Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 26th May 2005 18:02 UTC, submitted by mariuz
Databases The Firebird Project is pleased to announce the release today of the second round of Firebird 2.0 public Alpha kits for immediate download and testing.
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Used to be my fav
by matt on Thu 26th May 2005 18:39 UTC

Firebird used to be my #1 choice for an opensource database, But I now find myself using PostgreSQL for almost all my new projects.

Firebird is a good database. They have a very open license InterBase Public License, which is almost the same as the Mozilla Public License. They have a native Windows port (and have for a long time). They have support for many sql dialects, great trigger support, PSQL support, and have libraries that allow you to build custom extensions to the database. The database has a very small footprint, but scales very well. You can also run it as an embedded database or as a client/server.

I have always been a little bit put off by the bad, sometimes down, website www.firebirdsql.org (seems like it is slowly getting better). Also the online documentation has always been a let down. If not for a mishmash of documents in the IBPhoenix site you would never be able to figure out how to do anything. Firebird is very flexible, and the lack of good docs hurts the project.

When I first discovered Firebird (a few years ago) I was sure that it was going to evolve into the hands down #1 open source database, but it has moved forward at a slow pace. I respect the work that has been done on the database, and I'm very glad we have it, but it seems that other open source databases are moving forward at a faster pace......too bad.

If you need good documentation on Firebird buy "The Firebird Book" published by APress. I had to order my copy from Europe, but it may now be carried in the US. Seems that Firebird is more popular in Europe.

Vulcan and Jim Starkey
by Red Globule on Thu 26th May 2005 19:08 UTC

Jim Starkey, the orginal programer and founder of Interbase in 1984 is currently working on the Firebird's next version ("Vulcan") which seems very promising. I like the elegance and simplicity of his code, his efficiency and enthusiasm in programming. I like when (probably rich) former CEO still take pleasure in coding instead of managing. With the money he got from the buyout of Interbase by Ashton Tate in 1989, I think that now he codes, at 56, only for fun. A great man!

*smirk*
by Anonymous on Thu 26th May 2005 21:31 UTC

When I first read the topic of this article, I thought a new version of our favourite browser had been released... and then I remembered it had a new name now ;)

RE:Used to be my fav
by Anonymous on Fri 27th May 2005 00:03 UTC

Same here :-) I love Postgresql now and use it for everything, I even converted a very large project from FB to PG and it works much better now.

Postgres is more suited to the enterprise and has many more industrial strength features FB is lacking.

I probably would have stuck with FB, except that development is pond water slow and they refuse to add temp table support and built in functions. (there are a few built in ones , but you have to implement a UDF dll or .so that can be a pain in the ass) Postgres on the other hand has everything you could want built in with no UDF required and it(postgres) has kick ass web based documentation with all the system tables fully defined. I struggled forever to figure out what the stupid system tables where and what they did in FB, then I discovered Postgresql and everything was well documented.

Re: Postgresql
by Joe User on Fri 27th May 2005 02:19 UTC

Good. It's been a year we only work with Postgresql ;)

Firebird Docs
by Andrew on Fri 27th May 2005 02:38 UTC

Selling documentation is one of the ways that Firebird supports itself, and they do have costs that must be covered. So if you want the good docs, you can get it by ordering it online.

One of the cool aspects of Firebird is the fact that it is binary compatible across platforms. I.E. The Mac database can be read by the Linux version can be read by the Solaris version.

They also have an interesting Oracle compatibility layer.

Wrong target
by Anonymous on Fri 27th May 2005 05:20 UTC

I think the FB team is missing the point by putting so much effort in the Oracle compatibility layer.
Why? Because there are 2 types of organizations:
1. Those who cannot afford Oracle - for these folks, the compatibility layer does nothing since there is no legacy Oracle code to port from
2. Those who is using and/or can afford Oracle - Put yourself in their shoes, would you rather buy Oracle with their support and community knowledge-base, or FireBird which is at present, still an unrecognized brand?

So why would you want/need to port your Oracle db's to FireBird again?

RE: Wrong target
by N.N on Fri 27th May 2005 06:33 UTC

3. Companies who have bought Oracle but realized that they really don't need it.

RE: Wrong target
by Anonymoose on Fri 27th May 2005 09:30 UTC

3. Companies who have bought Oracle but realized that they really don't need it.

<sarcasm>

...which of course might be knocking on FB's door every day..

