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Databases - Practical PostgreSQL
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Chapter 1. What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an Object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS) that has been developed in various forms since 1977. It began as a project named Ingres at the University of California at Berkeley. Ingres itself was later developed commercially by Relational Technologies/Ingres Corporation.

In 1986 another team led by Michael Stonebraker from Berkeley continued the development of the Ingres code to create an object-relational database system called Postgres. In 1996, due to a new open source effort and the enhanced functionality of the software, Postgres was renamed to PostgreSQL, after a brief stint as Postgres95. The PostgreSQL project is still under very active development worldwide from a team of open source developers and contributors.

PostgreSQL is widely considered to be the most advanced open source database system in the world. It provides many features (which are discussed in more detail in the Section called PostgreSQL Feature Set ") that are traditionally seen only in enterprise-caliber commercial products.

Open Source Free Version

PostgreSQL is an open source project. Open source by definition means that you can obtain the source code, use the program, and modify it freely without the confines of proprietary software. In the database world, open source means that you have honest access to benchmarking numbers and performance statistics, which companies such as Oracle prohibit. Open source also means that you are free to modify PostgreSQL to fit your particular needs.

However, there is a misconception that since open source software is free from distribution restrictions, it is always free of cost to your company. This is not necessarily the case. It is true that you can, without external cost, download and install open source software, but there will always be costs associated with the time and energy your company puts into support and research of the application. As such, if you do not have those resources to spend, there are several commercial vendors and consultants who deal specifically with PostgreSQL.

Databases - Practical PostgreSQL
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