Recovering from planetary disaster

So, as Devrim has already posted, there was a major disaster with Planet PostgreSQL a while ago. The result was that both the aggregator (www.planetpostgresql.org) and the blog-hosting-for-many-PostgreSQL-community-people-including-me (people.planetpostgresql.org) went down. This was not so good, but it happens. Also, there were no backups. This is a lot worse. This is a resource with a lot of high-value information, and it's now been offline for a long time. We still do not know exactly what happened, but Devrim has now indicated that we may be able to recover the data somehow at some point, but we don't know when - hopefully soon.

There were two parts to this:

The aggregator

The aggregator, Planet PostgreSQL, contained no actual data (that's in it's nature) other than the list of blogs it was pulling from. And since we had already been experimenting with some new software running on a community server to do this, we could rapidly bring this server and software into production when we realized this issue wouldn't be resolved quickly. Moving the planet over to a community managed server was discussed and agreed on a long time ago, but I was too lazy to finish off the last pieces of the software. This was now done in a hurry, during pgday.eu, to get something up. Since we could not reach Devrim (his email was also on the server that was down), we set up http://planet.postgresql.org in the official postgresql.org namespace to point to this server. When we got hold of Devrim, he also changed www.planetpostgresql.org to point to this new, community managed, planet.

The day after this, when Devrim had a few more things under control, he came back to us saying that he was not comfortable having Planet PostgreSQL under community control, co-managed by him and the rest of the team that manages our infrastructure. At this point we pushed for the point that had been made a long time ago - the web team is not comfortable having such an important service with such a prominent location on www.postgresql.org not managed by the community team (with Devrim still being the head maintainer, just with the rest of the team as backup in case something happened - and of course with the standard community requirements on backups etc). Devrim's choice in this case was to repoint the planetpostgresql.org domain to his server (even though it at the time had nothing on it - though he did get the aggregator back up not too long after that), and ask us to remove it from the front page of the website if we would not accept that. This is when the decision was made to keep http://planet.postgresql.org running as a community managed service and as the official PostgreSQL blog aggregator service that is linked from the main website.

The conclusion of this, was a fork of the aggregator service. There is now the PostgreSQL community official aggregator, at http://planet.postgresql.org, and there is Devrim's aggregator at http://www.planetpostgresql.org. They both provide similar service to the end user, through different software and different policies. Only the first one feeds to www.postgresql.org.

This has exactly nothing to do with the blog hosting, this only deals with the aggregator.

The blog hosting

The blog-hosting service at people.planetpostgresql.org is the one that contained all the data. This is the part that we are still hoping we will be able to recover some data from. This is a second service provided by Devrim, that is unrelated to the aggregator - other than that they were running on the same, crashed box.

There are no plans by the PostgreSQL web/infrastructure team to provide this service. There are a lot of services out there on the net that provide blog hosting, Devrim's included (once he gets the system back online). Both commercial and free. The aggregation service will be equally happy to work with both. So if you are looking to set up a PostgreSQL blog, either talk to Devrim or look at one of the external offerings.

I've personally decided to move my blog to my own hosting. It's now available at http://blog.hagander.net. I will try to recover the old data as soon as Devrim makes it available either into this blog, or into the old location, depending on what's possible. I know others, for example Robert have done the same. AFAIK, we were both considering this beforehand as well but found the existing service convenient. The feeds have been updated on the main planet site, but if you were using the direct feeds, you need to update the link (see sidebar for feed links). And a big thanks to Devrim for hosting my blog there as long as he did.

I give no recommendations to other people who had their blogs on people.planetpostgresql.org about what to do with their blogs, and there will be no statement from the web or infrastructure team about it. It's an unrelated service, that everybody needs to decide on their own about.

The conclusion of this part is that my blog now lives at a new URL. Update your links. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Lightning talk @west

align="right"Selena tricked me into doing a Lightning Talk here at west today. We almost missed it because lunch dragged out (oops), but we made it just in time. My talk was titled "Creating a debian compatible random number generator in 5 simple slides", and just to make JD happy I have to post the final summary slide here. There needs to be one from each conference... Currently in Jeff Davies talk about streaming queries, I'll probably write up a more complete summary of the conference later on. Should pay attention now...

