Offensiveness or wrong-headedness hurt no one. The claim that they do is designed to shut down legitimate debate.
The proper antidote to speech that offends is other speech. Opinion anchored in reason can be countered by other opinion. Lies can be exposed by factual evidence. Truth emerges from debate and disagreement.
The only sort of speech that deserves to be banned, on campus or elsewhere, is that which peddles true prejudice. This means speech that attacks people on the basis of an irrational hatred which by definition is immune to reasoned argument. Defending colonialism is an opinion. Saying black people are inferior is bigotry.
To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.
As with many stories, if you have something to tell, it quickly takes up a lot of space. Therefor this will be a series of blog posts on Postgres and a bit of Oracle. It will be a short series, though…
After switching to a more novel system, we adopted DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) VAX, VMS and Micro VAX systems! Arguably still the best operating system around… In any case, it brought us the ability to run, the only valid alternative for a database around, Oracle. With a shining Oracle version 6.2 soon to be replaced by version 7.3.4. Okay, truth be said, at that time I wasn’t really that deep into databases, so much of the significance was added later. My primary focus was on getting the job done, serving the business in making people better. Still working with SQL and analyzing data soon became of my hobbies.
Some rain has to fall
This disconnect was the first one. Moving forward I noticed and felt more and more of a disconnect between Oracle and, what I like to call, core technology. Call me what you will, I feel that if you want to bring a database to the market and want to stay on top of your game, you focus needs to be at least seriously focused on that database.
Instead we saw ever more focus for “non-core” technology. Oracle Fusion, Oracle Applications (okay, Oracle Apps had been there always), and as time progressed, the dilution became ever greater. I grew more and more in the believe that Oracle didn’t want to be that Database Company anymore (which proved to be true in the), but it was tough for me to believe. Here I was, having spend most of my active career focused on this technology, and now it was derailing (as it felt to me).
We saw those final things, with the elimination of Oracle Standard Edition One, basically forcing a entire contingent of their customers either out (too expensive) or up (invest in Oracle Standard Edition Two, and deal with more cost for less functionality). What appeared to be a good thing, ended up leaving a bad taste in the mount.
And, of course… the Oracle Cloud, I am not even going to discuss that in this blog-post, sorry.
The switch to Postgres
For me the switch was in two stages. First, there was this situation that I was looking for something to do… I had completed my challenge and, through a good friend, ran into the kind people of EnterpriseDB. A company I only had little knowledge of doing stuff for PostgreSQL (or Postgres if you like, please, no Postgré or things alike please, find more about the project here), a database I had not so much more knowledge of. But, their challenge was very interesting! Grow and show Postgres and the good things it brings to the market.
Before I knew it, I was studying Postgres and all the things that Postgres brings. Which was easy enough in the and, as the internal workings and structures of Postgres and Oracle differ not much. I decided to do a presentation on the differences between Postgres and Oracle in Riga. I was kindly accepted by the committee even when I told them, my original submission had changed!
A very good experience, even today, but with an unaccepted consequence. -> The second part of the switch was Oracle’s decision to cut me from the Oracle ACE program.
It does free me up, somehow, to help database users across Europe, re-evaluate their Oracle buy-in and lock-in. Look at smarter and (much) more (cost)-effective ways to handle their database workloads. This finalized “the switch”, so to speak.
Meanwhile more and more people are realizing that there actually are valid alternatives to the Oracle database. After the adoption of the Oracle database as the only serious solution back in the early 1990’s, the world has changed, also for serious database applications!
End of Part I
A link to the follow-up blog post will be placed here shortly.
