Maybe They Just Like It Better?

There has been a lot of chatter the past week about Apple replacing MySQL with Postgres in the new OSX Lion Server [U.S. | England | New Zealand ]. Most of it seems to tie things back to Oracle’s new stewardship over the MySQL project, a lot of that stemming from what I would say is FUD from the EnterpriseDB folks, regarding doom and gloom about the way Oracle might handle the project in the future. Not that the FUD is entirely unwarrented; While Oracle has done a pretty decent job with MySQL so far, looking at what Oracle has done to projects like Open Solaris certainly would make one queasy. And yes, we’ve seen an uptick in people asking for help with Oracle/MySQL to Postgres migrations since the acquisition of Sun. That said, I have an alternative theory. Maybe they just like it better? Postgres is often a well kept secret for companies when it comes to technology use. The liberal licensing policy allows you to use Postgres without any registration or notification to the project, so often times even people within the Postgres community don’t find out about the usage until well after the fact. In Apple’s case though, Postgres use has been going on for years. I think one of the first public usages that got out was for Apple’s remote desktop product. Built on top of Postgres, it meant there was a lot of Postgres getting shipped out, but most people didn’t know that much about it. Even now days, there are apps in the Apple line-up making use of Postgres, like, and I bet most people don’t know it. I bet most people didn’t realize that every install of Mac OSX (at least in Lion) also contains a complete copy of the Postgres 9.0 docs. If you have OSX Lion, just hit file:///Library/WebServer/Documents/postgresql/html/index.html in your web browser, and start learning about your new favorite database. Of course, this isn’t conclusive, but it seems pretty clear that Apple is not afraid to make use of Postgres for key parts of it’s technology stack. And while I can’t say anything conclusivly, I bet there are other parts of the Apple website / services that get powered by Postgres. To that end, it’s actually in Apple’s best interest to get more people looking at Postgres. After all, chances are if Apple likes it, others will too.