An open letter to the NoSQL community

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Sam Johnston

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Oct 27, 2009, 10:33:50 AM10/27/09
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Afternoon NoSQLers, I write to you as a huge fan of next generation databases, but also as someone who doesn't associate in any way with the "NoSQL" moniker. I don't particularly care for SQL and appreciate the contrived contention it creates, but I think it misses the point somewhat and alienates people like myself who might otherwise have been drawn to the project. I assume that by "NoSQL" we're referring to the next generation of [generally cloud-based] databases such as Google's BigTable, Amazon's SimpleDB, Facebook's Cassandra, etc., in which case the issue is more the underlying model (e.g. ACID vs BASE), where we are ultimately trading consistency for scalability. To me this has nothing to do with the query language (which would still arguably be useful for many applications and which may as well be [something like] SQL, albeit adapted), nor the relational (as opposed to navigational) nature of the data (which is still the case today - it's just represented as pointers rather than separate "relation" tables), and to focus on either attribute is missing the point. This is particularly true with today's announcement of Amazon RDS. Perhaps it's too late already, but I'd like to think we can come up with a more representative name to which everyone can associate (and which isn't so scary for fickle enterprise customers). There's already been a couple of decent suggestions, including alt.db, db-ng, NRDB[MS], etc. Sam http://samj.net/

eprpa...@gmail.com

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Oct 27, 2009, 10:45:27 AM10/27/09
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Given the long lag between its first use and now, and the fact that it
has gone around the group, I wonder does anyone care? After all "A rose
by any other name would smell as sweet".

Chaz

Sam Johnston wrote:
> Afternoon NoSQLers, I write to you as a huge fan of next generation
> databases, but also as someone who doesn't associate in any way with the
> "NoSQL" moniker. I don't particularly care for SQL and appreciate the
> contrived contention it creates, but I think it misses the point
> somewhat and alienates people like myself who might otherwise have been
> drawn to the project. I assume that by "NoSQL" we're referring to the
> next generation of [generally cloud-based] databases such as Google's
> BigTable, Amazon's SimpleDB, Facebook's Cassandra, etc., in which case
> the issue is more the underlying model (e.g. ACID vs BASE
> <http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=1394128>), where we are ultimately
> trading consistency for scalability. To me this has nothing to do with
> the query language (which would still arguably be useful for many
> applications and which may as well be [something like] SQL, albeit
> adapted <http://code.google.com/p/cql/>), nor the relational (as opposed
> to navigational
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_Management_System#1960s_Navigational_DBMS>)
> nature of the data (which is still the case today - it's just
> represented as pointers rather than separate "relation" tables), and to
> focus on either attribute is missing the point. This is particularly
> true with today's announcement
> <ttp://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2009/10/27/introducing-amazon-relational-database-service/>
> of Amazon RDS <http://aws.amazon.com/rds/>. Perhaps it's too late
eprparadocs.vcf

Jan Lehnardt

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Oct 27, 2009, 10:54:52 AM10/27/09
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Emil Eifrém

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Oct 27, 2009, 10:56:31 AM10/27/09
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Hi Sam,

Hey man, I dunno. As we've already discussed on Twitter I think #nosql
is a fine name, because of momentum, because of hashtagability and
*because* it stirs things up a bit. I think it's here to stay and
though I kinda disliked it in the beginning for the obvious reasons,
I've now made my peace with that. [1]

1] You say it alienates people. If you want it to feel less
controversial, I suggest the following two Zen exercies: a) think of
"NoSQL" as in: "there's 'No SQL' interface to these databases," b)
think of "NoSQL" as in: "to store our data we use 'Not Only SQL' but
also other data paradigms."

But for whatever reason, people *love* to bring this up. Enough that
it's actually a theme at the upcoming NoSQL East conference in
Atlanta! So maybe once a large part of the community meets
face-to-face some sort of consensus around another tag will form. But
it seems unlikely at this point.

Cheers,

-EE

Stephen van Egmond

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Oct 27, 2009, 11:44:10 AM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
I'd say that getting hung up on the naming of things is best reserved
for children and cats.

