Subject: Re: "I've got more programmers than you"
From: Peter Wayner <>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 16:17:18 -0400

>True.  And if I was running a bank, and I caught my DBAs debugging
>PostgreSQL instead of buying Oracle and debugging my apps, I'd be
>mighty upset.  It's just not good business sense to do RDBMS
>development if a perfectly good one can be bought off the shelf.  Now,
>if PostgreSQL _already_ was similar quality, then I don't see how
>Oracle could survive.  But it isn't, and I think Oracle is pretty safe.

Well, I guess we're different. I spoke with one fellow who added a 
custom datatype for his company in a day. It wasn't that custom (a 
version of floating point), but it added a tremendous amount of speed 
because it avoided converting old data. He was able to do it because 
he could get at the Postgres code. He's sent in the changes and they 
may make it into a future version.

Oracle may have a kazillion features, but sometimes you need one 
that's not in the set. Sure, the database is customizable. You can 
just add another layer that converts into Oracle's internal format. 
That's not a bad solution. Computer power is cheap. But I think 
adding a custom datatype is pretty cool-- if you're able to do it in 
the right way.

I'm not saying one solution is correct. Paying Oracle can be cheaper 
than custom programming, but I think the reverse is also true. Some 
custom programming can save you a fortune in hardware costs.

I would also like to note that I've used MySQL for several websites. 
It's been rock solid. Amazing, really. I don't use many cool features 
so it is indistinguishable from Oracle for me. Oracle may be better 
in some metric, but not by measuring my failure rate.

So, I see the value in proprietary databases, but I've also 
experienced the pleasure of open source solutions for 
non-super-critical tasks.