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Re: [school-discuss] Web-based School Administration...

If I had to ask myself a question about what to give up, I'd say any and everything Microsoft. No one has to declare any and everything Microsoft bad and then worry about it. The organization's behavior and its dedication to killing Open Source provides me with enough reason to refrain from using their products any more.

I brought an Open Source Bill out of the ground in Texas this year. I petitioned for it, found an advocate in the Texas Senate and helped garner support for it. If you have a doubt about it, read the first article of my series in Linux Journal.

I'm amazed that people continue to dilly dally around Microsoft like some meritable argument exists. Restraint of trade and the desire to kill goodness provides the banner for wanting people to give up Microsoft products.

I'm not religious about this nor am I a Linux bigot. In fact, I have Microsoft certifications up the kazoo. My companies were Microsoft Solution providers. I wrote plenty of front-ends to SQL Server and had a robust Access programming shop. I also don't have a beef with them for anything personally. I was successful with Microsoft.

I don't know if watching people put in jail in El Salvador provided the final straw or watching the puppet show on the floor of the Texas Senate finally convinced me to delete their software from everything I owned. Obviously, I had a bout of conscience.

Maybe it was when I attempted to donate an entire IS department to Aransas Pass ISD and was confronted by their procurement officer who threatened to fire the director of MIS for accepting the servers. In the poorest school district in the State, I was helping make the Navy's donation of older computers work. But the kids never got to use those computers. Trace that back to the business practices of Microsoft.

I guess I have to ask myself, can I do it without Microsoft? That's a question Socrates may have asked if he were alive today. Oh, and then he would ask, "how do you know that?" I'd say I know what I know. Get rid of the stuff.

dfrankson@infinitecampus.org wrote:
Whoa... I don't think I've ever been called the "Microsoft guy", and I
doubt that any "Microsoft guys" would ever subscribe to this list :-)

As I said before, I would like nothing more than to switch our entire
product infrastructure over to open source, but I have been unable to find a
db that could adaquately replace SQL Server. This topic started when I
asked Les his opinion on Firebird scalability, since its the only open
source db I haven't checked out. If anything, I don't blindly declare all
Microsoft products bad, and all open source products good without fully
evaluating them. SQL Server's greatest fault is that its a Microsoft
product, but technically its an excellent database server. (I'm pretty sure
that's not the proverbial line that Microsoft advocates use.)

Until recently MySQL has been rather lacking in features compared to a more
mature open source db like Postgres. MySQL is just now getting basic
subquery functionality, and thats a feature that was in Sybase long before
Microsoft ever created their branch. 4.1 is the first version I'd ever even
consider using for a large district SIS database.

I'm not advocating the use of SQL Server in open source SIS products, and
I'm not disputing the positive experiences others have had with open source
dbs, so I'm not sure what you want me to give up?


----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Adelstein" <adelste@netscape.net>
To: <schoolforge-discuss@schoolforge.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: [school-discuss] Web-based School Administration...

This has turned into an interesting thread. We have the proverbial
Microsoft SQL Server advocate making a claim and others attempting to
acquaint him with reality.

MySQL came about because the developers couldn't find a database to
process their loads. If SQL Server could have done it, they would have
used it. Instead, they took the code from Msql and modified it to run
heavy transaction processing.

I own the discussion list at Government Forge and maybe I should let
astroturfers join so we can create more traffic.

BTW the last message(s) in the thread is outstanding. I appreciate the
you sharing the data structure.

If the Microsoft guy hasn't gotten it by now, though, you might consider
giving up.

mquinn@quinnteam.com wrote:

I've had pretty good experience with MySQL in a heavy, write intensive
environment.  Our system monitoring software consolidates system logs
over the network from several machines (maybe 6) to a single larger
computer running syslogd interfaced into MySQL database.  Over a two
year period we've logged more than 19 million entries.  During busy
times of the day (i.e. maillog is busy from the servers, apache access
log, popper messages, and a massive packet filter log) I've seen
transactions on the order of 80 to 100 per second.