The name strikes me as fine. It's certainly captivating, and gets the
point across, is easy to find, and really, who the hell cares what the
Enterprise thinks? The Enterprise is a space ship THAT DOESN'T EXIST.


Paul Davis

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Oct 27, 2009, 11:55:58 AM10/27/09
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> The Enterprise is a space ship THAT DOESN'T EXIST.

The Enterprise is a spoon?

Sam Johnston

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:03:54 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
While I'm not surprised this is the position of the group, this is how it looks to us observers:

No to SQL? Anti-database movement gains steam
But can enterprises take open-source alternatives Hadoop, Voldemort seriously?

Is that *really* the intended message? At the end of the day it's your group and you can do what you like with it, but I'm definitely not alone in feeling that you're creating a religious war where none exists... users will choose the best tool for the job and Amazon offering both relational (RDS) and "non-relational" (SimpleDB) databases is about the best proof of that you'll find.

Sam (who appreciates the "enterprise user" argument is tenuous)

Jonathan Ellis

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:06:33 PM10/27/09
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incompetent IT press? say it ain't so!

eprpa...@gmail.com

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:11:16 PM10/27/09
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Just as you liked RESTful over SOAP for you work, contrary to some of us
wanting something more independent of both, most of us on this list
actually like NoSql.

Chaz

Sam Johnston wrote:
> While I'm not surprised this is the position of the group, this
> <http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135086/No_to_SQL_Anti_database_movement_gains_steam_>
eprparadocs.vcf

Peter Monks

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:16:55 PM10/27/09
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Competence (or otherwise) is irrelevant.  The IT press wields significant influence (in the "enterprise" and elsewhere) and as Sam is trying to point out you can use that to your advantage or you can childishly ignore it and wonder later on why you're not being taken seriously by the grown ups.

As a tangential example of this, of all the "nosql databases" I'm personally quite partial to MongoDB yet the name is offensive to some people [1] and I barely have the time to advocate good technologies, let alone bicker about naming.

Cheers,
Peter

[1] http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mongo


 

-----Original Message-----
From: nosql-di...@googlegroups.com [mailto:nosql-di...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jonathan Ellis
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:07am
To: nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: An open letter to the NoSQL community

 

 

incompetent IT press?  say it ain't so!

 

On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM, Sam Johnston <sa...@samj.net> wrote:

> While I'm not surprised this is the position of the group, this is how it

> looks to us observers:

>> 

>> No to SQL? Anti-database movement gains steam

>> 

>> But can enterprises take open-source alternatives Hadoop, Voldemort

>> seriously?

> Is that *really* the intended message? At the end of the day it's your group

> and you can do what you like with it, but I'm definitely not alone in

> feeling that you're creating a religious war where none exists... users will

> choose the best tool for the job and Amazon offering both relational (RDS)

> and "non-relational" (SimpleDB) databases is about the best proof of that

> you'll find.

> Sam (who appreciates the "enterprise user" argument is tenuous)

> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Paul Davis <paul.jos...@gmail.com>

> wrote:

eprpa...@gmail.com

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:47:26 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
In my wanderings around the press doing some promoting, I've never heard
one of them say anything disparaging about NoSql. They ask a lot of
questions about what it is, how it is different from the stuff out there
now and what is it all about. I have never heard anyone so to me "What a
dumb name, it ought to be changed."

I think this is a non-starter of an issue. There was a discussion about
it months ago, and those of us ankle deep in it are satisfied with
NoSql. For those that aren't, please feel free to take your software and
call it whatever you want (that's the nice thing about the Internet). I
am happy to have mine lumped into the NoSql community!

Chaz.
> <paul.jos...@gmail.com <mailto:paul.jos...@gmail.com>>
eprparadocs.vcf

Sam Johnston

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:54:14 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 5:47 PM, <eprpa...@gmail.com> wrote:
In my wanderings around the press doing some promoting, I've never heard
one of them say anything disparaging about NoSql. They ask a lot of
questions about what it is, how it is different from the stuff out there
now and what is it all about. I have never heard anyone so to me "What a
dumb name, it ought to be changed."

