back to article Oracle fights Russian software policy with Postgres smear

Oracle's Russian paw has found a way to fight the nation's regulations about software purchasing for government agencies, by sending local customers a letter containing stern criticisms of PostgreSQL. As of January 1st 2016, Russia's government agencies are required to use locally-produced software whenever it is functionally …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    On that whole in-memory thang, is that even relevant to this bun-fight? With NVMe, 3DXPoint or similarly behaved tech, you might even want to toss away compression so the CPU's can chew through data faster. So, what does that do to transactions per second on any of the SPEC tests? Just my $.05.

    1. thames

      Re: Ummm...

      In-memory as in "In-Memory Columnar Store"? That's available in Postgres as an extension. And it was written by a Russian.

      I suspect that Oracle's salesmen will be comparing their full package with all the expensive options to the baseline Postgres without any extras.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ummm...

        Bookmarked. I especially like the section titled, "Scaling beyond physical memory." I get the regular postgreSQL newsletter, have for years, but I usually just file it. Duh!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "baseline Postgres without any extras"

        Is a truly poor offering. A cheap one, but truly poor. It can't still get partitioning working without a lot of extra effort - better to pay of it as an option, than having to write code for each and every table to perform "poor man partitioning".

        Nor can store LOBs in any table. Or the poor backup/restore (and point in time recovery) support.

        And let's not speak of even more advanced features.

        Truly a database for the XXI century.... sure, it can run your web CMS, and little more.

        I guess Putin's diktat will only increase piracy of western commercial software...

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: "baseline Postgres without any extras"

          Is a truly poor offering.

          Horse shit. Out of the box Postgres is a capable RDBMS that gets a lot of things right: if you start developing on a Postgres box then you'll almost certainly be able to scale and move to another system should that become necessary.

          For more advanced features there are add-ons, some of which are commercial and some of which are free. And thank god that commercial support from different vendors is available. There are plenty of situations where it isn't the best tool for the job and I have less of an issue with paying for high-end features in Oracle, et al. than I do with their extremely repressive, almost Soviet, licensing policies.

      3. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Ummm...

        Thanks for that link, been looking for an in-memory column store with a SQL interface for ages.

        Do you know if it is reliable (been burnt by lots of these before)?

        Shame it doesn't integrate with the query parser, making it unusable with third-party dashboarding tools.

      4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Ummm...

        Sales and marketing sleazes will make apple-to-orange comparisons all unless called out. But they have figured out that they ultimately destroy their own reputation as well as their employers'.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    De-ja moo

    I've heard this bull before.

    Only it was Microsoft 10 years ago trying to explain how bad Linux was compared to Windows for server workloads. And they might've been right in some cases. Ultimately though, it has not won Microsoft the argument, or else they wouldn't be bothering with SQL Server on Linux.

    What makes Oracle think they're any different?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: De-ja moo

      Does anybody even take any notice of this kind of "unbiased comparison" knocking copy, though? Personally if I receive stuff like that it just results in the vendor who sent it going down a notch in my estimation, and my wastebasket losing some spare capacity.

  3. thames

    Why am I not surprised?

    There's a Russian publication which has more details:

    Long story short, this letter from Oracle was sparked by a request to list a Russian company called "Postgres Professional" in the federal product registry. The background is obscure, but this apparently puts them on a better footing for getting government contracts in competition with Oracle.

    The people behind the company appear to have worked on the development of Postgres for some time. There appears to be no lack of technical ability. Their road map includes major improvements in high availability clustering, full text search, and indexing. They also mention migration of databases as one of their core capabilities.

    In other words, Oracle isn't facing a hypothetical threat from Postgres. Rather, they're facing direct competition from a local commercial competitor who is well placed to use Postgres to take a lot of Oracle's business away from them in Russia.

    The Russian government is already using Postgres, and have several more projects in the works. Postgres is used by the French government, Mastercard, and various other large Western businesses (mentioned in the above story).

    Oracle's claims are completely void of any actual content, so the Postgres Professional's response was limited to saying, "Postgres is better than Oracle in all those areas".

    There was an El Reg story a short while ago about Microsoft products getting the boot, and in the comments I believe I mentioned that Oracle would be next, so I'm not surprised at all by what's happening. The story above mentions that SAP is also in the government's sights due to the large sums of money being spent on SAP.

    The reason behind all this is very simple. Russian government policy is to diversify their economy to become less dependent upon oil and other natural resources. This goes back to well before the recent price slump, as they were investing their high oil revenues in things like aerospace, battery tech, IT hardware, automobile production, and of course software.

    Russia has a fairly large and sophisticated software development industry. Where they've mainly lacked is sales and marketing. The government is using their purchasing power to boost domestic companies to give them a head start. The intention is that they will eventually expand into foreign markets, particularly in various parts of Asia. Whether or not you happen to think they would find customers in the West is irrelevant, as they're far more interested in developing countries which are experiencing faster growth and where there are fewer incumbents who have the market already sewn up.

    The plan goes well back to before the collapse in oil prices, the decline of the rouble, the Ukraine crisis, or Snowden revelations. However, all those factors have acted to give more serious attention to the diversification plan, and the low rouble has made it financially much more attractive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Where they've mainly lacked is sales and marketing."

      Actually, no. They are very good at marketing and selling malware and related services, which is where the Russian development industry really thrives.

      Well, if the Russian government will move many of those developers to legal software products, the better.... how much people will trust "software made in Putin's Russia" is another thing... it's just a Russian Snowden would risk much more than a US one...

