[vworld-tech] free SQL DBs

ceo ceo at grexengine.com
Thu Jan 22 11:44:37 PST 2004

Brian Hook wrote:
>>Why pay for MySQL Pro when PostgreSQL offers transactions and is
>>open source and free?
> I haven't seen any really good analysis of MySQL vs. postgreSQL that 
> wasn't, shall we say, biased one way or another.  The sentiment I've 
> seen is that postgreSQL is more stable but significantly less 
> documented.
> If anyone has information to offer on that, I'd love to hear it.

Well, PostgreSQL is under the nice, friendly BSD license, whereas MySQL 
uses the evil, hated GPL (ducks and runs for cover) :).

You were correct earlier in hypothesising that the GPL doesn't affect 
you so long as you don't distribute the results (or, at least, that's 
what the lawyers have told me before...), so there is probably no 
difference to *you* w.r.t. licenses, apart from the loss of "potential" 
flexibility in the future...

MySQL still hasn't got stored-procedures working (nb: the first version 
with these went into alpha earlier THIS MONTH), so it still can't be 
regarded as a "serious" DB. Even fairly recent versions have contained 
truly shocking performance-bugs and fundamental system-bugs, so that 
upgrading to the latest-version-of-everything is a necessity, not an 
option (nb: this has applied to the official xDBC drivers as well, 
depending on language; but the latest versions also tend to have a few 
"shouldn't have released this code" heart-stopping bugs too).

In summary, using MySQL in production systems is a bit like having a 
brand-new nVidia card - you foam at the mouth with anticipation of each 
new point release, then spend a while discovering whatever new bugs have 
been introduced, before making the decision of how many versions you're 
going to have to downgrade again to get the working set of features you 
need :).

If/when you know all the do's and don'ts of MySQL, and can live with 
second-rate performance (nb: if you're used to Oracle, prepare for a few 
shocks) it's really good: reliable *and* fast. FWIW, in the year we've 
run live systems off MySQL, we've never had *any* problems with it 
*once* we'd learnt enough of the gotchas etc. This sounds eerily like 
I'm describing MS software...

Personally, if I wanted to use MySQL and had the option of waiting, I'd 
leave it another 12 months and re-evaluate whatever version they've got 
by then (and how far they've got with integrating and fixing stored procs).


More information about the vworld-tech mailing list