PostgreSQL 8.0 opens up to Windows

The open source PostgreSQL database has included native support for Microsoft's Windows platform for the first time as part of a raft of new additions to Version 8.0 of the product, released on Thursday.

The Windows port is expected to increase the popularity of and use of the database, which competes in a market space hotly contested by Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.

Previously, users wishing to run PostgreSQL on Windows either had to use the Cygwin UNIX emulator or had to purchase one of a few commercial versions of PostgreSQL which were designed specifically for Windows, said PostgreSQL contributor and consultant Gavin Sherry.

"With much hard work PostgreSQL 8.0 now uses native Windows system calls, resulting in better performance and stability," he said.

Work on the Windows port began immediately after PostgreSQL 7.4 was released in November 2003.

Windows is a very hot topic in the PostgreSQL world. A poll on the PostgreSQL Web site last year asked readers what was their most anticipated feature in 8.0. Almost 64 per cent voted "Win32 porting", followed by "alter column type" in distant second with 13 per cent of votes and "tablespaces" with less than 10 per cent.

Another survey asked what platform users primarily ran PostgreSQL on. Linux was the clear winner with over 56 per cent. However, Win32/Cygwin users comprised 21 per cent, showing a healthy number of Windows users.

In addition to Windows porting, version 8.0 has several new features. These include:

  • The introductions of savepoints, a feature that allows specific parts of a database transaction to be rolled back without aborting the entire operation
  • Tablespaces, which allows PostgreSQL administrators to determine where the data for a given database object resides on the file systems
  • A rewritten buffer management system which allows for increased throughput plus ensuring that the availability of the system is more consistent.
"We are confident that these enterprise features will attract a great number of new PostgreSQL users," said Takayuki Nakazawa, Director of Fujitsu's OSS Database in Software Group.

For PostgreSQL 8.0, over a dozen companies including Red Hat, Afilias, Software Research Associates, Command Prompt and Fujitsu contributed to development, along with hundreds of individual developers.

Fujitsu, for example, has been a financial contributor to the database for almost a year. In particular, it has been a key supporter of the tablespaces and savepoints features for 8.0.

The company has also helped out with JDBC 3.0 compliance, a project that runs along side PostgreSQL development.

According to IDC analyst Daphne Chung, the Information and Data Management Software (IDMS) in Australia is currently worth $482.3 million.

Oracle's market share in Asia/Pacific (Excluding Japan) was 41% in 2003, with IBM not far behind at 32%. Microsoft has 12%, Sybase 3% and BMC, NCR, and SAS each taking 2% of this market.

PostgreSQL is available for download at http://www.postgresql.org/download/

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