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Open source PostgreSQL named DBMS of the year by DB-Engines – The Register

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Open source PostgreSQL was today named database management system of the year by popular ranking site DB-Engines.

The award follows a surge in popularity for the relational system, which was first developed in the 1980s. In June last year, it was named the most popular database engine among developers, according to a massive survey by Stack Overflow. It was cited as the most popular database engine among professional developers in 2022, the survey found.

DB-Engines said PostgreSQL was the system with the greatest increase in its ranking score during 2023. It is the fourth time in a decade that the system, jointly proposed by MIT professor Michael Stonebraker in 1986, has scored the accolade on the ranking platform. The Register spoke to the database system pioneer late last year.

Oracle is first in the DB-Engines’ ranking, followed by MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and PostgreSQL. MongoDB is fifth.

The website has developed its own ranking system to avoid relying exclusively on database revenue, which omits FOSS databases. On the other hand, relying on downloads would also count systems built for pilot projects but never deployed. Instead DB-Engines bases its popularity score by amalgamating metrics including mentions on websites, Google search trends, appearance in online technical discussions, job ads, professional profiles and social media feeds.

DB-Engines standardizes across these metrics, which might in themselves be flawed but, taken together, offer a fair indication of a DBMS’s popularity, Paul Andlinger, DB-Engines co-founder told The Register in 2021.

The DBMS of the year is calculated by subtracting the previous year’s popularity score from the current years, thus avoiding skewing in favour of systems just entering the market and growing from a very low base.

Postgres, as it was first known, was developed as a project at UC Berkeley, where Stonebraker worked at the time. The idea was to make it extensible to get around some of the rigidity in Ingres, Stonebraker’s earlier system. He founded Illustra in 1992 to develop a commercial Postgres, as startup capital was not available for open source companies at the time.

Unknown to him, in 1994, Andrew Yu and Jolly Chen, both Berkeley graduates, began to develop academic Postgres as an open source project. They replaced query language POSTQUEL with SQL. The resulting Postgres95 was made freely available and modifiable under a more permissive license and renamed PostgreSQL. Today it is managed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.

The combination of its extensible architecture and support from the open source community has helped the system add support for JSON documents and vector search, both considered essential in modern databases. ®

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