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 was born and grew up in İzmir, Turkey, studied in İstanbul, lived and worked in Germany and in the UK for a while, and moved back to my hometown this year. I am currently working remotely for End Point, a US based software consultancy company which develops Bucardo.
How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?
Now in my thirties, I am more and more interested in doing things with my body. I spend a lot of time riding my bicycle, jumping around, rolling on the ground, dancing, swimming…
Any Social Media channels of yours we should be aware of?
I have LinkedIn.
Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?
I just finished Report to Greco from Nikos Kazantzakis. It’s a good read which made me think a lot about spirituality.
Any favorite movie, or show?
So many. To mention a Turkish director, I am fond of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s movies. His last movie The Wild Pear Tree is an excellent meditation on fatherhood. Though, be warned: he used to be a photographer, and you can notice this on his technique. Only watch if you’d enjoy a beautiful scene without anything happening shot for minutes.
What would your ideal weekend look like?
I ride my bicycle to my parents’ on most weekends this year. They live in a summer town 80km away. The road is hilly and windy, so I am tired after the ride. Then I spend the weekend lying under the sun, swimming in the sea, talking nonsense to friends, cooking and eating.
What’s still on your bucket list?
I never had a bucket list. I try to live without a plan and decide as I go.
What is the best advice you ever got?
I don’t remember any. It must be because I was a stubborn child who didn’t listen to advice.
When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?
It was around 2008. I was hired to build a medical drug database using PHP and MySQL. Even though I haven’t had relevant education or experience, it felt to me MySQL’s sloppy behaviour is not well suited for a serious application. I said to my boss that it must be why people pay a lot of money for a commercial database management system and perhaps we should too. He was an open-source software enthusiast. He did some research, and found out about PostgreSQL. I have been hooked up ever since.
Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?
I started using 8.3. My first contribution was for 9.4.
Have you studied at a university? If yes, was it related to computers? Did your study help you with your current job?
I studied Mining Engineering at İstanbul Technical University. We have an ingenious education system in Turkey that helps you to land in some random department. What do you know about which job you want to have when you are 17 years old anyway? I had some experience in programming from high school and it’s easy to get a programming job with very little knowledge, so that’s how I started. In the long run, it turned out to be more serviceable to have experience than education.
On which PostgreSQL-related projects are you currently working?
I am working on a patch to allow operator classes of different index access methods to be used with different indexes. Though, I hit some problems which are not easy to resolve. I’m not sure if I’d be able to submit it.
How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?
I submitted some small patches, mostly around indexes.
Any contributions to PostgreSQL which do not involve writing code?
I am supporting my friends in Turkey to increase adaptation. We are doing very well in government and in the private sector in recent years. I like to ramble about how cool the project is when I get the chance.
What is the most annoying PostgreSQL thing you can think of? And any chance to fix it?
Well, the most annoying thing is the name. I am not sure about the chances to fix it. It may be worth a try to drop the Q and L, so people can pronounce it.
What is the feature you like most in the latest PostgreSQL version?
I appreciate the planner getting more clever with every release. There are a couple of interesting planner/executor features in version 14. Often with Postgres, I encounter a query plan that exceeds my expectations.
Adding to that, what feature/mechanism would you like to see in PostgreSQL? And why?
I like features that integrate or improve existing parts without extra complexity, settings, syntax. I am full of ideas I would never get around implementing. Don’t get me started now!
Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?
I use vim with llvm.
Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL developer/user?
I’d say it is appreciation of quality. This is the culture of the project. You wouldn’t enjoy working with Postgres without it.
Do you use any git best practices, which makes working with PostgreSQL easier?
The project has a very clean Git history which makes it a joy to work with. I park many half baked patches in my Git tree, only to wake up on a beautiful Sunday morning to rebase some 3 year old branch.
Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?
Do you think Postgres has a high entry barrier?
I think all software has a high entry barrier. Today’s technology evolve fast with an unclear aim, leaving many people behind. Postgres is one of the better ones.
What is your advice for people who want to start PostgreSQL developing - as in, contributing to the project. Where and how should they start?
Mailing lists are a great place to start. Most contributors are competent writers. You learn a lot by just reading the emails.
Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?
I think the project is on a remarkable incline, and we haven’t reached the peak yet.
Would you recommend Postgres for business, or for side projects?
Absolutely. Postgres is a general purpose database management system that fits on most use-cases.