Tatsuo Ishii

Tags:   postgresql    sraoss    postgresql    pgpool-ii    pgcon    pgconf,asia    pgconf.eu    pgconf.russia   
Category:   Interviews   
Interviewed 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, your hobbies and where you are from.

I live in Kanagawa prefecture of Japan, which is adjacent to Tokyo, with my wife. I love to walk beaches, listen to music (classical, rock and Jazz) from my favorite audio set (mainly consisting of TANNOY speakers and Luxman amplifiers), and read Sci-Fi books. I am working for SRA OSS, Inc. Japan as a branch manager and an engineer since 2005.

Tatsuo Ishii

Tatsuo Ishii

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

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

Actually I started using PostgreSQL before it was born. I mean, I started using Postgres in 1991, which is the indirect ancestor of PostgreSQL. At that time I was working at a laboratory in the University of Hawaii as a research engineer. I was using Postgres to create an object oriented database to store ER model information generated from legacy software. Since then I have used Postgres95, and PostgreSQL.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

PostgreSQL 6.0.

I studied physics at Yamagata University in Japan. The study was not related to computers. After joining a small computer software company, I got trained to use assembler language. After moving to SRA in 1984, I met with C language. Since then I love to use C.

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

I only use PostgreSQL.

I am working on the Pgpool-II project.

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

I18n, porting PostgreSQL to different architectural machines, small tools including pgbench.

Any contributions to PostgreSQL which do not involve writing code?

I have been spending many hours on translating documents to Japanese. It’s not the most exciting work but somebody needs to do it anyway. Other than that, I ran a local user group, wrote PostgreSQL books and magazine articles in Japan.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

Pgstattuple, because I wrote it :-)

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

The extended query of frontend/backend protocol. Since changing it will widely affect existing API/applications, I understand it’s really hard, but I would like to enhance it someday.

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

I like “More efficiently store duplicates in btree indexes” in PostgreSQL 13. This is truly great work. Besides that, I love “Glossary” in the doc.

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

Shared nothing cluster feature with atomic visibility. This would greatly expand the applicable area for PostgreSQL.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

Nothing special. I use emacs as an editor on a Linux laptop with standard tools like gdb, git and so on.

Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL developer/user?

I am not sure about PostgreSQL users. So I will describe PostgreSQL developers: C language, Linux/UNIX, TCP/IP. Plus English.

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

I think being familiar with “git blame” is important. PostgreSQL has a long history. To modify the code you will need to understand why existing codes were written in that way. Git blame helps in finding commits to learn that.

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

PGCon, PGConf.EU, PGConf.It, CHAR10, PGConf.ASIA, PGConf.Russia, PGConf.China. Yes, I submitted several talks.

Do you think Postgres has a high entry barrier?

Yes, especially for non-native-English speakers. That’s one of the reasons why I am working on translating PostgreSQL docs. Apart from that, the size of the code itself is a high entry barrier.

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

Join a local community and learn from the community members. Read the manual carefully. There is precious information you were not aware of. Start with a small subsystem of PostgreSQL. For example, src/backend/utils/adt is a good place to understand the internals of PostgreSQL types.

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

Yes, I believe so. There are many reasons for this but I think one of the biggest reason is that PostgreSQL is a special open source project: not dominated by a single company, which means PostgreSQL can avoid its death caused by the company’s corruption.

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

I think PostgreSQL is ready for business: it has many features and high enough performance, and is rock solid stable, Plus the community is large and active, which guarantees the support for users.

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

Yes, I am reading the list and pgsql-committers, pgsql-general, pgsql-advocacy and so on.

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


Anything else you like to add?

Thank you for organizing this.