Fabian Pascal is Smarter Than Me

By Deane Barker

The legendary Fabian Pascal showed up yesterday to tell us all that we were stupid over in the relational data model post. Specifically, his comment was:

None of you know the relational model, which is why you think current products are relational, which they are not.

This whole thread is nonsense, because you never defined what “best” means, and “best for what?”.

He has a point, certainly, even if he was a jerk about it. I went to his site – dbdebunk.com – to see what he was talking about, and it seems Pascal is a serious database badass. He’s old school, from the street, yo. And all us playa’s are just frontin’ ‘bout our database skillz. He’s the Herbert Kornfield of relational databases.

Some quotes from the site:

[Current DBMS] deficiencies are, it seems to me, directly due to the widespread lack of understanding (not least on the part of vendors), of fundamental database principles.

A lot of what is being said, written, or done in the database management field – or whatever is left of it – by vendors, the trade press and “experts” is irrelevant, misleading, or outright wrong. While this is to a degree true of computing in general, in the database field the problems are so acute that, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, technology is actually regressing!

He’s written some books, along with his partner, C. J. Date. Date, for his part, wrote “An Introduction to Database Systems” which is one of the seminal books on the subject.

I’m going to sit down and do some reading over the weekend to try and figure out where I’m so mistaken, but it seems that most of the site consists of making fun of people who aren’t as smart as Pascal and Date – which is about everybody, and certainly myself, I’ll freely admit. Their quotes page is full of people they apparently consider to be idiots.

I can’t put it any better than Pascal’s own Wikipedia page:

He is known for his extremely vitriolic criticisms of almost all DBMS vendors, users, and experts, on the basis that they do not subscribe to a pure form of the relational model of database management

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