I would like to take this chance to announce the immediate availability of SWORD release 1.8.0. I know this release has been a long time in coming, but the long time comes with lots of benefits for users, developers, and maintainers. The benefits to users and developers are mentioned elsewhere, throughout the code and other places. The main benefit to maintainers is that, now, there are automated tests in place and the release process is now automated. This means that future releases on that 1.8 branch can be easily executed whenever needed. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone! And keep your eyes open for a 1.8.1 in the not too distant future to fix up buildings in the binding code. Otherwise, you can get the code you're looking for below: MD5: 095dbd723738c2a232c85685a11827a8 sword-1.8.0.tar.gz SHA512: c45f3135255322a77e955297997db2529f31b397c42cc4b9474dc6ec8d329b2233b292078979de5fbf33cad4a1a607aabb66f86501072a729d68e9fc840c8c8e sword-1.8.0.tar.gz URL: sword-1.8.0.tar.gz --Greg
Many people are understandably baffled by the recent UN vote condemning President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since such a vote has zero practical effect, they ask, what was the point of it?
Well indeed. As the American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in her barnstorming response, America will still be moving its embassy to Jerusalem regardless of the UN’s opinion.
The resolution didn’t need to have any practical import. It was merely part of the UN’s theatre of hatred, the malevolent campaign it has waged for decades against Israel and Israel alone as a result of the preponderance of tyrannies, dictatorships, kleptocracies and genocidal antisemitic regimes that make up what’s called called the UN’s “non-aligned block” and which are united in their desire that Israel should be wiped off the map.
So egregious is this hypocrisy in singling out Israel, the sole democracy and upholder of human rights in the region while ignoring the brutal and murderous record of those tyrannies, dictatorships, kleptocracies and genocidal antisemitic regimes, that even a CNN correspondent has been moved to call this out. Jake Tapper tweeted: “Among the 128 countries that voted in favor of the UN resolution condemning the US decision to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem were “some countries with some rather questionable records of their own”.
You don’t say. The shocking thing is that so many democratic nations voted alongside these tyrannies: nations such as Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, most disappointingly India and, most sickening (to me, anyway), the UK.
Britain, the historic cradle of liberty and democracy and which once fought to defend freedom, has now made common cause with China, Iran, Libya, North Korea and Russia in their joint aim of denying the right of the Jewish people to declare, in accordance with law and history, the capital city of their own country, a right the UK and these other states would deny to no other people or state. What a disgrace.
What on earth did the UN think it was doing? What does Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May think she’s doing? Does nobody in the British government have a clue about upholding international law or sovereignty? For the real point about this UN vote was that, on this occasion, the principal target wasn’t actually Israel. It was America, and its sovereign right to govern itself. The UN was telling the United States it was not entitled to conduct its own foreign policy in the way it thinks fit.
As Brook Goldstein of the Lawfare Project has observed, this contravenes the UN’s own charter:
“Article 2(7) of the UN Charter is crystal clear: ‘Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.’ Today’s General Assembly resolution is therefore extralegal and transparently political.
“The UN was built on the principle of respect for the sovereignty of member states (known legally as complementarity), with full awareness that independent nations of the world must make policy decisions in the best interests of their domestic constituencies. The moment the institution begins to attack that very sovereignty is the moment the UN loses all credibility, authority and international deference.”
That’s why most significant part of Nikki Haley’s response was where she said this:
“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”
For decades, the UN’s malicious double standard in repeatedly singling out Israel for condemnation has constituted the negation of its foundational ideals of global justice and peace. The UN has become instead the world’s principal engine of institutionalised Jew-hatred. Now it has crossed another line altogether. The Jerusalem vote could just be the point at which a US President finally decides that America’s tolerance towards the malign global incubus that the UN has become is now at an end.
In an interview with the DefesaNet, Mikael Franzén, Director and head of Business Unit Gripen Brazil, Saab, throws light on the Gripen E/F (called NG in Brazil) project so far and plans for the future.
“The most important thing that took place this year was the first flight of the 39-8 aircraft, and it was very successful,” he says.
Other than that, the next big achievement was the development of the Wide Area Display (WAD) for Gripen. WAD will have the basic display software by AEL and tactical software by Saab.
About the next main goals, he says that Saab is currently building a test aircraft which is aimed to fly in 2019. "In the meantime, we will perform tests on various subsystems for the fighter jets – it’s going to be a very intense test period. We are also going to work on furthering the development of the tactical system for the aircraft, as well as the two-seat version, which is still in its early stages," he says.
