The current incarnation of the Postgres Object-Relational Database Management System is known as PostgreSQL (a.k.a. Postgres 6). While Postgres has had SQL capabilities for only three years, the system itself is over a decade old. In the early 1980s, Dr. Michael Stonebreaker of the University of California at Berkeley designed a database system that pioneered many of the concepts found in today's relational database systems. This database engine was known as Ingres (later University Ingres). Ingres was a free, university funded project that quickly gathered a following among other computer scientists around the world.
One company saw the business potential in this academic product and it eventually trademarked and commercialized Ingres as a product. The original, free version of Ingres was renamed University Ingres and its development continued independent of the commercial version.
After a period of time, Dr. Stonebreaker's research led him further away from the original design goals of Ingres. He decided that it was time to design a completely new database system that extended the ideas of Ingres and went beyond into new territory. The database system became known as Postgres for Post-Ingres.
Postgres, like Ingres, was a university funded project that has been free to the public. Also like Ingres, the commercial sector took notice of Postgres and the commercial product Illustra was born. Free Postgres has continued on and ranks up there in popularity with MySQL and mSQL for mid-range database servers.
In 1995, two developments happened that shaped the future of Postgres. First, two of Dr. Stonebreaker's graduate students, Andrew Yu and Jolly Chen, designed an SQL interface into Postgres. Here, a few years after David Hughes first developed MiniSQL as a SQL front-end to Postgres, Postgres finally had a true SQL front-end. With SQL support came increased popularity. As with both mSQL and MySQL, an increase in popularity brought on an increase for demand in new features. The result was an object-relational database engine for the mid-range that supports transactions, triggers, and subselects. You can find out more about PostgreSQL at http://www.postgresql.org.
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