Discussion begun on Sunday 20 Feb 2000 about the availability of proprietary InterBase modules.

Replication (and Other Proprietary Modules)

The Replication feature is crucial to the success of Interbase, especially now that LANs are giving way to remote access.
Is the strategy ..to be that the Interbase engine would be free, while replication, etc. would be commercial?

Ann H::It certainly muddies our message and will make life much more complicated for people who are developing software that requires replication. The fact that our ODBC driver is also proprietary is another black eye.

No. That's not my strategy. Right at the moment, I'm operating in a tactical mode - trying to get from where we are to where we want to be. Would it be better to start with no replication and wait until ISC and the community could build it or to provide proprietary replication until we get there? The long term strategy is open source, no tricks, no secrets.

Please **do** provide replication and ODBC even if it is proprietary. We all need tools now and trust that the long-term goal is intact.
Since these tools were made by other companies, we can't expect them to also be willing to open source their products, but it would be nice :)

If the current replication provider doesn't want to go open source, it's their business. The license is Mozilla, isn't it? If they want to, then they can sell the replication engine. But InterBase Corp should not.
Eventually the open source community will catch up with its own needs: replication, odbc, you-name-it will be added to the product.

Are the only current options for release of this working replication engine InterBase Corp offers it for sale or not available at all? Can the company who created it offer it for sale?
The issue is not what features go or don't go into the product. The issue is open source or not.
The replication feature is already available now: you can get it from Vince's company [Synectics] and they will be more than happy to sell it and support it. The Mozilla license was selected precisely in order to allow this kind of things to happen.

Vince Duggan (Synectics)::Believe me, we do understand all the differing points of view regarding our replication server. We are working with the relevant parties to sort something out.
While we are on the subject, we have done some work to speed up replication in general. Speed has improved by between 600% and 900%. This is most important when using slow dial-up connections. Our 'real world' tests indicate that with a 28.8 dial-up into and across the Internet we get an average of less than a second per row. Of course, mileage does vary ;-).

A new beta suite is available on our ftp server. There are full IB 5.x ports of the Replication engine for Windows and Linux platforms, including the NT Service version which was included in the IB 6 port, but has been missing from the IB 5.x port.
In this release, the IB5 port has caught up with the features in the IB6 port, and speed has improved remarkably.

For the IB 5.x port to Linux I was battling with some bugs that occur in IB5 and not in 6, that more prevalent on Linux than on NT. This is the old problem where certain calls to SELECT statements or stored procedures have to be re-prepared each time, or else you get a "-804 SQLDA missing or incorrect" error.

Since prepares are very expensive over slow networks (dial-up) I was determined to sort it out, so now instead of using an isc_dsql_execute2 call, I now do a execute/fetch/close sequence which is slightly slower, but is more reliable. It also means I only need to prepare once.

about any problems.

Also coming within the next few days are:
IB 6 port to Solaris (few days)
IB 5.x port to Solaris (a week or so)

We will keep you informed...

Paul Beach::In the spirit of open and free communication, I felt that I had to add my own comments to this discussion. Feel free to continue this - all feedback is greatly appreciated.
Both Synectics and InterBase over the last 12 months have spent a significant amount of time and effort putting together a replication solution for InterBase 6.0 that is an attempt to accurately reflect the needs of our users .... in that the replication solution being offered is fast, sophisticated and homogenous (for the moment) via the InterBase API. The model used, is a standard replication model that has been used many times for other replication projects we have all worked on, and as such is inherently extensible. This replication software was designed to be backwards compatible and will also work quite happily with 4.x and 5.x....
In order to produce this level of sophistication Synectics have expended considerable amounts of development time and expense. I realise that because the InterBase database engine is Open Source - some of you will automatically assume that every other piece of software that works with InterBase should also be Open Source..... and there are a number of other InterBase replication solutions available that are free of charge and available - if you want them - but none of them have the same level of sophistication.
However at this point in time, the plan is to allow both ourselves (InterBase), Synectics and other relevant partners in the future to resell the 6.0 replication software at an appropriate price. This was the intention from day one. These are our intentions at the moment.
We will make the software freely available for evaluation purposes (including shipping it with InterBase), but there is a planned deployment cost. Based on the amount of time and expense that Synectics have incurred - it only seems fair that they should at least recoup their costs.
The use of the Mozilla license for InterBase allows third parties to continue to resell their applications with an Open Source database - including Synectics, Marathon etc.
InterBase (via Inprise) currently have a contractual obligation with Synectics to distribute and resell the replication software.
I am sure some of you will write your own replication solutions... as others have in the past... but obviously in a free world, you can all make your own decisions to buy or not to buy. However, when we announced InterBase 6.0 12 months ago - we promised that replication would be available, and it will be. The level of functionality offered by this replication solution currently far exceeds any other replication solution for InterBase or for other database products.