Post the first test flight, Saab has been in a phase of experimenting with speed and altitudes, various external loads etc.
Development work for the new cockpit is also set to start soon.
Read the full interview here.
For more than two years the Free Software Foundation Europe has worked on the issue of Radio Lockdown introduced by a European directive which may hinder users to load software on their radio devices like mobile phones, laptops and routers. We have informed the public and talked to decision makers to fix critical points of the directive. There is still much to do to protect freedom and IT security in our radio devices. Read about the latest proceedings and the next steps.
In 2014, the European Parliament passed the Radio Equipment Directive which, among other regulations, make vendors of radio hardware responsible for preventing users from installing software which may alter the devices' radio parameters to break applicable radio regulations. While we share the desire to keep radio frequencies clean, the directive's approach will have negative implications on users' rights and Free Software, fair competition, innovation and the environment – mostly without equal benefits for security.[R]adio equipment [shall support] certain features in order to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and software has been demonstrated. – Article 3(3)(i) of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU
This concern is shared by more than 50 organisations and businesses which signed our Joint Statement against Radio Lockdown, a result of our ongoing exchange and cooperation with the Free Software community in Europe and beyond.
The Radio Equipment Directive was put in effect in June 2017, but the classes of devices affected by the controversial Article 3(3)(i), which causes the Radio Lockdown, have not yet been defined. This means the directive doesn't concern any existing hardware yet. The definition of what hardware devices are covered will be decided on by the European Commission through a delegated act and is expected to be finished at the earliest by the end of 2018.The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 44 specifying which categories or classes of radio equipment are concerned by each of the requirements [...] – Article 3(3), paragraph 2 of 2014/53/EU
However, that list is already being prepared in the Expert Group on Reconfigurable Radio Systems, a body of member state authorities, organisations, and individuals whose task is to assist the European Commission with drafting the delegated acts to activate Article 3(3)(i). The FSFE applied to become a member of this committee but was rejected. The concerns that the members of the Expert Group do not sufficiently represent the civil society and the broad range of software users has also been raised during a recent meeting in the European Parliament.
Nevertheless, we are working together with organisations and companies to protect user freedoms on radio devices and keep in touch with members of the expert group. For example, we have shared our expertise for case studies and impact assessments drafted by the group members. We are also looking forward to a public consultation phase to officially present our arguments and improvement suggestions and allow other entities to share their opinion.
All our activities aim to protect Free Software and user rights on current and future radio devices. This is more important than ever since only a few members of the expert group seem to understand the importance of loading software on radio devices for IT security, for example critical updates on hardware which is not or only sporadically maintained by the original vendor. We will continue our efforts to make decision makers understand that Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source Software) is crucial for network security, science, education, and technical innovation. Therefore, broad exceptions in the class definition are necessary.
Conducting such lengthy policy activities requires a lot of resources for non-profit organisations like the FSFE. Please consider helping us by joining as an individual supporter today or a corporate donor to enable our work.
The Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations released the source code and documentation of Basisregistratie Personen (BRP), a 100M€ IT system that registers information about inhabitants within the Netherlands. This comes as a great success for Public Code, and the FSFE applauds the Dutch government's shift to Free Software.
Operation BRP is an IT project by the Dutch government that has been in the works since 2004. It has cost Dutch taxpayers upwards of 100 million Euros and has endured three failed attempts at revival, without anything to show for it. From the outside, it was unclear what exactly was costing taxpayers so much money with very little information to go on. After the plug had been pulled from the project earlier this year in July, the former interior minister agreed to publish the source code under pressure of Parliament, to offer transparency about the failed project. Secretary of state Knops has now gone beyond that promise and released the source code as Free Software (a.k.a. Open Source Software) to the public.
In 2013, when the first smoke signals showed, the former interior minister initially wanted to address concerns about the project by providing limited parts of the source code to a limited amount of people under certain restrictive conditions. The ministry has since made a complete about-face, releasing a snapshot of the (allegedly) full source code and documentation under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, with the development history soon to follow.
