Daniel Westermann

Reading time: 5 minutes

Tags:   postgresql (170)   coffee (4)   conferences (14)   dbi (1)   food (3)   switzerland (8)   sharing (3)  
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.

I grew up in Germany exactly at the border to Switzerland and I am still living in this area. For my entire life I have been enjoying the region where France, Switzerland and Germany come together. Today I live very close to the city of Basel, but still in Germany.

Daniel Westermann

Daniel Westermann

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

As I have three kids, there is not much free time for myself. We try to go outside whenever we can. The little free time I can enjoy for myself mostly goes to enjoying life with friends and hiking.

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

Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?

The last one I’ve read was “The invention of life” by Hanns-Josef Ortheil. As I am a big fan of Haruki Murakami I can recommend all his books.

Any favorite movie, or show?

Definitely “pi”, the movie.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

That’s an easy one:
Saturday: Sleep as long as I want in the morning, have a long and great breakfast, start hiking in a great place, and close the day with a glass of wine and a good dinner in the evening.
Sunday: Same as Saturday :)

What’s still on your bucket list?

10 years ago I travelled through the eastern part of Mongolia. As soon as I can, I want to travel through the western part of this amazing country.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

The time when PostgreSQL 9.0 was the current one, so 2010. The year before Oracle acquired Sun and it was clear for me that I needed an alternative.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

Yes, PostgreSQL 9.0.

Yes I did. I studied “information systems” at the “Cooperative State University Loerrach”. This definitely helped to get the basics right.

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

Actually nothing else than PostgreSQL. In my team we also do MariaDB for our customers but luckily I only need to touch it when I am on-call.

Only on PostgreSQL itself.

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

I’ve contributed mostly by fixing some issues in the documentation as I am not a C developer. In Switzerland we have the Swiss PostgreSQL user group where I am the event manager. For pgconf.de I help with organizing the yearly conference, and for pgconf.eu 2019 I helped by being the room host for several sessions. I like to speak at conferences and to share as much content on our blog as I can.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

pg_stat_statements, because it is just required if you want to troubleshoot performance related issues. I still wonder why it comes as an extension and is not there by default.

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

I am still waiting for more storage engines to show up in PostgreSQL, but it seems development of zheap and zedstore completely stopped. This really annoys me, but there is not much I can personally do here.

What is the feature you like most in the latest PostgreSQL version?

If it is about PostgreSQL 14: progress reporting for copy
If it is about PostgreSQL 13: de-duplication of b-tree indexes

Adding to that, what feature/mechanism would you like to see in PostgreSQL? And why?

Incremental backups in core, because that is an essential feature when databases become large. I know there are tools for that, but having that in core would be great.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

psql, that’s it. Sometimes dbeaver and dbVisualizer.

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

No, I mainly use what is described in Wiki.

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

Conferences I submit regularly and usually join as either a speaker or volunteer: PGConf.EU, PGConf.DE, Swiss PGDay.

I’ve also submitted talks to pgDay Paris, PGIBZ and PGDay Amsterdam.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

No, not at all. The most difficult topic is to get used to the mailing lists, especially when you have an Oracle background like me.

What is your advice for people who want to start PostgreSQL developing - as in, contributing to the project. Where and how should they start?

For starters the most important is the documentation. Improving the documentation is probably the easiest way to get started and helps a lot of other users.

Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?

Yes, I believe this is just the beginning of a much broader acceptance of PostgreSQL.

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

Definitely both.

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

Yes, I do but I just do not have the time to read all the emails. I try to follow topics I am interested in.

What other places do you hang out?

-general to follow general discussion

-committers to get notified what got committed

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

Of course in Linux, most of the flavors, but I have the same topic here: Not enough time to contribute to another project.

Anything else you like to add?

Thank you for the interview, much appreciated and a great idea.