OpenSQL Camp Offers Informal Meeting for Database Developers

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 28, 2008

Members of various open-source database communities will get together in mid-November for the first-ever "OpenSQL camp." The free conference, which has room for 150 attendees, will be held in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is meant to help the members of all open-source database projects to learn from one another. Potential participants are encouraged to register on the Wiki, as well as to propose conference talks. Organizers want the camp to make it possible for participants "to learn, to participate, to contribute, and to write code."

Open-source databases have become quite prominent over the last decade, in large installations as well as small ones. MySQL and PostgreSQL are the best-known open-source databases, but SQLite, Firebird, and CouchDB are also popular in some corners, and offer compelling features of their own. In some cases, users aren't even aware that they have installed a database: For example, the Firefox Web browser comes with an installation of SQLite, which it uses to manage preferences and passwords.

Companies based on open-source databases employ a number of business models to make money. MySQL AB, which was bought by Sun Microsystems for $1 billion earlier this year, sells service and support contracts. EnterpriseDB offers an Oracle-compatible interface layer to PostgreSQL, allowing organizations to use their Oracle-compatible software while enjoying far lower installation and maintenance costs.

But at the end of the day, commercial companies based on open-source databases still rely on the developer community for direction and support. By bringing developers from multiple open-source database communities together, the OpenSQL Camp will help to push each project forward into new technical areas, as well as understand topics which they might need or want to pursue jointly. Even if no common code comes out of the conference, it is always interesting and useful to learn how another open-source project has implemented certain functionality, particularly now that developers are looking to solve particularly hard problems having to do with performance and replication.