PostgreSQL is an open source alternative to Oracle's database software. Early this month, Oracle quietly shut down three servers Sun Microsystems had donated to test PostgreSQL on Solaris.
"Like most open source platforms," Brett Winterford of ITnews reports, "PostgreSQL relies on an army of distributed volunteers. It is volunteers that, for example, operate the PostgreSQL Build farm, a 'distributed, automated build and verify system' built by enthusiast Andrew Dunstan."
Oracle pulled the plug on the Solaris test servers earlier this month without warning - leaving the PostgreSQL community scrambling to find new servers to test the database software on Solaris.
The Build farm has servers that run various flavors of Linux, Unix, Windows, OS X and Solaris. Whenever changes are made to the source code, the servers in the Build farm recompile PostgreSQL and run a series of tests to ferret out any glitches.
"It's a vital piece of the infrastructure for developing PostgreSQL," Dunstan told iTnews. "Before it existed, if some change we made broke on some platform, it was often weeks or months before we found out about it. Now we know within hours."