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OSCON Europe - Summary

The first thing to notice is that I certainly didn't have time to write any blog posts during the event :-) I didn't have internet access from my hotel, just from the convention area, which also contributed to that.

In general, OSCON Europe was good. A few sessions were of "a bit lesser quality", but in most were very good. Most sessions were technically oriented, which is what I was looking for, but a couple were a bit more on the marketing side. And it's hard to get into deep technical stuff if you only have a 50 minute slot.

From a PostgreSQL perspective, it was very good. I got the definite feel that PostgreSQL was a lot better represented than MySQL when you looked at what people were interested in. We had a BOF, which they didn't. It wasn't a huge number of people, but there were some 10-12 of us at least, and some interesting discussions.

In general there were a whole lot of interesting people to talk to. Bruce and Simon from the PostgreSQL project of course, but a lot of others as well - both PostgreSQL users and people doing completely other things.

The most asked question from db users: What will happen with MySQL after the Innobase thing?

The most made-fun-of-in-talks-incident: Oracle buys Innobase.

Nobody really knows what will happen, and the MySQL guys didn't answer any questions about it. At least not in public. The MySQL guy (David) also managed to insult their community pretty good in his talk. I don't think it was intentional, but this was actually the second time I hear things along that line from them. The quote was basically "we get contributions from the community, but they are never good enough. We may take the idea and rewrite it from scratch". Ironically, his collegue Kaj had a talk the next day titled "taking the community to the next level"...

Finally, about my own talk delivered together with Simon Riggs. I think it went reasonably well. If you were there and want to let me know what you thought, please do so. I'll put the presentation slides up in a couple of days.

OSCON Europe day one - first impressions

So I got here, so some quick first impressions:

  • It's a bit smaller than I expected. But it's probably going to pick up tomorrow.
  • Not surprisingly, a lot of familiar faces - if only familiar from webpages...
  • So far, good quality talks!
  • Oh yeah, "they" deliver talks about LISP...

No PostgreSQL talks scheduled until wednesday, but there's at least Bruce to chat about pg stuff with. And if there are others around, do show yourselves if you can figure out where we are :-)

/mha/uploads/oscon-dead-languages.jpg alt="" align="right" Now for the mandatory first day picture. Daiman Conway delivering his talk on dead languages, and actually showing LISP code (and that wasn't the worst!) I thought I'd never have to live through watching a presentation about LISP again... (pardon the layout - the wireless connection here (hotel) is very flaky, so I have to click things quickly before it goes offline)

Batch encoding conversion

Today I found out (the hard way - customer call!) that I had created a whole bunch of databases on a server in UNICODE encoding, when the locale picked only supported LATIN1. There were also a bunch of other dbs that were actually in LATIN1 that had no problems.

To solve this, I wrote a quick-n-dirty-n-hacky script to batch-convert all the databases from UNICODE to LATIN1. Luckily none of them were very large :-) I'll post it here in the hope that it'll help someone - but consider it mainly something to build from. Specifically the errorchecking should perhaps be better than just an echo of the exitcode.

It solved my problem. YMMV.


/usr/local/pgsql/bin/psql template1 postgres -A -t -c "SELECT datname FROM pg_database WHERE datallowconn AND encoding=6 AND NOT datname ~ '.*_s'" | while read D ; do

  echo "Converting $D"
  echo "-- start" > $D.dump
  echo "ALTER DATABASE $D RENAME TO ${D}_s;" >> $D.dump
  echo "CREATE DATABASE $D ENCODING='LATIN1' TEMPLATE=template0;" >> $D.dump
  echo "\\connect $D" >> $D.dump
  /usr/local/pgsql/bin/pg_dump -U postgres $D >> $D.dump
  /usr/local/pgsql/bin/psql -v ON_ERROR_STOP=1 -U postgres template1 -f $D.dump
  echo Exitcode $?

ODBC and Kerberos

Finally got around to testing the new ODBC version for Kerberos support, and I'm happy to report it works perfectly and requires no hacks to install.

To use it, make sure you have a libpq with Kerberos support compiled in (yeah, this means manual build - we're looking into this for 8.1, but no promises yet). Then just set up your data source as you normally would, and skip specifying the password (you must specify a username though). As long as your pg_hba.conf is properly set up, that's all you need.

Synchronizing Apache passwords

I have an application with the need to synchronize apache passwords for basic auth (using DBM files) from a postgresql table. Using mod_auth_pgsql simply not an option - there may be other cases where it's an option but not wanted, in this case there it was out from the beginning.

