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Oracle Pulls the Rug Out From Under PostgreSQL

Before the Oracle acquisition, Sun was contributing three servers to the build farm for the PostgreSQL project to test updates and ensure stability on Solaris.  Even though PostgreSQL was technically a competitor to Sun's MySQL, the company still supported development of the project and contributed DTrace support and other features to the platform.  This week, Oracle pulled the plug on those servers with no warning, causing a frantic search for new hosts.  This report first surfaced on the Australian business site, iTNews.

The move by Oracle seemed spiteful based on iTnews' interview with Andrew Dunstan who built the PostgreSQL build farm.  "If they had given us, say, three months warning, I'd have been less peeved," said Dunstan. "It can't have been costing them much - the thing pretty much runs itself, and they can't be short on hardware."  Dunstan said he "suspects" that Oracle does see PostgreSQL as a competitor, not only to their newly acquired MySQL database, but also to their proprietary one, Oracle DB.    Dunstan added however, "We are friendly rivals, not deadly enemies…  I have many friends and acquaintances in the MySQL world."

"Since I have personally been involved in migrating large apps from Oracle to PostgreSQL,  I can understand why they [Oracle] might feel like [competitors]," said Duntan, "but in the open source community, we try to be a bit less dog-eat-dog." 

It's possible that Oracle could be alarmed by the reports of more migrations from Oracle and MySQL to PostgreSQL, especially since the project recently unleashed PostgreSQL 9.0, which has some pretty great features.  EnterpriseDB is the commercial backer for PostgreSQL and a vendor of open core products based on the DB.  They say that monthly downloads of their PostgreSQL migration tool have gone up from 5k in early 2009 to 8k in November 2009.  It's hard to believe that this would be the petty motivation behind Oracle's sudden seizure of the machines.  

Luckily for the PostgreSQL project, EnterpriseDB has stepped forward with the servers to protect the development of their core technology.  Before today, they provided  4 Windows machines for the build farm, and today they stepped in with two Solaris Sparc machines to make up for the lost Oracle iron.  Dave Page, an employee of EnterpriseDB, is working on deploying two additional Solaris Intel machines, and two running Windows 7.  All of the hardware is coming from EnterpriseDB.   

PostgreSQL is used by Yahoo, Skype, MySpace, and many other organizations and independent developers.  
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