Subject Re: [IBO] Re: ADO vs. BDE vs. IBX vs. IBO
Author Claudio Valderrama C.
""Kyle Cordes"" <kyle@...> wrote in message
> The striking thing about this is that to faciliate broader use, what
> Firebird would really benefit from would *one* ODBC driver and *one*
> OLE-DB driver, of high quality and rich feature set, well tested, and
> "in the box" so to speak.

As long as there are 2 commercial ODBC drivers, I don't have any proof of
your suggestion that none of those work. There are two commercial OLE/DB
providers, too. Those people have an understandable incentive to enhance

The problem is not quality, but maturity. IB had a driver that from an
internal tech POV was good (Visigenic) but it didn't work well in practice.
Then a second driver was asked to Merant, the self-proclaimed ODBC experts.
It wasn't a miracle, either. Borland didn't put additional effort in getting
the thing properly updated or enhanced timely. Incidentally, work leaked
that Merant was the contractor that started that king of kludges called
IBConsole... Jeff is the third man trying to make sense of it and fix it.
There was no more ODBC developments, until the engine was being open source
and a couple of chaps saw the opportunity to make some money and started
several drivers. They work. They need time to become better. Easysoft has
reputability for its drivers and Karyakin doesn't do any wrong with his
implementation. The XTG driver started as an internal driver for one product
that Czech company sells. It's basic, open source and free. Additionally, we
have the free, open source Starkey driver (odbc-jdbc) that started a
troubled life because it was planned for high ODBC levels and most
application demand older ODBC versions that have different requirements, as
you may expect from Microsh*t designs.

I've tested the Russian OLE/DB driver and I'm satisfied with it. I made it
to work with IIS and it did the job. I hear that the competing Brazilian
driver is getting better, too, although I only tested an initial, basic
version and never returned to it.

Helen that's been closer to FB knows that there are hordes of devs asking
for this or that, several people doing hard testing in practice (mainly
Russians), some tools devs like Martijn showing the facts from their
perspective... but only a few core developers. We would have to be
completely mad to start ourselves a separate effort like a driver.
Furthermore, people want a plethora of different drivers, and that's what we
have now. Jason uses XCASE for diagraming, but I use Dezign for my limited
budget and there's a Czech product that does well, too. We could have had
Embarcadero with an updated ER-Studio for IB6, but the company marched away
when Borland plans became unclear. Two years ago, IB was an isolated island
(yeah, I know it's redundant, but I want to emphasize it) mostly tied to the
Borland Database Enema and two obsolete ODBC drivers with no support. IBO
and FIB weren't an option for people not using Borland tools or using other
programming languages. There was IBPerl from Bill Karwin as the other path.
CASE developers had ditched IB at version 4.

> People want their database to just work. They don't want to have to
> think about which of four competing ODBC drivers they should be using.

Usually, Microsoft coerces the market by favoring one tools developer that
provides integration with their technology in disadvantage of other
companies. Finally, MS buys that company and gives it enough resources to
put in the shadow the former competitors. This is how they got most of their
products and technologies. You can see that effect with XP and music
utilities, integrated zip and (lame) firewall, etc. Most of the small
companies serving those needs will be blown away, because users don't
understand the limitations and pitfalls in the built-in facilities
(specially the firewall). MS went to the extreme of acquiring Great Plans, a
company that now competes with MS partners, but from inside.

I do not want to force the market to name one ODBC or OLE/DB product king of
the hill and let the others die. As soon as there's no honest competition,
things start looking bad. People seeking for no money investment will go
into the free offers. Heck, some of them may even enjoy cooperating with
those efforts! People that want tech support and quick bug resolutions will
go for the paid ones. Firebird has no power to dictate which driver should
be the one that people use.

Furthermore, sometimes when you favor someone, if you don't have enough
muscle, the bias backfires. This is what happened to Synectics, perhaps the
most reputable Borland VAR in South Africa. Borland pushed them up, but as a
result of the uncertainty and delays with IB, Synectics (tied to Borland by
contract, so it couldn't sell its SW directly in half year after the planned
release date) incurred in big funds draining until it died. Ant and Vince
saved ass by creating Replicant, a small company that only does
IBReplicator, that now can be sold independently of Borland, too. Firebird
has no funds to compensate companies for a driver and IBPhoenix is small. So
I prefer things as they are. It shouldn't be big pain to select between two
commercial ODBC drivers and if you love the "helped and favored" ones, you
go for EasySoft because Borland picked them when Karyakin hadn't started his
work yet.

If you want to know more, circa 1999, when there was no sign that IB could
become open sourced, some people at Borland were of the idea that to push
further and quickly the chosen technology (FIB) that the company had adapted
with a new name (IBX), it was necessary to downplay the competitors in some
way... and the main competitor that I can remember at that time was nothing
else than IBO, because FIBPlus was not known. So, the "favored SW" is not on
my list, unless there is a really strong reason to proceed in this way.

I won't reply anymore here because this forum is for IBO. I think the best
forum for this discussion is IBDI. We don't go into tech details, but into
strategic arguments.
(Sorry for the wasted bandwidth, Jason.)

Claudio Valderrama C. - -
Independent developer
Owner of the Interbase® WebRing