Full text search and other features will become available for free download in beta code after Labor Day, with the final release to follow by eight to 10 weeks.
The PostgreSQL project is one of the better-kept secrets of the database world. The mature relational system is an outgrowth of the Postgres database project run by computer science graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1990s.
The school's Postgres code had both object handling and relational data handling capabilities and served as the core of Michael Stonebraker's Illustra startup, acquired in 1996 by Informix (which was later acquired by IBM). Postgres became the PostgreSQL open source project under the BSD license in 1996.
The PostgreSQL system appeared to gain strength during the dot-com boom, then stuttered as some of its sources of technical support disappeared during the bust. GreatBridge, started in 2000 with a focus on PostgreSQL consulting and technical support, closed in August 2001.
At that time, key PostgreSQL developers went back to the drawing board to improve the database system's performance and SQL compliance, says Momjian.
After nine months of work, the new features in 8.3 will be available at www.postgreSQL.org. They will include:
- A finished PL/pgSQL debugger, a tool for editing PostgreSQL's version of the standard SQL data access language in database applications.
- Full text search made more accessible by becoming a feature included in the system code instead of being an add-on option.
- Clustering code from Skype for load balancing and spreading queries to a large database across several PostgreSQL systems.
Josh Berkus, a PostgreSQL developer who recently conducted a benchmark of PostgreSQL vs. Oracle for Sun Microsystems, said bit-mapped indexes intended for this release will be in a future release. Bit-mapped indexes provide fine-grained references to varied content in the database.
Berkus' benchmark found that PostgreSQL trails Oracle in performance.