Postgres is Open Source Software at its Best


Contributed By Bruce Momjian, co-founder of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group and senior database architect

Ubiquity and Democracy are the two words that best describe the open source PostgreSQL (Postgres) database management system. And, much like Linux, both are great examples of “open source at its best”.

In terms of its ubiquity, Postgres has been around more than 30 years and today is seemingly everywhere running on-premise or available as a hosted service (cloud) worldwide from dozens of providers. We often hear it is the “go-to” API most often selected by developers. Ask developers which database technologies they most love, and Postgres comes in second only to Redis, according to the Stack Overflow survey.

And, in terms of democracy, the software project is governed by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group who are developers and volunteers from around the world. The software project has more than 500 contributors. No one company is responsible, dominates or has control of the project and software development, so there is no danger of dependence on any one individual or entity. Furthermore, it’s not possible for anyone to “take over” Postgres. The PostgreSQL Global Development Group remains committed to making PostgreSQL available as free and open source software in perpetuity. There are no plans to change the PostgreSQL License or release PostgreSQL under a different license.

In 2018 and 2017, Postgres was named “Database of the Year” by DB-Engines for gaining more popularity than any of the other 343 monitored systems. DB-Engines wrote: Postgres is at the peak of its popularity, showing no signs of aging with a very active community. PostgreSQL serves modern DBMS requirements very well in various ways. Based on its solid RDBMS implementation, it extended its scope by supporting JSON data types and operators, thus providing an attractive choice for projects that would otherwise have turned to a document store. More recently, in its latest release, it focused on further improving performance.

Ubiquity and Democracy = Freedom

There has been a lot of debate about open source, especially data management technologies, and adoption by cloud providers – especially Amazon Web Services (AWS). To defend their turf, companies like MongoDB have changed their licensing terms to ward off the likes of AWS.

In the case of Postgres, that wouldn’t be possible given the open democracy that governs the project. The democracy that governs Postgres and its ubiquity amounts to Freedom for everyone involved. Users can choose the open source PostgreSQL, or an enterprise version of Postgres to run either in their data center or with whatever cloud provider they choose. There are no limits – and that is what makes Postgres different from just about everything else.