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Firebird is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL standard features



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About Firebird

Firebird is a relational database offering many ANSI SQL standard features that runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms. Firebird offers excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers. It has been used in production systems, under a variety of names, since 1981.
   

The Firebird Project is a commercially independent project of C and C++ programmers, technical advisors and supporters developing and enhancing a multi-platform relational database management system based on the source code released by Inprise Corp (now known as Borland Software Corp) on 25 July, 2000.

FREE LIKE A BIRD. Anyone can build a custom version of Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available, under the same IDPL licensing, for others to use and build on.
   
FREE LIKE FREE BEER. No fees for download, registration, licensing or deployment, even you distribute Firebird as part of your commercial software package.

Firebird's development depends on voluntary funding by people who benefit from using it. Funding options range from donations, through Firebird Foundation memberships to sponsorship commitments.    

Choosing Firebird and saving or making money by your choice? Show your appreciation and encouragement by contributing money in proportion to these benefits.


History

Firebird is derived from Borland InterBase 6.0 source code. It is open source and has no dual license. Whether you need it for commercial or open source applications, it is totally FREE!

Firebird technology has been in use for 20 years, which makes it a very mature and stable product.

Major Features

Don’t be fooled by the installer size! Firebird is a fully featured and powerful RDBMS. It can handle databases from just a few KB to many Gigabytes with good performance and almost free of maintenance!

Below is a list of some of the Firebird’s major features:

    * Full support of Stored Procedures and Triggers
    * Full ACID compliant transactions
    * Referential Integrity
    * Multi Generational Architecture
    * Very small footprint
    * Fully featured internal language for Stored Procedures and Triggers (PSQL)
    * Support for External Functions (UDFs)
    * Little or no need for specialized DBAs
    * Almost no configuration needed - just install and start using!
    * Big community and lots of places where you can get free and good support
    * Optional single file embedded version - great to create CDROM catalogs, single user or evaluation versions of applications
    * Dozens of third party tools, including GUI administrative tools, replication tools, etc.
    * Careful writes - fast recovery, no need for transaction logs!
    * Many ways to access your database: native/API, dbExpress drivers, ODBC, OLEDB, .Net provider, JDBC native type 4 driver, Python module, PHP, Perl, etc.
    * Native support for all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, MacOS.
    * Incremental Backups
    * 64bits builds available
    * Full cursor implementation in PSQL
    * Monitoring tables
    * Connection and Transaction Triggers
    * Temporary Tables

 
        

Try it now!

Trying Firebird is a very simple task. The installer size usually is less than 5MB (depending on the operating system of your choice) and fully automated. You can download it from the Firebird main site. The latest stable release is version 2.1.

You will notice that Firebird server comes in three flavors: SuperServer, Classic and Embedded. You can start with SuperServer. Right now, Classic is recommended for use with SMP machines and some other specific situations. SuperServer shares its cache among the database connections and uses threads to handle each connection. Classic starts one independent server process for each connection made.

The embedded version is an amazing variation of the server. It is a fully featured Firebird server packed in just a few files. It is very easy to deploy, since there is no need to install the server. It is ideal for CDROM catalogs, demos or standalone desktop applications.

Firebird comes with a full set of command line utilities that allow you to create databases, retrieve database statistics, run SQL commands and scripts, perform backups and restores, etc. If you prefer to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface) tool, there are lots of options to choose from, including free ones. Check the list at the end of this paper for a good start.

On Windows, you can run Firebird as a service or in application mode. The installer can create an icon in the Control Panel that you can use to manage the server (start, stop, etc).

Documentation

There are a lot of papers, FAQs and articles that you may want to check in the Firebird main site. Also, you can check if your country has a localized community site or discussion list, so you can get support in your native language.

All this information can be found digging around in the Firebird main site. Also, check www.firebirdnews.org to get up to date with the most recent news related to Firebird.

For all sized databases

Some people thinks that Firebird is a RDBMS to be used with just small databases and a few connections. They are wrong! Firebird is being used with many big databases and lots of connections. A good example was shown in Softool'06, where Avarda (russian ERP) was running with a Firebird 2.0 Classic server and an average of 100 simultaneous connections accessing a 120Gb Firebird database with 700 million records! Server was a SMP machine (2 CPUs - Dell PowerEdge 2950) and 6GB RAM.
Would you like to help?

Due to the nature of an Open Source project, anyone can contribute by developing new features or fixing bugs. If you want to become a member of the Firebird Development Team, download the Firebird source code from sourceforge and study it. Also, you may join the fbdevel discussion list to get in touch with other developers (note: fbdevel is not a general support list, so don’t ask support questions there, instead use firebird-support for free community support).

You don’t need to be a coder to help the project. Become a member of the Firebird Foundation or make a donation and you will be helping to fund core developers so they can invest more time working in the project.

Windows Vista CAUTION
If you are installing onto Windows Vista, the installer option to install the Control Panel applet must be DISABLED to avoid having it break the Control Panel on your Vista system.


Choice of server architecture
First you need to choose a Firebird server architecture. There are two models: the classic and the super server architecture. The super server is the main architecture for Microsoft win32 platforms (classic architecture is available on Win32 only from v1.5 onward). Unix style environments often have a choice of both the classic or super architecture. If you are unsure start with the classic architecture which is a little easier to experiment with and to learn the basics. Then once you know more you will be able to determine which architecture is best for your installation. From a functional point of view both are equivalent and they are interchangable.

Classic
The classic architecture allows for programs to directly open the database file. It is architected to allow the same database to be opened by several programs at once. The classic engine also allows remote connections to local databases by providing an inetd or xinetd service (This spawns a seperate task per user connection).

Super Server
The super server architecture provides a server process, and client process cannot directly open the database file and all SQL requests are done via the server using a socket. The super server makes use of lightweight theads to process the requests.


Supported platforms
Currently our main supported platforms are 32-bit Windows, Linux (i586 and higher, and x64 for Firebird 2.0 on Linux), Solaris (Sparc and Intel), HP-UX (PA-Risc), FreeBSD and MacOS X. Main development is done on Windows and Linux, so all new releases are usually offered first for these platforms, followed by other platforms after few days (or weeks).

Some Firebird 1.0 builds are also available for WinCE and AIX.

http://www.firebirdsql.org/index.php?op=files

 

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