PostgreSQL vs MySQL?

Wayne Vovil wayne.vovil at
Fri Apr 5 10:42:02 EST 2002


I have been going through the throws of making a similar decision.

I have been playing with RDBMS's since about 1982, and been a DBA or programmer using almost every one available.

Let's see what are the choices for linux:

      * MySQL
      * PostgreSQL
      * Interbase
      * IBM Univ DB2
      * Oracle
      * others too

I'll leave MySQL and PostgreSQL until the end.

People seem to be happy with Interbase; but it is not mainstream, yet is multi-platform.

IBM Have a full version of Universal DB2 available for linux. DB2 is probably the most powerful Relational DBMS available. It is not GPL, yet is available on nearly all platforms. It is a career advantage to have skills in IBM products (including Visual Age Java).

Almost all of the above applies to Oracle, except it is not available on as many platforms as DB2.

My own situation is that I have need to use nearly all of the above DBMS's at any one time (and others such as ADABAS, which is not realtional; but is also available on linux). So I have DB2 and Oracle on my linux system.

But I want to be part of the Open Source development community as well. So I have been yo-yoing between MySQL and PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL came out of Ingress (or so I am told), and that was the first DBMS I ever used at Uni in 1981(??). It has much more functionality and started out as a large robust product; but seems to be slow in moving ahead, with limited developers in comparison to MySQL. 

MySQL started as a very small product with limited functionality (but so did linux!). I have been warned not to use MySQL by a number of "professionals". But it has a HUGE following out there in the Open Source developer community and is going ahead leaps and bounds.

I just bought "Beginning PostgreSQL" and have been playing with it (the software that is!!). It was hard to find any available books as opposed to MySQL.

I have also been told by a very successful USA professional software developer (who has made a few $$million selling his software), that he believes MySQL is the flavour of the month and that is the way he is going, even though he also supports PostgreSQL. He has even told me that the multi-billion dollar company I am contracting to who also uses Oracle, will be using MySQL to do some client-side transaction logging and reporting.

So my suggestion is to get a copy of either DB2 or Oracle and have a play at what a RDBMS can do. Then also install MySQL and get involved in making suggestions and developing code to improve it!


The Gas Bag

> Antti.Roppola at u3292467 at linux at
> RE: PostgreSQL vs MySQL?Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 12:15:00 +1000
>It depends on what you want to do.
>MySQL is convenient (and usually available) for tasks that
>are unlikely to generate much load. It's probably more
>widely deployed than Postgres.
>I notice O'Reilly now have a Postgres book, the quality of
>doco is a big reason why I get people to use MySQL for
>quickies, I can give them a book and tell them to go away.
>Chances are they can grep Google for example code.
>Postgres is a bit more opaque (at least to start with).
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Paul Alexander Warren [mailto:u3292467 at]
>Sent: Thursday, 4 April 2002 9:44 AM
>Subject: Re: PostgreSQL vs MySQL?
>I tried using MYSQL for my UNI database course last year, and found that
>it was totally inadequate, so I used PostgresQL instead, and found that
>it had equivilant functionality to Oracle which we use at UNI. 
>Performance speed wasn't a problem, but then i only had one user for it
>on a Pentium 166 MMX with 64M RAM.
>My dad also said that PostgresQL was about equivilant to DB2 as well,
>just as scalable and reliable. ( that means nothing to me, i've never
>used DB2)
>Paul Warren.
>Rasjid Wilcox wrote:
>> Quick views on PostgreSQL vs MySQL (or even InterBase?)
>> I looking at teaching myself Java with the aim of building some cross
>> platform database products.  My prefered platform is Linux, but I'd like to
>> make things that work okay in the Windows world too (for strategic reasons
>> only ;-).
>> MySQL has a reputation for being fast, but somewhat feature limited.  I note
>> that its foreign key support is fairly recent and is still missing some
>> features as far as I can tell.
>> PostgreSQL has a reputation for being slower (probably not a big issue for
>> the type of apps I'm thinging of) but has a better feature set.
>> I didn't even know that there was an open source version of InterBase until I
>> today.  It looks like a 'Mozilla' type of open source licence.
>> Anyone got views on just how committed Borland is to open source?  (They have
>> done Kylix as well...)
>> I guess my main issues are features (foreign key support would be good, and
>> replication might be useful too) and portability.  In particular I was hoping
>> for Windows 98 support (although I guess this will get less important over
>> time as more people move to Linux - oh, and Windows XP etc rather than Win98
>> I guess, but why anyone would do that is beyond me ;-).
>> I initially thought it was more portable than PostgreSQL, as I know it is
>> Cygwin based and only claims to support NT etc.  However, I now notice that
>> MySQL on Windows is also Cygwin based.  Anyone with any experience in how
>> they compare running on Windows 98?  (Does PostgreSQL actually run on Windows
>> 98?)
>> Based on my reading of the various websites, InterBase is looking like the
>> best option, with PostgreSQL second and MySQL third.  But I'd like to hear
>> from people that have actually used them (on any platform).
>> Cheers,
>> Rasjid.

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