Ah a new year, a new PostgreSQL release in the works. Beware -- this post is a bit sappy as we are going to highlight those that have made our lives and lives of many a little easier.
These are people we consider the most important because they provide the first impression that newcomers get
when first starting off with PostgreSQL. The newcomer that quickly walks out the door unimpressed, is the easy sale you've lost. Make your pitch short and sweet.
As always Hubert does a really good job of taste testing the new treats
in the oven and detailing how cool they are. I highly suggest his posts if people have not read them already or are
looking at PostgreSQL for the first time.
You can catch his Waiting for PostgreSQL 8.5 series which is in progress.
Surely gives us a list of things to test drive.
Then there are those that document, the volumes of PostgreSQL documentation which are just great, up to date and rich with content. Probably too many of these
people to call out, and sadly we don't know them by name.
Of course its not just enough to announce releases, document them and talk about them, you must make it really easy for people to try them out.
If people have to compile stuff, especially windows users, forget about it.
You won't hear complaints, you won't hear whispers, you'll hear dust blowing. The biggest audience you have is the one you just lost
because you didn't make it easy for them to try your stuff. The apple hit me on the head one day when a very dear friend said to me
and here is a slight paraphrase.
You don't actually expect me to compile this myself do you? How much time do you think I have? It is not about you, it is about me..
This was especially surprising coming from a guy I always thought of as selfless.
This I realized is the biggest problem with many open source projects, that they are lost in the flawed mentality that its about scratching
their own itch and the rest will come. It is not. Always concentrating on your own itch and scratching it is a sure way of guaranteeing that no one will scratch your itch for you.
Think of it like a pool game. Do you target the aim at the ball you are trying to hit, or balls near by that will knock down the others.
So in short don't be a complete wuss that people can walk all over, but look past your nose and choose your balls wisely; make sure all your balls are not
focused on software development.
UPDATE: Since this article was written, Yum now comes packaged with PostGIS 1.5. Please refer to PostGIS Yum Install for PostgreSQL 9.0 if you want to go with a faster more idiot proof install process
A couple of people have asked this, so thought we would address the common issues people run into
with compiling PostGIS.
The first question, some will ask is Why don't you just take the packaged PostGIS that comes with the PostgreSQL
There are two reasons for not installing PostGIS under using Yum and our general reasons for not.
We like running a newer GEOS than what is generally packaged with Yum because certain PostGIS functionality
is not enabled with older versions of GEOS. For example GEOS 3.1 introduced a couple of new functions like ST_Covers and
the Cascaded Union and prepared geometry speed enhancements require GEOS 3.1+. GEOS 3.2 brought more robust support for dealing with topological
exceptions, new buffering features like one-sided buffer (which the upcoming PostGIS 1.5 exposes if and only if you are running
GEOS 3.2+), faster buffering, and several memory leak cleanups. We highly recommend using GEOS 3.2.0. It is just a more robust product than prior GEOS versions.
We generally like to run newer versions of PostGIS than what Yum provides and also run multiple versions of PostGIS
on the same server. This is a bit tricky to do with Yum since it only exposes one and generally an older one than what we
care for. PostGIS 1.5 will be especially great since it will have the geodetic support and cool functions like ST_ClosestPoint
and other major goodies.
NOTE: PostGIS 1.3, PostGIS 1.4, PostGIS 1.5 can coexist on the same PostgreSQL daemon service as long as they are installed in different databases. They will all share the same Proj and GEOS. So installing PostGIS 1.5 will not break your
PostGIS 1.4 or 1.3 installs. The newer GEOS 3.2.0 C-API is backward compatible with older GEOS C-API and the C-API is what PostGIS uses.