August 1, 2006 9:14 AM PDT

Pervasive exits open-source PostgreSQL business

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Pervasive Software has decided to exit the business of providing support for the PostgreSQL open-source database, one of the first failures in the current rush to open-source business models.

Last January, the company, which makes data integration tools, launched a new product line based on PostgreSQL, a freely available open-source database used by businesses.

The idea was to break into the mainstream database business by undercutting the prices of entrenched corporate database providers--Oracle, IBM and Microsoft--with a product that provides many commonly used features.

In a letter to the PostgreSQL community of developers, Pervasive Software President John Farr said last week that the company "underestimated the high level of quality support and expertise already available within the PostgreSQL community."

He added that the company will continue to make data management products for PostgreSQL and will donate documentation and other intellectual property to the PostgreSQL community.

Open-source business models are becoming widely adopted by start-ups and venture capital investors. Many products, including databases and business intelligence tools, now have open-source alternatives.

Typically, businesses provide support services on a subscription basis for freely downloadable products. Many companies have taken the tack of selling a license for a high-end, closed-source version with more advanced features while having a low-end, open-source edition of their product.

See more CNET content tagged:
Pervasive Software Inc., PostgreSQL, open source, venture capital, database

3 comments

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So what
MySQL is well and alive, so what that they didn't have a buffer and enought money to stick to it, that was their fault, and not that of the Open Source community.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The problem was
... not an issue with the "open source
community" per se. The problem was that
Pervasive's business model was to provide
support for PostgreSQL -- but they learned that
their customers were finding the various
PostgreSQL forums more responsive and helpful
than what Pervasive provided. Pervasive just
couldn't compete there, so they stopped trying.

There's nothing to do with MySQL (which is quite
a bit different from PostgreSQL -- each
appropriate to their own set of uses).
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting story
I think it's an interesting story, and it's bigger in scope than PostgreSQL vs MySQL.

It is disappointing that Pervasive failed to turn a profit. MySQL is not the "only show in town" in the realm of open source; there are many different open source products available, not just DBs.

Open source is gaining legitimacy, slowly but surely. But getting "reliable support" is something Fortune 500 companies need to consider when implementing open source. If they have to turn to a support forum, they must assign more risk to their open source choice.

If new businesses emerge offering support to these products, risk goes down, legitimacy goes up, demand for for-sale software goes down, and so do their prices.

And the consumer wins!
Posted by rickbbell (18 comments )
Link Flag
 

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