      1. Dan Wilkie

        Re: "Where they've mainly lacked is sales and marketing."

        In fairness, having worked for a Russian owned tech company - they have a lot of local talent and it's not all malware (at least not 9-5 anyway). From speaking to a lot of the developers, their education system is heavily focused around science and engineering.

    2. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Why am I not surprised?

      In other words, Oracle isn't facing a hypothetical threat from Postgres. Rather, they're facing direct competition from a local commercial competitor who is well placed to use Postgres to take a lot of Oracle's business away from them in Russia.

      This also explains why Oracle did not attack other competing databases, like MySQL (ooops, that's an Oracle product nowadays).

      It s good the Russians promote diversity in software, even if in a bit heavy-handed fashion.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Why am I not surprised?

      Another problem for Leisure Suit Larry and Slurp is a lot of IT is a mental exercise. Thus building a viable IT industry in many areas is more a matter of finding people with a knack for programming, problem solving, and critical thinking. These are skills that many have in abundance in any reasonably advanced economy.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    NATO adware

    Vladimir Putin's military adventures in Crimea

    El Reg, please stop doing "we was attacked without provocations, honest" declarations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NATO adware

      Did the USA and Eu invest a few tens of millions(*) to change the regime in Ukraine to an anti-Russian one is orthogonal to the question of "Did Putin have a military adventure". In both cases "I think I saw a Pussy Cat" gets the answer of "Yes you did, yes you did".

      That is by a very conservative estimate - I coordinated a large student protest in Eastern Europe including a 40 day standoff with police and special forces 20+ year ago. So I know what it takes to run one and man the barricades. As nearly all such events in Eastern Europe it was financed heavily from abroad same as Maidan. The Maidan signs were bleeding obvious - starting with the choice of dates, going through factory printed posters and finishing with "assembly line quality and uniformity" of molotovs

      1. asdf

        Re: NATO adware

        The US is spending 15 billion a year on our military in Afghanistan alone. Other than some Special Forces they are mostly there to train and equip the locals. That is probably nearly the GDP of the entire country minus the poppy. Few tens of millions of dollars would be the cost just for the CIA to come in and liaison the way the US government operates. If USAID gets involved millions becomes billions (all down the corruption rabbit hole).

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Article Picture

    That is an American black bear, not a Russian one. Though it is still valid as the the question of "Does Oracle Use FUD" is pretty much equivalent to "Does the bear shit in the woods".

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Anyone who says "total cost of ownership" is trying to rip you off. Eg. Theirs is higher.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: TOC

      I had to laugh when I saw "Total cost of ownership" as an Oracle benefit after reading all those stories about Larry's crew trying to absolutely ream any and all customers on license fees as soon as they look like trying to cut back - compliance audits and all that bullshit. As well as all those ludicrous per user fees.

      As for scalability, Oracle is absolutely not scalable as you simply run out of money before you reach that point.

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    Oracle is quite clever in some ways, perverse in others and overcomplicated in more.

    It may well do some things very well, and a RAC cluster does a good job of HA if you need it that good but it takes expensive people to look after it properly. And in all the ways that you could argue that Oracle is better than PostgresSQL, if PG is more than good enough for your requirements, paying eye-watering amounts of cash out for stuff you don't need doesn't make sense.

    I've seen dozens of Oracle instances being used where there are more appropriate and far less expensive options.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You want a badass Russian database?

    Forget Postgres, try Sophia

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Russia's got a very handy fig leaf for any action that hurts western firms: Edward Snowden's exploits"

    Is shooting the messenger elReg editorial policy? Probably not but this one got through.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are Russian government institutions aware

    that in some scenarios Oracle is way much better than alternatives ? Hell they are! Problem is the rest of the planet is now turning their back on them because they're being told to do so and that someone makes sure everybody toes the line. Now if you consider that Russians still have some brilliant engineering minds and that they've been through the same kind of tough times in the past, this is their only possible way to deal with it. Of course we the outsiders would love to see them failing but that's normal if we take into account the vast amount of hate propaganda directed against Russia and Russians (they are always stupid, corrupted, criminals, unreliable etc.).

    He who said the Cold War has ended long time ago was either a fool of a liar and my vote goes to the second option.

    1. asdf

      Re: Are Russian government institutions aware

      >that in some scenarios Oracle is way much better than alternatives ?

      The question is often are they six and seven figures better and depending on those scenarios the answer may not always be yes. In addition with Oracle you better plan just how far past inflation (hint think higher education past) they will raise your costs over the lifetime of a project.

  11. Down not across Silver badge


    Into this hostile and/or complex environment strides Oracle with a document (PDF) that Russian outlet Ведомости (Vedemosti) says was sent to a number of large government and private concerns, some of which are considering or engaged in Oracle-to-PostgresSQL upgrades.

    I like how the article say it is an upgrade.

    Given how buggy 12.1 is, I am not convinced reliability is one of the better points.

    TCO? Really? Even if you pick some paid for enhnacements to PostgreSQL, I think the cost will be several magnitudes lower than Larry's offering.

  12. asdf

    elephant in the room pretty obvious

    Oracle the database single biggest flaw by far is they are owned by Oracle the company. That is one bullet point you have to put in the con list in bold 72pt. If that fact wasn't true, the Postgres user base would probably be significantly smaller.

  13. zenaan

    Three related links:

    Here's to making the world a better place :)

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