In a letter to Dutch municipalities earlier in November, secretary of state Knops said that he is convinced of the need of an even playing field for all parties, and that he intends to "let the publication happen under open source terms". He went on to say: "What has been realised in operation BRP has namely been financed with public funds. Software that is built on top of this source code should in turn be available to the public again."
These statements are an echo of the Free Software Foundation Europe's Public Money, Public Code campaign, in which we implore public administrations to release software funded by the public as Free Software available to the citizenry that paid for it.
The echoes of 'Public Money, Public Code' do not stop there. In a letter to the Dutch parliament Wednesday 29 November, the secretary of state writes about the AGPL: "The license terms assure that changes to the source code are also made publicly available. In this way, reuse is further supported. The AGPL offers the best guarantee for this, and besides the GPL (General Public License), sees a lot of use and support in the open source community.
"Publication will happen free of charge so that, in the public interest, an even playing field is created for everyone who wants to reuse this code."
This is big news from the Netherlands and an unprecedented move of transparency by the Dutch government. Following a report to the Ministry of the Interior about publishing government software as Free Software (Open Source Software), it seems that this will happen more often. In it, Free Software is described as making the government more transparent, lowering costs, increasing innovation, forming the foundation for a digital participation society, and increasing the quality of code.
"We applaud the Dutch government for releasing the source code for BRP. We have been asking for this method of working since 2001, and it is good to see that the government is finally taking steps towards Free Software. In the future, we hope that the source code will be released during an earlier stage of development, which we believe in this case would have brought issues to light sooner", says Maurice Verheesen, coordinator FSFE Netherlands.
If you like our campaign "Public Money, Public Code", please become a supporter today to enable our work!
I have read very interesting post “Code Quality Comparison of Firebird, MySQL, and PostgreSQL” today about static analysis of three open-source RDBMS. And I wonder, should we use static code analyzers on an ongoing basis, e.g. PVS Studio?
So, the code-quality rankings are as follows:
- 1 place – Firebird and PostgreSQL.
- 2 place – MySQL.
Please remember that any review or comparison, including this one, is subjective. Different approaches may produce different results (though it is mostly true for Firebird and PostgreSQL, but not for MySQL).
Filed under: Coding, MySQL, PostgreSQL Tagged: Coding, MySQL, PostgreSQL
The surprise publishing bestseller of the autumn is the slim volume The Secret Life of Cows. The author, Rosamund Young, chronicles the life of Stephanie, Ivor, Olivia, Alice, Jake and the rest of the herd on her Worcestershire organic farm. She regards every bovine as an individual with a distinctive character and a full range of emotions and experiences. Their lives, she writes, are as full and varied as our own.
The secret life of cows may be richer than we realise. The secret life of humans, however, is more brutish than we care to admit. Ascribing human characteristics to animals won’t mean treating them more kindly. It means treating human beings rather worse.
To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.
On 6 October, 32 European Ministers in charge of eGovernment policy signed the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment that calls for more collaboration, interoperable solutions, and sharing of good practices throughout public administrations and across borders. Amongst other things, the EU ministers recognised the need to make more use of Free Software solutions and Open Standards when (re)building governmental digital systems with EU funds.
The Tallinn Declaration, lead by the Estonian EU presidency, has been adopted on 6 October 2017. It is a ministerial declaration that marks a new political commitment at European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) level on priorities to ensure user-centric digital public services for both citizens and businesses cross-border. While having no legislative power, the ministerial declaration marks a political commitment to ensure the digital transformation of public administrations through a set of commonly agreed principles and actions.
The FSFE has previously submitted its input for the aforementioned declaration during the public consultation round, asking for greater inclusion of Free Software in delivering truly inclusive, trustworthy and interoperable digital services to all citizens and businesses across the EU.
The adopted Tallinn Declaration proves to be a forward-looking document that acknowledges the importance of Free Software in order to ensure the principle of 'interoperability by default', and expresses the will of all signed EU countries to:
"make more use of open source solutions and/or open standards when (re)building ICT systems and solutions (among else, to avoid vendor lock-ins)[...]"