Npgsql 1.0

Good news today - Npgsql 1.0 final has been released. It's been a long wait, but the 0.x and beta versions have certainly been very stable. But I'm looking forward to upgrading my systems to 1.0 soon. Great job Francisco and his helpers.

OpenSource Days - roundup

I got back from OpenSource Days in Copenhagen yesterday, after two and a half fairly intense days. As usual (while up until last year the conference was named LinuxForum, it's still the same conference) the conference itself was great. Lots of very good talks to listen to, and very nice arrangements for us speakers. And a whole lot of interesting people to talk to.

It was the first time I've been both manning a "commericial booth" (for Redpill Linpro) and been a speaker/participant at the same time. I think it worked reasonably well - though my booth colleagues might think differently due to my absence from the booth particularly on the Saturday. In my talk, I specifically tried to avoid mixing in our company services (unlike some other speakers, who shall remain nameless..), because I was there to talk about PostgreSQL. I think that also worked out fairly well.

My own talk went pretty well - got some interesting discussion going afterwards, along with a couple of suggestions for making it better next time. It's nice with an audience that's involved enough to come with those. There are no speaker eval forms at the conference, but I got the impression it was fairly well received.

As a result of the talk, which had a section about how to use pgcrypto to build a secure authentication system, several people asked me what can be done about getting pgcrypto out of contrib, to make it "safer" to use this in a production application. Given the number of people who mentioned it, it's pretty clear to me that we need to do something about this.

Speaking of things that were mentioned a lot - several people asked me during the conference about the state of the CTE-patch for PostgreSQL 8.4. Unfortunately I couldn't say much more than "probably" at the time. Since then, Tom Lane has committed the patch. So for those of you who asked then, and don't follow the list - the answer has now changed from "probably" to "yes".

Obviously, I listened to Jan's keynote talk about Slony. While i did not learn anything new about Slony, Jan did a very good job of explaining some of the more advanced things Slony is capable of doing, which is the reason it's fairly complex to configure. Good talk!

I'd also like to second what Troels writes in his blog - Jan did a good job of not hiding the weaknesses with Slony. Which is something that non-open(source) vendors have a tendency not to be. (And I'll venture as far as to say that there were certainly other speakers at this conference who were not so forthcoming - hopefully myself excluded, but I'll leave it to others to judge that)

I'll certainly be back next year!

The worlds smallest Slony cluster?

We recently updated on of our Slony clusters. I think it at least used to qualify as one of the worlds smallest ones:

  • Two nodes (obvious minimum)
  • one database (that's a given)
  • with one table
  • with one column
  • with one row

Now, we recently doubled the size of this cluster. It now has a whopping two columns in the table. The second column being updated by a trigger, so it's still only one column updated by the end user (well, application). But it's two columns to be replicated!

So what does this prove? Really, not much, but at least: Slony certainly scales "downward" just fine. It feels like a bit overhead to set it up for something like this, but it works just fine. Even in a small database, triggers can be very useful - regardless of what the documentation of a certain other database used to say before... And even in a trivial case like this, statement based replication simply does not work reliably*. You need something that's data based - something that the same other database is actually recognizing now and will be including the next version...

October - a month of conferences

Sorry, Devrim. And others. It's been a long time since my last blog post - can't really come up with a reasonable excuse, so I'll just come up with a post instead.

Anyway, on to the actual post. Unlike some people who have said that autumn is a "downtime" period for conferences, I've managed to fill October almost solidly with conferences of PostgreSQL interest. Here's a quick rundown:

Open Source Days, Copenhagen, Denmark : October 3-4. This is the old Linuxforum conference that has been reborn under a new name, and moved from winter to autumn. Always a great conference, and I really enjoy going. I'll be doing a talk on PostgreSQL, and my company will also be well represented in the exhibitors area.

PostgreSQL Conference West, Portland, Oregon, USA : October 10-12. The next in the "JD series" of community conferences in the US. They always draw a lot of PostgreSQL talent, so I'm really looking forward to this one. This time around it will also be including a code sprint - let's see how that will work out. I'll be doing my talk on fulltext search (for search.postgresql.org), and I think JD has some further plans as well.

pgDay.EU/pgDay.IT, Prato, Italy : October 17-18. This is the European PostgreSQL conference this year. Everybody interested in PostgreSQL in Europe really should consider going! There's a whole bunch of very interesting talks lined up both in English and Italian. I'll be doing a keynote together with Dave Page, and I'm generally fairly involved in the organization.

