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5/12/2006
06:05 PM
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When Curiosity Becomes A Career

Bruce Momjian had been good at computers in high school but decided to focus on softer disciplines. He got a degree in history from Columbia University, a master's in teaching from Arcadia College-and then returned to technology.

He became a high school computer science teacher in Philadelphia's public schools, and after five years of teaching, he taught himself the C programming language one summer, the same summer he married his fiancée, Christine.

He got a job writing applications in C for large law firms. He also learned all he could about databases and how they functioned beneath his applications. In 1996, he found Postgres, a student project by the University of California at Berkeley. But it had bugs. He looked for patches through an aging student mailing list, and found more bugs. "The software had potential, but it needed organization," he says.

PostgreSQL has grown from a small relational kernel in July 1996 to a system with 600,000 lines of code, which was downloaded 1.1 million times last year. Its 243 volunteers contribute to annual releases, and its E-mail discussion list goes to 51,788 recipients.

Momjian founded the PostgreSQL Global Development Team and wrote a book called "PostgreSQL: Introduction And Concepts" (Addison Wesley, 2000). A month ago, he became a senior database architect at EnterpriseDB, a company that sells a commercial version of PostgreSQL. When the PostgreSQL crowd congregates in Toronto on July 8 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the code, he'll be there.

Return to main story, Open Source Software: Who Gives And Who Takes

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