So. pl/perl once again to the rescue, along with the CPAN module Apache::Htpasswd. Pretty easy to do with a trigger. Hit the link to see the code.

  userid character varying(32) NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY,
  "password" character varying(32) DEFAULT randpwd() NOT NULL

CREATE FUNCTION sync_user_list() RETURNS "trigger"
  AS $_$

use Apache::Htpasswd;
use strict;

my %25userlist;

open(HT,"/data/webusers/users") || elog(ERROR,"Could not read password file: $!");

while (<HT>) {
  my ($uid,$pwd) = split /:/;


my $ht = new Apache::Htpasswd("/data/webusers/users") || elog(ERROR,"Cannot open password file: $!");

my $r = spi_exec_query("SELECT userid,password FROM users");

my %25users;

for (my $i = 0; $i < $r->{processed}; $i++) {
  my $u = $r->{rows}[$i]->{userid};
  my $p = $r->{rows}[$i]->{password};
  $users{$u} = 1;
  if (!$ht->fetchPass($u)) {
    $ht->htpasswd($u,$p) || elog(ERROR,"Could not add user $u: " . $ht->error());
  elsif (!$ht->htCheckPassword($u,$p)) {
    $ht->htpasswd($u,$p,1) || elog(ERROR,"Could not add/set password for $u: " . $ht->error());


foreach my $u (keys %25userlist) {
  if ($users{$u} != 1) {


   LANGUAGE plperlu;

CREATE TRIGGER trg_sync_user_list
  EXECUTE PROCEDURE sync_user_list();

pginstaller progress

Code has now been committed to pginstaller to move user creation to the execute sequence. This means it can be used from silent installs, and also that the user won't be created until you have filled in all dialogs - in 8.0 we create it as soon as you leave the service config screen.

If you need this, or really anybody else as well, please grab latest cvs, test and let us know how it works. If you can't compile yourself, wait for the next beta which hopefully won't be too far off. But as this is a fairly major change, we'd appreciate a lot of testing.

A couple of minor fixes have also gone in, as we're nearing release. Not a lot of bug/feature-requests still pending now.

Hectic autumn

Wow, this autumn is turning out really hectic. Which can also be read as very interesting /mha/templates/default/img/emoticons/smile.png alt=":-)" style="display: inline; vertical-align: bottom;" class="emoticon" /

Apart from helping out with the final touches of PostgreSQL 8.1 (now in beta! Download and test!) and finishing off the 8.1 installer, I'm also involved in the Slony on win32 project Dave has been referring to.

Apart from coding up the win32 port of Slony, this also means I'll be going to Tokyo to deliver a talk on it /mha/templates/default/img/emoticons/laugh.png alt=":-D" style="display: inline; vertical-align: bottom;" class="emoticon" / Which is going to be really interesting - a big thanks to Hiroshi for setting this up!

And finally, I'm also a co-speaker with Simon Riggs on Euro OSCON in Amsterdam, on the topic of [HTML_REMOVED]PostgreSQL in the Enterprise[HTML_REMOVED]. My part of the talk will deal with win32 issues, such as Active Directory integration. If you're a PostgreSQL user or developer, I'll look forward to meeting you there!

Oh, and on top of this, all the normal stuff at work of course /mha/templates/default/img/emoticons/smile.png alt=":-)" style="display: inline; vertical-align: bottom;" class="emoticon" / So there will certainly not be many boring moments.

dblink-ldap on win32

Just a quick note that I now have dblink-ldap running fine on win32. I have some performance issues in my lab environment, but I think I've tracked them down to a broken DNS setup. Will need to try it again in a better environment in the next couple of days.

Let me know if you want to test it and I can send you a binary of what I have now.

Not caught up

I'm back for my around-two-weeks of vacation - much needed, and turned out very well.

Meanwhile, Dave has done a lot of work on the installer, and even put out a beta release.

Still leaves the break-out-account-creation part for me to do, but a lot of the other TODO items have been ticked off. Great work Dave!

Dave Page joins core

Dave Page has been added to PostgreSQL core, so now the win32 team has a representative there! Not to mention the website team. For these reasons and others I believe Dave is a great choice for the core team.

Congratulations, Dave!


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


PGConf.DE 2019
May 10, 2019
Leipzig, Germany
PGDay.IT 2019
May 17, 2019
Bologna, Italy
PGCon 2019
May 27-31, 2019
Ottawa, Canada


FOSS North 2019
Apr 8-9, 2019
Gothenburg, Sweden
Frankfurt PUG
Mar 21, 2019
Frankfurt, Germany
Nordic PGDay 2019
Mar 19, 2019
Copenhagen, Denmark
pgDay.Paris 2019
Mar 12, 2019
Paris, France
SCALE 17x + PGDay
Mar 7-10, 2019
Pasadena, California, USA
More past conferences