</sarcasm>

@Andrew
by Uno Engborg on Fri 27th May 2005 11:19 UTC


They also have an interesting Oracle compatibility layer.


Many developer that use Firebird do so because its free licence terms. They are not going to buy the closed source not free Oracle compatiblity extension stuff. If they need to be compatible with Oracle they get it from Oracle.

Had the Ocracle compatiblity extension been free, it would have been another matter.

Firebird has its own charms
by Tauseef on Fri 27th May 2005 11:35 UTC

Firebird is a strong industrial strength database with its own procedural language which is actually an extension of Interbase database. It has the smallest footprint of all RDBMS that fall into its catagory. (3MB setup file with both server and client ! ) The embedded version is so small that end user would not even feel that your application has a back-end database engine installed with your application.

Postgress is great but it lacks user-defineable multple variable - multi-row resultsets, a feature that sets Firebird apart from other databases.

MySQL 5.0 needs to mature before it stands in the league of Postgress and Firebird.

The other compareable choices as you know are SQLServer, Oracle ,DB2 and Sybase. All being commercial, heavyweight elephants that are suitable for heavyweight databases only....

Whoops
by Chris Herborth on Fri 27th May 2005 12:37 UTC

The server with the Release Notes is improperly configured; it sends the PDF file (why use PDF for a web server's release notes?!) as text/plain.

Which Firefox 1.x is happy to display as text. I guess they didn't test it under Firefox...

- chrish

Oh, wait
by Chris Herborth on Fri 27th May 2005 12:37 UTC

I'm an idiot, this is the database, not Fire_fox_. Sorry about that.

Their web server is still misconfigured. ;-)

- chrish

RE: firebird has its own charms
by rycamor on Fri 27th May 2005 16:17 UTC

Exactly what is a user-definable multiple variable - multi-row resultset? An example would be nice.

RE:Firebird has its own charms
by Uno Engborg on Fri 27th May 2005 16:34 UTC


Postgress is great but it lacks user-defineable multple variable - multi-row resultsets, a feature that sets Firebird apart from other databases.


Hate to expose my ignorance, but what exactly does these things do?

IB 7.5
by RadioGAGA on Fri 27th May 2005 17:13 UTC

Interbase 7.5 supports a lot of the features that people complain about here. IB7.5 is way too expensive for OSS, but as an enterprise server, it's rock solid.

Firebird, being IB's cousing, will doubtless get many of the faetures because developers will want a drop in replacement for IB7.5.

As for the features: Temp Tables, better multithreading and atomic operations at various levels (Transactional being one) and also you can run multiple servers on the same machine.

UDF wise - it's so simple to write UDF's, that whining about it is really quite sad. I guess, that's the VB attitude for you though, not willing to get your hands slightly dirty or do any functional or regressional testing what so ever. <sigh>

RE:Firebird has its own charms
by Anonymous on Fri 27th May 2005 23:07 UTC

This is not true with the latest versions of Postgres, those prior to 7.3 could not, but now you can.
They are called set returning functions and work very similar to Firbird's. They are created differently but the end result is the same.

"Postgress is great but it lacks user-defineable multple variable - multi-row resultsets, a feature that sets Firebird apart from other databases."

RE:IB 7.5 and UDFs and VB attitude
by Anonymous on Sat 28th May 2005 02:25 UTC

FB and IB UDFs are still a huge pain, yes they are easy to create, I have created ones in Kylix and Delphi and they worked well, but there is nothing standard about them.
With Postgres they are ALL built in, so I don't have to worry about having to recompile the stupid UDF's if I want to run my DB on Solaris or FreeBSD.
I can tell you it's not the VB attitude as to why UDFs stink from a standards perspective.

For Firebird to be competive they need to start matching features with the other guys and speed up the release cycle a bit. It has been a LONG time since Firebird 1.5 was released and there has only been a couple of point releases as far as I can remember.

"UDF wise - it's so simple to write UDF's, that whining about it is really quite sad. I guess, that's the VB attitude for you though, not willing to get your hands slightly dirty or do any functional or regressional testing what so ever."