
      and Durable (its effect should be permanent).

While a brief search doesn't turn up a good definition of "transactional
database", I'd posit:  an RDBMS with ACID properties.

A database can be virtually anything that holds data in an organize
fashion:  an email archive, text files, a file cabinet, a library.

I think the current discussion is revolving around RDBMS systems with
and without ACID properties.  Making these distinctions clear would
benefit the conversation.


Karsten M. Self <>
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