is one of the popular open-source relational database management systems
(RDBMS) that runs under Linux. From the
about Firebird document:
Firebird is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL standard features that runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms. Firebird offers excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers. It has been used in production systems, under a variety of names, since 1981.
The Firebird Project is a commercially independent project of C and C++ programmers, technical advisors and supporters developing and enhancing a multi-platform relational database management system based on the source code released by Inprise Corp (now known as Borland Software Corp) on 25 July, 2000.
Stable version 2.1 of Firebird was
announced on April 18, 2008:
"Firebird 2.1 is a full version release that builds on the architectural changes introduced in the V.2.0 series. Thanks to all who have field-tested the Alphas and Betas during 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 we have a release that is bright with new features and improvements, including the long-awaited global temporary tables, a catalogue of new run-time monitoring mechanisms, database triggers and the injection of dozens of internal functions into the SQL language set."
A summary of new features from the release announcement includes:
- Database triggers for making user-defined triggers have been added.
- Global temporary tables are now available for the handling of non-persistent data.
- New common table expressions are available for making dynamic recursive queries.
- An optional RETURNING clause which supports update, insert and delete operations has been added.
- The MERGE function now has an UPDATE OR INSERT statement for performing conditional operations.
- The new LIST() function can retrieve information in the form of a comma-separated list.
- New built-in functions have been added to replace UDF library calls.
- Text BLOBs up to 32K in length can now masquerade as varchars.
- Procedural SQL (PSQL) local variables can now be declared using domains.
- PSQL variables and arguments can be COLLATEd.
- A new DDL CREATE COLLATION command has been added, replacing the need for a script.
- New Unicode collations can be applied to any character set.
- The ability to perform run-time database snapshot monitoring via SQL has been added.
- The performance of the remote protocol has been improved to better support operation on slow networks.
More details on the version 2.1 release are available in the
release notes [PDF]. The document should be read by those who
are upgrading from older versions of Firebird.
The release notes list a number of additional changes, including:
- The reworking of the on disk structure (ODS).
- Improvements to the PSQL error stack trace.
- The availability of more context information.
- A new fbsvcmgr command-line interface to the Services API.
- Support for named cursors.
- Implementation of the new XNET local transport protocol.
- A rework of the garbage collection mechanism.
- The Services API to Classic architecture port has been finished.
- Lock timeouts are now available for WAIT transactions.
- New Database Shutdown Modes have been added.
- The NULL handling for UDFs has been improved.
- There have been synchronization logic improvements.
- Support has been added for 64 bit platforms.
- Larger record enumeration limits are now supported.
- Debugging improvements have been added.
- Connection handling on the POSIX superserver has been improved.
- The PSQL invariant tracking system has been reworked.
- The ROLLBACK RETAIN clause is now supported.
- There have been improvements made to the optimizer routines.
- Numerous Windows improvements have been added.
Clearly, the Firebird developers have been busy working on this software.
If the above lists aren't enough, the Firebird home page
notes that there is a mechanism for users to request more new features.
development roadmap for 2008 gives an idea of where the
project is headed. Several bug fix releases are scheduled for version
2.1 in the near future and work on the next major release, version 2.5,
is already in progress.
Firebird is available for download
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