Additionally, the signatories call upon the European Commission to:
"consider strengthening the requirements for use of open source solutions and standards when (re)building of ICT systems and solutions takes place with EU funding, including by an appropriate open licence policy – by 2020."
The last point is especially noteworthy, as it explicitly calls for the European Commission to make use of Free Software and Open Standards in building their ICT infrastructure with EU funds, which is in line with our "Public Money, Public Code" campaign that is targeted at the demand for all publicly financed software developed for the public sector to be publicly made available under Free Software licences.What's next?
The Tallinn Declaration sets several deadlines for its implementation in the next few years: with the annual presentation on the progress of implementation of the declaration in the respective countries across the EU and EFTA through the eGovernment Action Plan Steering Board. The signatories also called upon the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU to evaluate the implementation of the Tallinn Declaration in autumn 2018.
"The Declaration expresses the political will of the EU and EFTA countries to digitise their governments in the most user-friendly and efficient way. The fact that it explicitly recognises the role of Free Software and Open Standards for a trustworthy, transparent and open eGovernment on a high level, along with a demand for strengthened reuse of ICT solutions based on Free Software in the EU public sector, is a valuable step forward to establishing a "Public Money, Public Code" reality across Europe", says Polina Malaja, the FSFE's policy analyst.
Whatever you think about Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu, this is a master class in how to present the case, not just for Israel but for rational western policy on the manifold and gathering threats to the world within the Middle East – of which the overwhelming threat by far is posed by Iran. Watch how he calmly copes with the usual boiler-plate prejudices about the Palestinians and then makes the points that so badly need to be made to a British audience – such as pointing out that Israel has helped save many British lives. Not a fact that the British often hear.
I have attended 323 Postgres events in my career. While I have enjoyed almost all of them, many had different focuses, so I thought I would share my experiences. First, there are a variety of conference types:
- Vendor conferences: often in big cities, which focus on company-produced products
- Business conferences: also often in big cities, which focus on business challenges and discussions, often with high attendance prices
- Community conferences: led by people who care about open-source software and focus on software knowledge transfer
- Hobbyist conferences: often in smaller cities, which focus on interpersonal relationship building with technology as a catalyst, often free
It would be nice if I could say which conference types are good or bad, but that isn't possible. Each conference targets an audience whose needs it seeks to fulfill. Let's look at the needs that each fulfills:
- Vendor conferences: If you are new to a technology and need people to help you navigate purchase options, these conferences are for you.
- Business conferences: If you are frequently challenged to make business decisions, but feel you have no one to share options with or brainstorm, this type of conference can give you a framework to help you make your next complex business decision.
- Community conferences: If you spend significant time solving technological problems, you can gain great insight and new approaches by attending this type of conference.
- Hobbyist conferences: If you are looking for emotional connections to people who share similar interests, this type of conference can be personally rewarding.
Ideally everyone would go to conferences which match their interests, but what happens when they don't match? Here are some examples:
- Vendor conferences: "Wow, this is boring. The booth staff don't even know about the technology they are selling. When will this be over?"
- Business conferences: "People are very passionate about the problems they are trying to solve. I am glad I don't have these problems — they seem unsolvable."
- Community conferences: "These people really care about the minutia of the software. When are they going to get a life?"
- Hobbyist conferences: "Does this end with everyone sitting in a circle and roasting marshmallows over a CPU fan?"
Amazon Aurora is a fully managed relational database that combines the performance and availability of commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. In April 2017, we announced an open preview of the PostgreSQL-compatible edition of Amazon Aurora. The service is now generally available to all customers.
Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility provides up to three times better performance than the typical PostgreSQL database, together with scalability, durability and security. It also provides a high degree of compatibility with commercial databases, making it a compelling target for database migrations.
The service also includes Performance Insights, an easy-to-use database monitoring tool that helps you quickly detect performance problems and take corrective action. Performance Insights is available for preview at no additional cost and can be enabled with one click in the Amazon RDS Console.
