Subject Re: Design of new built-in functions
Author paulruizendaal

I would like to respond to some statements you made, which were
interesting, even though in part factually incorrect. I'm cross-
posting to FB-General, so that we can continue this discussion in the
right list.

> Firebird's biggest problem is lack of management of organization.
> It needs an organization to recognize needs and respond.

Whilst I agree that the current fuzzy admin/foundation/commercial
setup is due for institutional reform, this has not been a major
drag. In theory, a communist plan-economy is the most efficient, not
suffering from all the duplication and horse trading in a free
market. Yet in practice the reverse is true. This is much the same in
open source. The project has shown admirable progress in the last
years, despite a fuzzy organisational structure.

> This is the golden age of open source databases.

Very true. After a first great database race in the 80's (winner:
Oracle), another great race is on between the 3 big proprietary
players and the 3 big open source databases. Which one of the 6 will
win is anybody's guess right now.

> Companies and investors are are throwing sacks of gold at everyone
> in site but Firebird.

Sacks of money do not equate success. Great Bridge burned through $18
million and had nothing to show, but documentation. Apache does not
generate money, yet is a success.

> In the time that Firebird has put out three releases
> (counting 1.5 as a release), MySQL has gone from a handful of
> people to a profitable company over over 300 people with tens of
> millions of dollars in the bank, millions of customers, and
> alliances with dozens of major products and companies.

This is factually challenged. In essence, MySQL finds it roots in
1995, when David Hughes invented LAMP, only months after browsers had
progressed enough to support the concept. David created mSQL and
Lite, a PHP-like embedded language. It took off like a rocket. mSQL
had one important feature missing: it did not support indexes. Monty
Widenius (legally) copied mSQL, added an indexed engine, and thus
created MySQL, which soon replaced mSQL in the installed base. So,
MySQL has a 10-year path, not a 5-year path.

Despite the 10-year effort, MySQL does not have millions of
customers. The latest info from MySQL marketing says they have 7,000
customers; it might be 10K now, who pay over $5,000 on average for
the honour. Half of the latest reported $40 mln in revenue may come
from a few million-dollar customers.

Yes, MySQL have an installed base of millions. MySQL marketing
calculates there are 1.000 users for every customer. My (consensus)
estimate would be around 5 million installations, having peaked late
2004. At the higher end it seems market share is lost to Firebird
(and to a lesser extent Ingres), on the low end share is lost to
SQLite. This 5 million installed base compares well with the
estimated installed base for FB/IB of 3 million.

Moreover, considering that MySQL is weighted towards Linux (60..70%)
and that Firebird is weighted towards Windows (70..80%), Firebird is
actually *the market leader* on Windows.

FB/IB core companies in my estimate generate some $10 mln in sales,
25% of MySQL sales. Sure, MySQL is ahead, but not out of sight. This
makes your new efforts all the more interesting. If the Falcon/Vulcan
engine for MySQL hits the market sweetspot and allows MySQL to
recapture growth, it might IPO at $1.5 billion; if it fails to that,
it might IPO at $0.5 billion. It is not often that one billion
dollars hinge on one man's ability to architect & implement a
breakthrough database engine in 6 months.

So, in summary, the 2nd great database race is not over and Firebird
is in the lead group. It will be a very interesting 2 years ahead.