March 24, 2019

Apples and Oranges, Part III: A Linux DBMS Comparison - page 2

Evaluating a Wide Range of Factors

  • November 29, 1999
  • By Matthias Warkus

PostgreSQL is documented in DocBook SGML. The manual is subdivided into an administrator's guide, programmer's guide, user's guide and a tutorial. Additionally, FAQs and various README files cover some topics. Several areas of the software lack adequate documentation.

MySQL is documented in GNU Texinfo; the manual looks complete.

mSQL comes with a single-document manual (no hypertext), which is available in PostScript and in HTML form. As can be expected from a commercial software product, it covers all the features.

Authentication and General Security
A topic I have not addressed yet, but which needs to be mentioned in this comparison, is access authentication. ANSI SQL offers a very sophisticated and fine-grained mechanism for access control, namely the GRANT and REVOKE statements.

PostgreSQL and MySQL, while internally handling access control differently, understand these standardized statements. An authentication add-on for mSQL's Web integration package (W3-mSQL) is available, but in its most basic form this database system seems not to have any access control support built in. Unlike safe_mysqld and postmaster, the mSQL database daemon is supposed to be run as root, which may possibly pose a security risk.

Any larger database needs a security concept as much as it needs a thorough database design. It is impossible to say which of the systems that support authentication (i.e. PostgreSQL or MySQL) is more secure; here, everything depends on the design.

In Part IV of the series, Matthias wraps up the look at DBMSes with performance measurements and an overall summary of the tools.

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