FSCONS, Gothemburg, Sweden : October 24-26. Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit, second year around. Last year I was there just as a visitor, this year I'll be doing a PostgreSQL talk. Arranged by FSF Europe, CC and Wikimedia it seems to be drawing a lot of interesting free software people from around Scandinavia (and elsewhere in Europe as well).

If you're going to be around any of these places, be sure to go to the conferences! And if you're at the conferences, look me up for a chat (or a beer :-P)

It'll be a busy month (there's actual work to be done in between the conferences as well), but I expect it to be lots of fun!

pgCon day 3

align="right" vspace="10" hspace="10"I'm not going to go into any talk specifics, but just say that day 3 was the first day of regular talks, and it had a lot of very good talks. After that, we had the EnterpriseDB dinner party, which was also very good. They clearly won the dinner-party race over Yahoo! - no contest!

I've uploaded pictures from this day as well as the dinner party. They're all in the [ gallery]. Most of the pictures are tagged with names - but I'd love to have some help going through the ones that aren't and fill in the proper names, since I don't know everybody. Feel free to help out by just sending me an email with names that are in pictures which aren't categorized.

The picture attached to this post is one I received from Bruce's boss based on one of my photos. No further comments needed I think.

Right now in Peters talk about our project management and release processes. I actually agree with most of them, which is a good sign - we think at least almost the same on how things are.

Welcome PostgreSQL Europe

So, it's now official. Graciously folded into Selenas lightning talk, we have now announced that the legal forming of PostgreSQL Europe has finally come through. All the government bureaucracy is now finally done, and we are a registered european non-profit.

What this means in reality is that we now have a lot of actual work to do, and can no longer hide behind this fact. Until then, let's get working on the wiki or just fill our mailinglist with good ideas!

pgCon day 2

[HTML_REMOVED] So I didn't get around to posting the first day. And the second day I actually left the post in drafts and forgot to publish it, only remembering now on the morning of the third day. Ah, well, here's a slightly updated one... [HTML_REMOVED]

Yesterday was the developer meeting day for those of us who were involved in that, and a tutorial days for those who weren't. The developer meeting was basically a meetup between around 25 of the most active PostgreSQL developers, talking about. Well. Developer stuff. I'd say it was a big success. While we obviously didn't end up committing a bunch of things, several big things were discussed in person (and during the breaks), but most importantly we once again got a chance for some face-to-face time with our fellow developers - which I think is worth a lot. It helped a lot that almost everybody who's done a lot lately was there. Not quite everybody, but closer than I thought. The brain-trust in that room yesterday was quite amazing...

After that, it was a Yahoo! party in the evening, which supposedly had food and drinks. I only ever saw the drinks from that part and had to buy my own food (along with a couple of others), but hey, free drinks is not something I'm going to complain about. I forgot the cable to my camera, but as soon as I find one I'll try to get some pictures up... Oh, the occassion? They now do huge databases based on PostgreSQL.

Time to head off to breakfast in half an hour now, and then on to the keynote. I hope to sneak an announcement in there, so I guess I have to get there a tiny bit early.

PGcon first photos!

align="right"

As usual, I forgot my USB cable. As is becoming usual, Selena came to my rescue and lent me hers so I got the pictures up. The first set is up on my [ gallery] with some tagging and stuff.

More photos to come as the conference proceeds. But for now, I obviously have to post the one of Steven falling asleep at the table long before midnight... Kinda ruins his attempt to build a reputation, I think... But it's hard work being at a PostgreSQL conference - imagine how it was for those of us working at the developer meeting, Steven!

Conferences

I speak at and organize conferences around Open Source in general and PostgreSQL in particular.

Upcoming

Postgres Open 2019
Sep 11-13, 2019
Orlando, FL, USA
PGConf.EU 2019
Oct 15-18, 2019
Milan, Italy

Past

Postgres London 2019
Jul 2-3, 2019
London, UK
PGCon 2019
May 27-31, 2019
Ottawa, Canada
PGDay.IT 2019
May 17, 2019
Bologna, Italy
PGConf.DE 2019
May 10, 2019
Leipzig, Germany
FOSS North 2019
Apr 8-9, 2019
Gothenburg, Sweden
More past conferences