Subject Re: [firebird-support] Re: Anyone using latest Flamerobin (0.9.3) with Firebird 3.0.4 UTF8 database?
I use EMS SQL Manager for Firebird for which there is a limited, free version that is available as well (limited to one open database at a time).

I have never had any real issues with any of the EMS tools I have used, though I have reported a few "bugs" that they have corrected.

SQL Maestro's Firebird Manager also has a free version with the same type of limitation.  It is a little easier to set up the connections to a Firebird database than EMS' tool but overall, the Maestro tools have not been as solid as the EMS tools.  However, that was a number of years ago.

The EMS tool costs around $280.00 or thereabouts with one year of support for the commercial version.  This expense is a result of the low numbers of people who use this database engine as well as the Interbase engine.  The link is here...

I have never used FlameRobin since the author's presentation of his efforts appeared to be rather unprofessional so I didn't see a long life for the project.  It appears that I was correct.

Both Interbase and Firebird have suffered from popularity neglect in the technical communities from poor marketing efforts and in Firebird's case, inconsistent\poor documentation.

However, as I have argued in the past, this is not an insolvable situation.  All it takes is somewhat of a change in the Firebird development groups' perspective on presenting the Firebird Database Engine.

In my view, Firebird should be the "go to" engine for a variety of endeavors, which includes the gaming industry, for which I have been slowly developing a military simulation with Firebird as its database.  Firebird is powerful, stable, and so far appears to be rock solid for what I have used it for.  And I have seen few complaints from those using the engine for more extensive, enterprise development efforts.  However, Firebird does lack in features (whether they are actually needed by database professionals or not as many such features in today's engines appear to be rather esoteric in nature.) when compared to such engines as MySQL, PostgreSQL, or the commercial offerings.

Nonetheless, the lament by one respondent to this thread that with the loss of free tools for Firebird, the engine will fall into even less popularity, in my view is a rather short-term perspective on the problem.

Like the majority of Open Source projects that have either failed or gone under over the years, the Open Source model has been the actual source of the problem in the first place.  No one can make a living by giving quality software products away for free and the idea that people are "giving back to the community" who are doing so that has been touted from the inception of Open Source is about as realistic as thinking one can fly.

This is not to say that Open Source is a failure but that the majority of endeavors have in fact failed been leaving only the really mature, dedicated groups that receive eventual backing in existence.  The classic examples are MySQL and PostgreSQL.  Both database groups have created alternative forms of income that allow them to continue providing their engines for free.

This can also be true for Firebird.

For example, if the Firebird Team negotiated with EMS for a good discount on their Firebird tools for providing additional advertising on the Firebird sites, this would make a very good set of tools available to Firebird developers.  Those who use Embarcadero's Interbase would not receive a similar discount for the same tool since it is can be used for both engines.  Such a position would provide a more professional presentation on Firebird's part while gaining some new customers for EMS.

Another example would be if the Firebird Team found a way to set up a similar support system that has enabled the PostgreSQL Database Group to develop revenue than it is quite possible that the Firebird Team would be able to develop their engine at a possible increased rate, while also developing ancillary tools as the PostgreSQL Team has done.

There are many things that can be done to raise the profile of Firebird while keeping it essentially freely available but with an income base that can assist in its development.

In general however. the younger generations, the ones who mostly promoted the Open Source concept in the first place from the emergence of the Java Community have to become aware of what is realistic in the real world of professional development, which is no one wants to work for free because it is simply not a way to sustain oneself.

So put out some monies for the better tools and just maybe over time you will see a re-emergence of a thriving software cottage industry that was predominant in the 1990s and early 2000s for which many developers could then become a part of; some even making a decent income for their efforts... 

Steve Naidamast
Sr. Software Engineer