Bruce Momjian: Will Postgres live forever? – Brief Digital History

Looking at the history of digital, the digital history, the Jacquard loom is probably one of the early mechanical examples of basically a digital programming. In that case, it was a loom that would make rugs I believe were fabric, and they had a program that you could program what threads got into make whatever patterns right again, way before computers. 

I’m from Philadelphia, the ENIAC first, the first sort of commercial computer out of Philadelphia in 1945. Not that long ago, again, considering the age of everything else. 1970, you have Codd began relational theory. 50 years later, we’re still using relational theory, right? Who would have guessed? I remember, in the ‘90s, and 2000s, there was going to be first it was like XML databases, were going to win and then object databases were going to win, and then no SQL was going to win. And they were gonna wipe out relational. And 50 years later, we’re still here. 

So there’s something fundamental about I think, relational technology, that I have covered in some of my other talks. But again, interesting that some technology lasts a long time and some technology doesn’t. Systems R from IBM, 1974, first relational implementation. 1977, Ingress, the same university that produced Postgres, University of California Berkeley 1986, Michael Stonebreaker, starts, the work on Postgres really was just a research project funded by DARPA probably didn’t expect it to go anywhere. By the time I started in 1996, it was almost an abandoned project. So myself and Mark F. looked at this software and saw potential, and said, you know, this could be something interesting and something useful to a lot of people, but it needs organization, it needs, you know, a communication method, it needs some sort of patch management and release control. 

So that’s really how it started. It started 10 years earlier at Berkeley. But by the time it came to us, it was kind of on its last legs, and fortunately, for us, but 25 years later, we’re still working on it. Who would have guessed, right? It’s surprising to me as it probably is to everyone else.

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