Archive for the 'Europe' Category

PostgreSQL conference Europe in Amsterdam

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

PostgreSQL Conference Europe 2011 starts 2 weeks from today in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. This is the fourth annual conference hosted by PostgreSQL Europe, following on from extremely successful events in Prato (Italy), Paris and Stuttgart, and is aimed at developers, DBAs, technologists and decision makers either using, or considering using the world’s most advanced Open Source database.

This year we have four days on the schedule, with a kick-off day of training sessions hosted by respected PostgreSQL developers such as Greg Smith, Bruce Momjian, Magnus Hagander, Guillaume Lelarge and more. Topics will cover performance tuning, application development, database administration, replication & high availability and geospatial. The training sessions are available on their own, or as part of a regular conference attendance at additional – but very reasonable – cost.

We had a record number of talk proposals submitted this year but we’ve resisted the urge to host even more sessions in parallel – in fact we’ve reduced the number of parallel sessions to three as we all know how frustrating it can be when more than one that you want to see are at the same time. Instead we’ve extended the conference by a day to accomodate over 40 different sessions, which has the added bonus of allowing an additional night of social activities – always a great way to discuss the latest technologies, trends and ideas with other Postgres users over a beer or two.

We’ve got a great range of topics for this year, covering new features in PostgreSQL 9.1 and beyond, developing applications, running Postgres in the cloud, hacking PostgreSQL internals, tools and add-on products and managing large databases, presented by a wide cross-section of users and developers, including a number of this year’s Google Summer of Code students who will talk about their work. You can view the complete schedule on the conference website:

Our opening keynote this year will be presented by Ram Mohan, EVP and CTO of Afilias who manage the .info, .org and .mobi top level domains using Postgres. Ram will be discussing the business decisions and strategy around their use of PostgreSQL. Our closing keynote will be presented by Ed Boyajian, President and CEO of EnterpriseDB who will discuss PostgreSQL’s role in the post-Oracle era.

So, if you haven’t done so already, head on over to the website at to register as an attendee to avoid missing out on what promises to be an outstanding conference in an fantastic location. See you in Amsterdam!

Flattr this

Stop ACTA: write to the EP

Friday, May 14th, 2010

ACTA, if you are even slightly interested in your rights on-line you will have heard about it. The document, although it encompasses more than just your on-line life, is meant to combat piracy: the free flow of copyrighted material made possible by the internet. Recently, the proposed text has been released. There are severe implications for your life on-line, if this agreement is accepted by the negotiation partners (the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and a couple of other countries), things like filtering of internet traffic and even permanent disconnection from the internet are possible facts of reality that you will have to contend with. It is therefore time to act, and write to the members of the European parliament to convince them to vote against the dangerous parts of this proposed agreement.

Now I admit, reading through the almost 40 pages of legalese is not for everyone. Luckily, the EFF (the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a long-standing fighter for your rights online) has written an excellent summary on the document. I recommend reading that if you don’t want to read the actual document itself. There is also a nice Dutch summary written by BOF (Bits of Freedom, sort of the national counterpart of the EFF). Both list four reasons why ACTA is dangerous:

  • Intermediate parties, the internet providers, will be made to enforce the agreement by filtering internet traffic relating to file-sharing;
  • Disconnection from the internet in case of alleged infringement of copyright, you as an internet user can be disconnected by your ISP if there is an accusation of infringement, no trial, no judge, just gone from the net;
  • Criminalization of non-commercial use, severe penalties for mere citizens such as you and I that up until now were reserved for criminals who are willfully and for profit mass-producing illegal copies of, for example, movie DVD’s;
  • Seizing of computers and other equipment in the case of alleged copyright infringement, in other words: the police can come and take your computer (and destroy it) if you use file-sharing technology, irrespective of whether you are sharing copyrighted material or not.

Several organisations so far have jumped on the ‘Stop ACTA’ bandwagon, and a simple search on ‘stop ACTA’ on a search engine of your choice will get you a whole lot of sites that are somehow trying to counter this agreement. You can sign several petitions, and you should. But in the end, a petition is just a single number, and does not impress the average member of the European parliament that much. What impresses them most: personal letters, emails or even phone calls, where citizens of their constitucy explain why they believe ACTA is not a Good Thing.

So I hereby call everyone to arms: write your members of parliament! Tell them, in your own words, why you think ACTA should not become law in Europe. The site of the European parliament can give you a list of the members that represent your country, and their contact details. Of course, you can write to all members of the EP. But, in general, members of the parliament represent the people from their own country and are therefore more likely to listen to input from their country. On the other hand, you do not have to restrict yourself to those members of parliament that are aligned with your own political preferences.

Try to make your letter personal! Don’t just copy and paste one of the many example texts that are all over the web. Rather, use them as inspiration. A thousand different emails make a bigger impression than ten-thousand copies of the same letter. You do not have to write high-quality prose ready for publiction in the papers, so even if you think yourself a bad writer I am sure you can come up with a sentence or two saying you do not want ACTA in your life.

Some members of parliament will respond to your letter, perhaps explaining why they think ACTA is a good thing, or why they agree with you that it is not. Some might not even reply, and yet in other cases you will hear from an assistant to the member of parliament. Don’t be discouraged by that. Voicing your opinion is important, and even if you do not get to speak to the member of parliament in person, your input will be passed on and considered when time comes to vote.

Act now! Stop ACTA! Write to your members of parliament!

Flattr this

Worst EU lobby awards

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

It is that time of the year again, the worst EU lobby awards vote has opened! I’m passing along the message verbatim below:

Worst EU Lobbying Award 2008 — Vote Now —

Vote now for the 2008 Worst EU Lobbying Awards — the annual award for deceptive, manipulative or unethical lobbying.

