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The Japanese company, folding Windows as well as Linux and other open source into its mix of strategy, will support the BSD-based PostgreSQL database with code contributions and underwriting development that will be a part of version 7.5 of the database, PostgreSQL core team member Josh Berkus said. It is expected to be available before the end of the year.
Berkus said Fujitsu, which brought in $45 billion last year, is the largest company to contribute directly to PostreSQL to date, adding that the PostgreSQL community expects its relationship with Fujitsu to continue for "at least the next few years."
"We're delighted to have Fujitsu involved with PostgreSQL development in such a meaningful way," said Bruce Momjian, PostgreSQL core steering committee member and employee of Software Research Associates, which is partnering with Fujitsu for the underwriting effort. "By sponsoring the work of key individuals in our community, they are accelerating the pace of development of key features required for the enterprise."Fujitsu beats feature freeze
While Berkus referred to a July 1 freeze on features for the next version of the database, he reported three new features in PosgreSQL -- Tablespaces, Nested Transactions, and Java support -- that are being underwritten by Fujitsu in partnership with Tokyo-based SRA will be included in version 7.5.
"Much of this new functionality will be present in the forthcoming release of PostgreSQL, which is shaping up as the most significant new release of the software since version 7.0 almost four years ago," Berkus said, referring to full point-in-time recovery and two-phase commit, data integrity and scalability improvements, native Windows edition, and solutions for high availability, clustering, and replication currently being developed for different user requirements.
Berkus described the new Fujitsu-formed features as follows:
"Coupled with enhancements to the JDBC driver [for Java database connectivity], PostgreSQL will now have enterprise-class support for Java at several layers of the technology stack," Berkus said.Part of enterprise entree
The new features will be available in the main open source PostgreSQL database, available for free download from the group's site. Fujitsu will also continue to work with SRA on an enhanced PostgreSQL package under the PowerGres and PowerGres Pro brands in Japan and worldwide.Tom Szolnoky, a senior program manager at Fujitsu's Australian subsidiary concurred that the Japanese company is looking for a long-term relationship with and expanded enterprise horizons for PostreSQL.
"We would like to continue to grow our involvement with the PostreSQL community in the areas of relationships, collaboration, and commensurate funding sponsorship," Szolnoky said. "Our objective is to make PostgreSQL enterprise ready."
Berkus said although no release date has been set, adding that "it's an OSS project, we don't believe in fixed schedules, you know" -- and that PostgreSQL 7.5 will not be ready until all of the bugs are eliminated and regression testing is done, the community has hopes of "catching up with the big proprietary databases."
"If all of the currently testing features make it, we'll have eliminated half the features that separate us from Oracle, Sybase Enterprise, or DB2, making PostgreSQL an even better contender for high-end database products," Berkus said.
Berkus also highlighted the forthcoming Windows port of PostgreSQL, which is expected to bring the group thousands of new users.
"I've been told that the current beta version, which requires source compilation using special Windows tools, is being downloaded at an average of 1,000 copies a week," Berkus said.Cashing in on community
Fujitsu may be the largest, but it is far from the only company that has contributed code, cash through sponsorship, or other support to PostgreSQL. Among the more notable contributions are a number of tools, including Visual Explain and one of the PostgreSQL GUIs, from Red Hat. There is also the open sourcing of developments, including the PL/PHP module Java-based GUI and Web framework from Command Prompt Inc., which has also contributed to development of the ecpg library -- a backend component of PostgreSQL -- and the overhaul of the PL/perl module.
Corporate support has also come from PostgreSQL Inc., which contributed an earlier generation replication system, eRServer, that was part of an announced strategy to keep the server proprietary for a year and then open source it, which the company did.
More recently, .org and .info domain registry company Afilias has sponsored developer Jan Wieck to work full time on developing a new, enterprise-class replication system for PostgreSQL called Slony-I, to be presented next month at OSCON in Portland, Ore.
Afilias spokeswoman Heather Carle said her company, a major supporter of open source that makes its own code publicly available, is heavily engaged in the PostgreSQL community and stands to gain from that community's expertise.
"There's an advantage with an open source community, because once you've released something, you have a lot of different people to look at it, provide bug fixes and add on top of what you're doing," Carle said.
Carle also said that the accessibility and availability of publicly available source code helps create a bridge for Internet newcomers and developing markets, where country codes have proven fruitful for Afilias.
Berkus said companies give in to PostgreSQL for what they get out in terms of improved products and expanded markets.
"Many companies contribute substantial code to the PostgreSQL Project because it is complimentary to their product line or business," he said. "This means that improvements to PostreSQL, and the increased adoption which follows, benefits sales of the company's core products. Additionally, many corporate marketing departments realize that the open source community forms a 'grassroots marketing brigade,' which is very difficult to match through traditional marketing methods. This means that being perceived as a 'good open source citizen' can be a considerable benefit to a company's sales as well as technical recruitment."