You have now :)
 
I think this is a non-starter of an issue. There was a discussion about
it months ago, and those of us ankle deep in it are satisfied with
NoSql. For those that aren't, please feel free to take your software and
call it whatever you want (that's the nice thing about the Internet). I
am happy to have mine lumped into the NoSql community!

I fully anticipated this response but figured it couldn't hurt to explain how the group looks [to me at least] from the outside... do with it what you will.

@Peter: While not overtly offensive, I'm not sure the message behind CouchDB is ideal either. Sure it's meant to mean "relax, your data is safe" but the lazy theme is not something I can imagine presenting to a client.

Sam

Jan Lehnardt

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Oct 27, 2009, 12:57:10 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com

On 27 Oct 2009, at 17:16, Peter Monks wrote:

> Competence (or otherwise) is irrelevant. The IT press wields
> significant influence (in the "enterprise" and elsewhere) and as Sam
> is trying to point out you can use that to your advantage or you can
> childishly ignore it and wonder later on why you're not being taken
> seriously by the grown ups.

Git (http://git-scm.com/).

Cheers
Jan
--

eprpa...@gmail.com

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Oct 27, 2009, 1:02:25 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
Sam, are you "in the press"? If so, my statement was clearly wrong. But
last I remember you aren't a member of the press, and I carefully said
"wanderings around the press".

But enough of this silliness...back to doing some real work!

Chaz

Sam Johnston wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 5:47 PM, <eprpa...@gmail.com
> <mailto:eprpa...@gmail.com>> wrote:
>
> In my wanderings around the press doing some promoting, I've never heard
> one of them say anything disparaging about NoSql. They ask a lot of
> questions about what it is, how it is different from the stuff out there
> now and what is it all about. I have never heard anyone so to me "What a
> dumb name, it ought to be changed."
>
>
> You have now :)
>
>
> I think this is a non-starter of an issue. There was a discussion about
> it months ago, and those of us ankle deep in it are satisfied with
> NoSql. For those that aren't, please feel free to take your software and
> call it whatever you want (that's the nice thing about the Internet). I
> am happy to have mine lumped into the NoSql community!
>
>
> I fully anticipated this response but figured it couldn't hurt to
> explain how the group looks [to me at least] from the outside... do with
> it what you will.
>
> @Peter: While not overtly offensive, I'm not sure the message
> <http://couchdb.apache.org/img/couchdb-logo.svg> behind CouchDB is ideal
> > <mailto:nosql-di...@googlegroups.com
> <mailto:nosql-di...@googlegroups.com>>
> > Subject: Re: An open letter to the NoSQL community
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > incompetent IT press? say it ain't so!
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 10:03 AM, Sam Johnston <sa...@samj.net
> <mailto:sa...@samj.net>
> > <mailto:sa...@samj.net <mailto:sa...@samj.net>>> wrote:
> >
> >> While I'm not surprised this is the position of the group, this
> is how it
> >
> >> looks to us observers:
> >
> >>>
> >
> >>> No to SQL? Anti-database movement gains steam
> >
> >>>
> >
> >>> But can enterprises take open-source alternatives Hadoop, Voldemort
> >
> >>> seriously?
> >
> >>
> >
> >> Is that *really* the intended message? At the end of the day it's
> your
> > group
> >
> >> and you can do what you like with it, but I'm definitely not alone in
> >
> >> feeling that you're creating a religious war where none exists...
> > users will
> >
> >> choose the best tool for the job and Amazon offering both
> relational (RDS)
> >
> >> and "non-relational" (SimpleDB) databases is about the best proof
> of that
> >
> >> you'll find.
> >
> >> Sam (who appreciates the "enterprise user" argument is tenuous)
> >
> >>
> >
> >> On Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Paul Davis
> > <paul.jos...@gmail.com <mailto:paul.jos...@gmail.com>
> <mailto:paul.jos...@gmail.com
eprparadocs.vcf

Stephen van Egmond

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Oct 27, 2009, 2:25:24 PM10/27/09
to nosql-di...@googlegroups.com

On 27-Oct-09, at 12:03 PM, Sam Johnston wrote:

> While I'm not surprised this is the position of the group,

Ahem,

It's my position. Anyone else can use it if they want to, or get their
own.


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