Wednesday's release of PostgreSQL 8.0 means that Microsoft users will now be able to run the open source database PostgreSQL natively on Windows. Previous versions required the Cygwin Unix emulation toolkit to run on Windows servers.
The release will run on NT-based Windows releases including Win2000, XP and Win2003. Older releases such as Windows 95, 98, and ME are not supported as these operating systems do not have the infrastructure to support PostgreSQL, according to the PostgreSQL Web site.
Simon Riggs, a developer and consultant for PostgreSQL, said the ability to run PostgreSQL on Windows is important as it will allow people to try out the database at home, which is likely to increase the take-up of the database at companies. Also, businesses that only run Microsoft will now be able to use the database.
"There's an awful lot of people who run Windows at home," said Riggs. "Now they can experience it [PostgreSQL] and run it at home, and can say to their boss at work, 'I've tried it and it's good.' There's also a hell of a lot of small to medium-sized businesses who only run Windows. Making it available on Windows will definitely expand the market."
PostgreSQL 8 also includes a number of enterprise features including point-in-time recovery, savepoints and tablespaces.
As well as contributions from individual developers, a number of companies contributed to this release, including Linux distributor Red Hat and technology giant Fujitsu. Takayuki Nakazawa, a director at Fujitsu said he believes PostgreSQL has a bright future. "We are confident that these enterprise features will attract a great number of new PostgreSQL users," said Nakazawa in a statement. "We are committed to helping make PostgreSQL the leading database management system."
The release was initially due before the end of December, but was delayed for a few weeks until all the major bugs were fixed.
"Our release policy is that we go for quality not a particular date -- we kept going until every major issue was fixed," said Riggs. "The release started in August and has continued till now so it's had five full months of beta testing. It's really solid now."
As for future releases, the next main focus for PostgreSQL is scalability and performance, according to Riggs. "Scalability and performance are set to increase rapidly in the next year or two," he added.