The table structure is pretty simple, but then again if you are doing
massive volumes of data, it should be simple.  I'm able to accomplish
pretty good read times for selected queries.  However, some queries take
upwards of 15 minutes.  Most likely that is becuase I'm not fully
indexed.  (Actually doing that right now;  I'll let the list know when
I've finished what the times are)  Check out some of the following:

mysql> desc syslog;


| Field         | Type          | Null | Key | Default | Extra


| ID            | int(11)       |      | PRI | NULL    | auto_increment

| Machine       | varchar(50)   |      | MUL |         |

| FacilityLevel | varchar(25)   |      | MUL |         |

| Date          | timestamp(14) | YES  | MUL | NULL    |

| message       | varchar(255)  | YES  | MUL | NULL    |


5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> select count(*) from syslog;
| count(*) |
| 19253975 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> select ID, Machine, FacilityLevel, Date, message from syslog
order by Date desc limit 10;


| ID       | Machine    | FacilityLevel | Date           |


| 19253975 |   | mail.info     | 20030826111023 |
sendmail[4599]: h7QG60e04576: to=root, ctladdr=root (0/0),
delay=00:00:00, xdelay=00:00:00, mailer=local, pri=30081, dsn=2.0.0,
stat=Sent             |
| 19253974 |   | mail.info     | 20030826111022 |
sendmail[4599]: h7QG60e04576: to=root, ctladdr=root (0/0),
delay=00:00:00, xdelay=00:00:00, mailer=local, pri=30081, dsn=2.0.0,
stat=Sent             |
| 19253973 |   | mail.info     | 20030826111022 |
sendmail[4576]: h7QG60e04576: from=root, size=81, class=0, nrcpts=1,
msgid=<XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx>, relay=root@localhost |
| 19253972 |   | mail.info     | 20030826111022 |
sendmail[4576]: h7QG60e04576: from=root, size=81, class=0, nrcpts=1,
| 19253971 | | kern.info     | 20030826111022 | kernel:
| 19253970 | | kern.info     | 20030826111022 | kernel:
| 19253969 | | daemon.notice | 20030826111022 |
ciped-cb[1536]: keepalive
| 19253968 | | kern.info     | 20030826111022 | kernel:
Packet log: input ACCEPT eth1 PROTO=17
(#28)                              |
| 19253967 | | kern.info     | 20030826111020 | kernel:
| 19253966 | | kern.info     | 20030826111020 | kernel:


10 rows in set (0.00 sec)


David Frankson wrote:

I'm sure that the open source dbs could handle the read-load of our

but the write-load kills them.  We support teacher period attendance and
teacher gradebook scaled up to the mega district (+100k students).  If
attendance can't be taken at nearly instantaneous times, teachers will

the product thrown out.  At that level you need to perfectly optimize

table schema, and index design for the quickest writes possible, and

analyze the locking patterns and query execution paths during a full
transaction load.  SQL Server's development and optimization tools are
unequaled, and their query engine is impressive.  I love to rip on

as much as every other open source user, but SQL Server has earned my


----- Original Message ----- From: "Myles O'Meara" <milo@fullsite.com>
To: <schoolforge-discuss@schoolforge.net>
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: [school-discuss] Web-based School Administration...

On Tue, 2003-08-26 at 11:38, Leon Brooks wrote:

On Fri, 22 Aug 2003 01:23, David Frankson wrote:

As far as databases go, we use SQL Server, and I am very happy with
it.  Its impressive to see 100k+ student districts and states running
hundreds of transactions per second.  At times we have managed to
push SQL Server to its limits, and we have not been able to get that
kind of output out of any of the open source databases.

I'm surprised that you haven't been able to get that out of PostgreSQL
or ibFirebird. MySQL, I could understand; it's fine for lots of simple
reads but anything complex or involving many writes and it all goes
wahoonie-shaped. Were you running through ODBC or direct? That makes
about a 50% performance difference in some circumstances.

Cheers; Leon

I'm also surprised that you have not been able to get the open source
databases to perform to a level equal or better than SQL server
(Sybase). From what I have seen the main two - MySQL and Postgres have
very good performance specs. I have found both to be very reliable
though somewhat different in performance.
I just looked on the mysql.com site to see what their latest news was.
This is just one article that highlights a point made above

"The Associated Press (AP), the world's oldest and largest news agency
with a global daily reach of 1 billion people, is leveraging the MySQL®
database to power its AP Hosted News service. The AP's mission critical
MySQL-based application serves up a massive amount of AP hosted content
and supports hundreds of thousands of transactions every day for 11,000
concurrent users."

That's not bad for an open source database.

  Quinn Team Incorporated
 Micah T. Quinn - President
   (Voice) 281.465.4311
   (Fax)   281.465.4434