This year you can vote in two categories:

1.      The ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Award for the lobbyist, company or lobby group that in 2008 has employed the most deceptive, misleading, or otherwise problematic lobbying tactics in their attempts to influence EU decision-making.

2.      The special ‘Worst Conflict of Interest’ Award for the MEP, Commissioner or Commission official whose background, side-jobs or other liaisons with special interests raise the most serious concerns about their ability to act in public interest.

Select your winners now in both categories and cast your vote at

The nominees for the 2008 Worst EU Lobbying Award are:
*    the Agrofuels lobby (MPOC, Unica and Abengoa) for greenwashing agrofuels;
*    European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicine for hiding the involvement of big pharma;
*    European Business and Parliament Scheme for EP indoors lobbying;
*    Gplus and Aspect Consulting for spreading war propaganda;
*    the airline lobby IATA for deceptions to avoid CO2 reduction obligations.

The nominees for the Worst Conflict of Interest Award are:
*    Dr Caroline Jackson MEP – appointed advisor to a waste company;
*    Piia-Noora Kauppi MEP – lobbies for her future employer;
*    Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP – doubles as a lawyer;
*    Ex-Commission officials Petite, Klotz and Kjølbye – now lobbying for industry;
*    DG Trade Director Wenig – slips inside informations to lobbyists.

The candidates were selected out of 54 nominations by citizens and groups from around Europe after thorough scrutiny by the organisers. For more background on the individual candidates, check out http://www.worstlobby. The voting website is available in English, German and French.

Help us expose the worst lobbying in Brussels and cast your vote at

Please spread the news about the awards! Tell your friends via our website or put banners on your websites. Banners can be found here:

Online voting closes November 30. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Brussels on December 9.

The Worst EU Lobbying Awards are organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, LobbyControl and Spinwatch.

Flattr this

Back home

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

I’m back home from Brussels. Tired, but content. It was such a pleasure meeting all the PostgreSQL people. I did miss the key-signing party though, which is a bit of a pity. I was called in to moderate the talks in the main room, where a track on building systems was scheduled. I feared it would be a bit boring, but the contrary turned out to be the case: the talk on SCons was enlightening. I might actually consider using it on a next project, even though it has a python dependency. Python is becoming standard more and more anyway.

On the PostgreSQL front, i went to a talk by Gabriele Bartolini, one of the driving forces of the italian PostgreSQL users groep. At the back of my mind, the idea of a Dutch PostgreSQL user group has been gestating. I’ve met two other PostgreSQL-ites from Holland during fosdem, and there are probably more. Who knows, I might just try and get them together, and see where things go from there. Gabriele is an inspiring person, whose enthousiasm about PostgreSQL advocacy sparked something in me.

At the end of the day, we elected the first board of the Postgresql EU association! The unofficial results: Magnus Hagander, Gabriele Bartolini, Jean-Paul Argudo and Andreas Scherbaum are the members of this historic board. Originally, only 3 members would be elected, but there was a tie for the third position so it was decided that we would just have four! Congratulations to all. They will now shape the association, no doubt with help from others such as me.

I’m gonna keep this a short post. I’m tired, and have to get up early tomorrow again. Fosdem crew, thanks! PostgreSQL people, thanks! I had a great weekend!

Flattr this

PostgreSQL 8.3

Sunday, February 24th, 2008
David Fetter on fosdemDavid Fetter

Quite a succesfull day for PostgreSQL af fosdem I would say: the goodies sold like mad, and the devroom (shared with FreeBSD) was packed! Between doing some volunteering for the fosdem organisation, finding people i know who also are visting fosdem, walking along the booths and visiting some other talks (a.o. the openasf ligthning talk) I unfortunately only saw two of the talks in the shared dev room. I even missed out on the FreeBSD talks, which is a shame, because I really dig FreeBSD!

At least I was present for the PostgreSQl keynote, which was brought by David Fetter. He talked about all the great new features the recently released PostgreSQL 8.3 has. In his talk, David alluded to some of the things Simon Riggs would later elaborate on in his talk titled ‘PostgreSQL 8.3 performance features’.

In case you missed it, there are quite some performance improvements in 8.3. One of those is HOT (heap-only tuples), which is sort of a mini-vacuum which kicks in as soon as a page has filled up. Another is asynchronous transactions, where you can say that for certain transactions, writing it to the WAL log can be delayed.

Simon Riggs on fosdemSimon Riggs

Another great feature is the simultaneous sequential scan. One of the more expensive operations on larger tables is the sequential scan, where each record is loaded from disk one-by-one. When two queries have to scan the same table, a lot of disk-i/o is duplicated. With the simultaneous scanning, the second query will piggy-back on the scan that is already going on.

I haven’t put 8.3 in production yet, but having heard Simon present some of the performance features, i’m more likely to switch soon. Especially because 8.3 has better options to diagnose performance problems, which i’m eager to check out.

Mind you, these performance improvements are no silver bullets. For most of them, you need to be aware of the limits and conditions of each of them. And most importantly, these features have been designed with certain use cases in mind. What is needed is more exhaustive testing, more analysis of how things work in cases that might not have been thought of by the developers.

Tonight is the free beer party at imatix, by former FFII president Pieter Hintjens. I was planning on going there, but we only finished dinner around 23:00, and i’m way too tired to drink belgian beers. It is a pity, i was looking forward to meeting Pieter and other FFII people.

Other highlights of the day were finally meeting a TWiki friend of mine, saying hi to Reinout of the wg open source of GroenLinks and buying a syllable deluxe cd. Tomorrow will be the key-signing party, the election of the first board of the PostgreSQL eu association and of course the auction of one of the two big plush elephants!

Flattr this