PostgreSQL 8.3 designed for better speed

Programmers say the new version of the open-source database is 5 to 30 percent faster and works better on Windows.

Programmers behind the PostgreSQL project released the new version 8.3 of the open-source database software Monday, saying they've boosted improved performance 5 percent to 30 percent and added several useful features.

One of the performance improvements comes from a technology called heap-optimized tables, which reduces the amount of effort a computer must expend updating the frequently changed elements of the database. Other improvements reduce the penalty of taking periodic snapshots of the database and an speed some transactions though an "asynchronous commit" ability, the organization said.

Other features include "synchronized scan," which makes data mining less taxing on servers' input-output communication abilities; the ability to analyze XML data using SQL database queries; the ability to build the PostgreSQL software itself using Microsoft' Visual C++ programming tool for more stability and performance on Windows; a less taxing system for logging; and a built-in text-search tool.

Sun Microsystems has been a major PostgreSQL sponsor, bundling the software with its Solaris operating system, but more recently, Sun decided to pay $1 billion for MySQL , the company behind another open-source database.

Sun's top software executive offered warm words for PostgreSQL.

"PostgreSQL 8.3 is an impressive new release, and we encourage customers around the world to explore it," Rich Green, Sun's executive vice president of software, said in a statement.

The most recent version of the software, 8.2, was released in December 2006, said Josh Berkus, a Sun employee who works on the PostgreSQL project.

Update 8:50 a.m. PST February 5: When asked what its current database priority is, Sun wouldn't be pinned down. "Open source is about choice," Ian Murdock, vice president of Sun's connected developer group, said in a statement. "Sun supports various databases including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Java DB, and supports the broadest range of technology to maximize flexibility for its customers."

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Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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