Christoph Berg



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Tags:   postgresql (141)   debian (1)   packaging (1)   opensource (16)  
Category:   Interviews   
Interview conducted by: Andreas Scherbaum

PostgreSQL is the World’s most advanced Open Source Relational Database. The interview series “PostgreSQL Person of the Week” presents the people who make the project what it is today. Read all interviews here.

Please tell us about yourself, and where you are from.

In Debian, I’ve been working on Quality Assurance, in the New Members team, on various random packages, and lastly of course on the PostgreSQL packages. At work, I’m a senior consultant with credativ’s PostgreSQL team. I’m a PostgreSQL Major Contributor, working on packaging apt.postgresql.org for Debian and Ubuntu.

Christoph Berg

Christoph Berg

How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

I’m a ham radio amateur with call sign DF7CB, active mostly in digital modes and morse telegraphy on shortwave. There’s always new antennas to try, and software to tinker with.

Any Social Media channels of yours we should be aware of?

Twitter

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why? Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

I started somewhere around 1999 with 6.something for a small project managing the students residence’s network. Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly which version it was - probably 6.3 since that the version that was shipped with Debian slink. The first “serious” contact with PostgreSQL was in 2007 with 8.1 at work.

Several years ago, a customer was asking for some new feature. Sending them the actual proof their idea was NP-hard made them drop it quite quickly. I guess that’s a “yes”.

What other databases are you using? Which one is your favorite?

PostgreSQL.

Any contributions to PostgreSQL which do not involve writing code?

I’m helping with managing the list of Contributors.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

I was always annoyed that questions like “we are writing a new 16 MB WAL file every 3 minutes, how many GB is that per week?” are impossible to answer without getting the units wrong first. Being a trained physicist, it seemed natural to throw in more units, so I wrote an extension that supports all the SI units. The above question is answered by this query:

# select '16MiB/s'::unit @ 'GiB/week' as wal_volume;
wal_volume | 9450 GiB/week

What is the most annoying PostgreSQL thing you can think of? And any chance to fix it?

psql’s \x filling up the whole screen just with —- dashes.

I tried patching that 10 years ago, and still haven’t given up the hope to pick this up again.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

vim and ctags.

Do you use any git best practices, which makes working with PostgreSQL easier?

Use “tig”. It’s a really useful curses frontent to viewing the git history.

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?

I usually submit talks when visiting PGConf.EU, PGConf.DE, and FOSDEM.

Would you recommend PostgreSQL for business, or for side projects?

That’s not a question, is it?

Are you reading the -hackers mailinglist? Any other list?

TBH that’s way too much traffic, so I just browse some threads from time to time.

What other places do you hang out?

I hang around on #postgresql on libera a lot and try to be useful by answering questions.

Which other Open Source projects are you involved or interested in?

Next to Debian, I’m also a member of OFTC.net’s network operations committee.