The PostgreSQL-compatible edition of Amazon Aurora is available on r4.large – r4.16xlarge DB Instance Classes in the US-EAST-1 (N. Virginia), US-EAST-2 (Ohio), US-WEST-2 (Oregon) and EU-WEST-1 (Ireland) Regions. Please see the documentation for more information.
Please see Jeff Barr’s recent blog post for more information.
The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of PostgreSQL 10, the latest version of the world's most advanced open source database.
A critical feature of modern workloads is the ability to distribute data across many nodes for faster access, management, and analysis, which is also known as a "divide and conquer" strategy. The PostgreSQL 10 release includes significant enhancements to effectively implement the divide and conquer strategy, including native logical replication, declarative table partitioning, and improved query parallelism.
"Our developer community focused on building features that would take advantage of modern infrastructure setups for distributing workloads," said Magnus Hagander, a core team member of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. "Features such as logical replication and improved query parallelism represent years of work and demonstrate the continued dedication of the community to ensuring Postgres leadership as technology demands evolve."
This release also marks the change of the versioning scheme for PostgreSQL to a "x.y" format. This means the next minor release of PostgreSQL will be 10.1 and the next major release will be 11.
Logical Replication - A publish/subscribe framework for distributing data
Logical replication extends the current replication features of PostgreSQL with the ability to send modifications on a per-database and per-table level to different PostgreSQL databases. Users can now fine-tune the data replicated to various database clusters and will have the ability to perform zero-downtime upgrades to future major PostgreSQL versions.
"We have been heavily using PostgreSQL since 9.3 and are very excited about version 10 since it brings basis for long-awaited partitioning and built-in logical replication. It will allow us to use PostgreSQL in even more services," said Vladimir Borodin, DBA Team Lead at Yandex.
Declarative Table Partitioning - Convenience in dividing your data
Table partitioning has existed for years in PostgreSQL but required a user to maintain a nontrivial set of rules and triggers for the partitioning to work. PostgreSQL 10 introduces a table partitioning syntax that lets users easily create and maintain range and list partitioned tables. The addition of the partitioning syntax is the first step in a series of planned features to provide a robust partitioning framework within PostgreSQL.
Improved Query Parallelism - Quickly conquer your analysis
PostgreSQL 10 provides better support for parallelized queries by allowing more parts of the query execution process to be parallelized. Improvements include additional types of data scans that are parallelized as well as optimizations when the data is recombined, such as pre-sorting. These enhancements allow results to be returned more quickly.
Quorum Commit for Synchronous Replication - Distribute data with confidence
PostgreSQL 10 introduces quorum commit for synchronous replication, which allows for flexibility in how a primary database receives acknowledgement that changes were successfully written to remote replicas. An administrator can now specify that if any number of replicas has acknowledged that a change to the database has been made, then the data can be considered safely written.
"Quorum commit for synchronous replication in PostgreSQL 10 gives more options to extend our ability to promote database infrastructure with nearly zero downtime from the application perspective. This allows us to continuously deploy and update our database infrastructure without incurring long maintenance windows," said Curt Micol, Staff Infrastructure Engineer at Simple Finance.
SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication - Secure your data access
The Salted Challenge Response Authentication Mechanism (SCRAM) defined in RFC5802 defines a protocol to improve upon the secure storage and transmission of passwords by providing a framework for strong password negotiation. PostgreSQL 10 introduces the SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication method, defined in RFC7677, to provide better security than the existing MD5-based password authentication method.
PostgreSQL is the world's most advanced open source database, with a global community of thousands of users, contributors, companies and organizations. The PostgreSQL Project builds on over 30 years of engineering, starting at the University of California, Berkeley, and has continued with an unmatched pace of development. PostgreSQL's mature feature set not only matches top proprietary database systems, but exceeds them in advanced database features, extensibility, security and stability. Learn more about PostgreSQL and participate in our community at PostgreSQL.org.