Thanks Nick,  your alternative propositions are much clearer than the
FUD of the other posters. Although, your attitude seems no less
belligerent, so my hopes for a fruitfull discusion are not high.

"Niall Litchfield" <niall.litchfield / dial.pipex.com> wrote in message news:<40ad113c$0$20509$cc9e4d1f / news-text.dial.pipex.com>...

> > Proposition 1:
> > There are circumstances under which my client is better protected against
> > commercial or accidental events, if he possesses source code to the
> > application and the underlying database management system.

> Proposition 1a.
> There are circumstances under which my client is better protected against
> commercial or accidental events, if he possesses a contract with a
> financially stable vendor of the application and/or underlying database
> management system.
 
> Is exactly as true as Proposition 1. Define the circumstances. then relate
> them to the real business world.

In the real business world, outside of major corporations (and
sometimes even  there), closed source software is either used
comepletely illegaly or seriously overdeployed, thus support from the
provider is unavailable or limited to simple telephone support.

The applications are generaly supported by consultants, who are
aquired directly or from
consuting agencies and not development firms.

I'm not saying that this is always the case, or is your case, but it
is the real world you asked about, and that's it.

Having source, and using free software is becoming more and more
common in these cases, and it can be assumed that many of the people
asking questions in this news
group are working in such environements.

So, when the question of Free versus Propietary Databases is asked, I
think it is important to help people understand the advantages of
having source, or using free software, of avoiding dependencies, *as
well* as comparing features.

As I said in my article in the NonProfitTimes, wether or not a
particular peice of free software is better that a particular peice of
nonfree software, free is better than stolen.

If you can guarantee that your legel relationship with your vendor
will never break down, for financial or any other reason,  then yes,
you can get away with not abstracting, and not having source code.
This, however, is not the real business world. Only a tiny, wealthy,
fraction of it.

If you have source code, as you do with free software, you can always
find a way forward, because you are not dependent on a relationship
with any single entity.

> > Proposition 2:
> > There are circumstances under which my client is better protected against
> > commercial or accidental events, if I have coded my application in such a
> > way (by use of a database abstraction layer) that migrating my application
> > to a different database management system is made very easy.

> Proposition 2a

> There are circumstances under which my client is royally screwed if he has
> an app that does not take advantage of the platform on which it is running,
> even if this means being dependent upon that platform.

Issolating your data access code does not mean you can not take
advantage of the platform, it means that all your data access code is
in one place, meaning that you can more easily change your
application, for instance to migrate it, or for instance to *make
better use of the platform you are running*
 
> > Proposition 3:
> > There are circumstances under which my client is better protected against
> > commercial or accidental events, if he has a human readable backup of the
> > database of the type Quirk describes.
> >
> > I agree with that proposition.
> 
> Why do the words filing cabinet come to mind :(

Because your companies record keepers distrust your closed-source,
unabstraced application's data so much that they insist on keeping
their trusty paper records.

With proper electronic archives as I've described, they will soon
enough be conviced to replace the filing cabinets with datacabinets,
but it will take some convincing, since after years of dealing with
developers like Volker (my new synonym for unskilled labour), and
losing access to their data, they rightfully do not trust the
datasystems.
 
> > Note that neither Quirk nor I claim that these propositions always apply
>  to
> > every situation, nor that there are not clear and obvious exceptions.
 
> Well I don't see anywhere that Quirk makes these assertions - though i do
> see him claiming that open Source is a better model that closed source.

Open source is a better model than closed source, but that is not the
subject here, a particular piece of open source software,m such as a
database platform, MAY OR MAY NOT be better than a particular piece of
closed source software. I am not disputing that things like Oracle are
good software, only trying to help those making such a choice
understand there are other things to consider than simply comparing
Oracle against MySQL.

> Where can I get the security & performance fixes for linux kernel 1.5 - I
> don't want to upgrade?

You are equivicating here on the difference between installing more
recent software and paying for a new licence, one is not the same as
the other.