It’s a funny relationship between EnterpriseDB and PostgreSQL. This is the simple assessment of the PostgreSQL community by wannabe Oracle database killer EnterpriseDB.

EnterpriseDB is a proprietary database based on the freely available BSD licensed PostgreSQL database, with EnterpriseDB adding proprietary tools and Oracle compatibility on top.

The ongoing success of PostgreSQL is a two-way street. “We contribute back to the community pretty much anything the community wants — but then the community has to agree to maintain it,” said EnterpriseDB CEO Andy Astor.

“They don’t want your money, they don’t want your PR, they don’t want your marketing. They want help, they want contributions,” he said. “Throwing money at it isn’t enough,” Astor said, and that the community would respond with “That’s nice [but] how much code have you written?”

As for the possibility of EnterpriseDB turning their product completely proprietary, Astor said: “A database is not allowed to break, so if you are going to change the internals, you need to have the thousands of eyes that the [PostgreSQL] community offers quality assuring your code. If you don’t do that, you are insane.

“Screw up once and it is game over … if our version of the database were to be different, we would lose all credibility”.

He said the only way to maintain the relationship with the PostgreSQL community is for EnterpriseDB to “contribute, contribute, contribute and just do work”.