Subject Re: [ib-support] MySQL vs Firebird - the slow decay
Author Paul Schmidt
On 24 Sep 2002 at 5:45, Andrew wrote:

> [Helen, I think this is apropos here, but I understand if you think
> otherwise and do what you gotta do.]
> Is it just me or do others get the feeling that Firebird is the BETA
> in the old VHS vs BETA war?
> MySQL just got authentic transaction support.
> God forbid they get before/after triggers. Part of me wants to hang
> on to at least one reason why I should stay with my cherished
> Firebird.
> I like MySQL. I love Firebird. I resent that more and more I am
> having to justify to myself why I am using Firebird more than I use
> MySQL. I resent that more and more I am gravitating towards MySQL
> because it is not giving me reasons to stay with Firebird.
> There are two major problems with Firebird. Before I go into that,
> remember, this is not finger pointing or criticism. This is
> impartial, undeniable fact. Yes, it can be fixed by this or that,
> e.g. I get off my behind and dig into the source (if I learn C++
> first), etc. But let's ignore the possible remedies and address the
> facts as they stand right now:
> 1. Firebird lacks developers and consequently is progressing very
> slowly. Why the lack of developers? Is there even a need for faster
> development?

The problem isn't a lack of developers, it's a lack of staff-months. The problem is
that the developers all work full time on other things, and when you have been
programming for 8 - 10 hours already, the last thing you want to do, is more
programming. Especially if your not really interested in what your programming, for
example some feature, somebody whined about, that you wouldn't use in 100 years.

MySQL is still owned by a corporate entity, and therefore there is the ability for that
entity to fund professional developer time to impliment functionality, but they only
fund development that they want, so something like stored procedures might not get
implemented, because they don't use them.

If someone were to raise, say $10 million so that the FB project could hire 25
developers full time for a year, then we could have all the neat nifty stuff that people
want by the end of that time. We would still have $5 million left to do some
marketing, say some adverts in a couple of the computer rags, so that people start
to recognize Firebird as a database. Also, was there ever a press-release made,
when FB 1.0 was released, or just an announcement on a couple of websites?

> 2. Firebird no longer has a lot of the unique features that once
> distinguished it from the pack (e.g. multi-generational). Why is a
> Firebird feature better than the same feature implemented on another
> DB platform?

A database is a database is a database, they all have much the same features, and
they all do the same things, it's kinda like autos, functionally there isn't much
difference between a Chevy, a Volkswagen and a Toyota (Wheels, engine, brakes,
steering, doors, windows, etc all work the same way). However in the mind of the
consumer, they are radically different. So what differentiates one RDBMS from
another, and how can FB distinguish itself in the market place? That's something
for discussion on FB-devel, or IB-Architect or maybe a new "FB-marketing" list.

> 3. Firebird does not have the profile ('buzz', 'hype', whatever) that
> it needs to become a widely used (i.e. widely known) RDBMS. Is there
> a need for a higher profile? What would result from a higher profile?

It really needs a marketing and PR group, run by someone that has been given
authorization by the FB community to tell the world about it. This might be an
excellent opportunity for those who don't know C/C++ to contribute. A higher
profile, might bring in more contributors, and possibly more resources.

Firebird also needs a funding group, I know that IBPhoenix has the CD, and there
are some other resources, but maybe Firebird needs to be spun-off into a separate
entity, one which would use proceeds from CD and printed documentation sets
sales, and donations, to contract some development, issue press releases, and do
other such stuff. This would give us another advantage, who is behind Firebird, why
The Firebird Project Inc.

> Items 1 and 3 could change. Firebird V2 could trigger that. It would
> be terrific to see it happen. Do I believe it will happen? No. If I
> had to map out a timeline from this point on, it would show Firebird
> users dropping off until it became one of those fond memories and
> slight regrets about "if only...".

> Am I griping? You better believe it. I don't want MySQL to outshine
> Firebird! When I found Firebird, It gave me one of those huge jolts
> of enthusiasm and excitement that comes only a couple of times a year
> (if you are lucky). Over the past year, that excitement has faded,
> along with my hopes for what Firebird would become. In my own blunt
> way I tried to find others who retained some form of passion, others
> who would want to get some kind of strategy together to promote
> Firebird as the smart alternative to MySQL or (cough) Postgre or...
> well, there are no other serious contenders. My IBDI posts and ideas
> met with silence.
> It seems nobody is interested in getting Firebird hyped. Can you
> imagine the Firebird team making a news release like that MySQL link
> at the top? Of course not. What news outlet cares about Firebird?
> But MySQL... now that's a story with buzz. And that's exactly what
> crushes my hope for Firebird's future.
> MySQL is what Firebird could have been -- could still be? -- a hugely
> successful opensource juggernaut. But there I go again, getting crazy
> ideas about Firebird becoming a player instead of a 'best kept
> secret'.
> And if you're wondering, yes, I'm still bitter about having my
> Firebird project canned in favour of MS SQL Server. I like to think
> of my grudges as my special children, and nuture them accordingly.
> Regards,
> Andrew Ferguson
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Paul Schmidt, President
Tricat Technologies