In this installment of my Linux Myth series I take aim at the GNU/Linux database nay-sayers, and shoot them down.
There are probably thousands, if not millions, of custom, one-off databases created using proprietary software like the expensive Microsoft Access on Microsoft based systems. One “reason” given by some so-called “experts” as to why people cannot use GNU/Linux is the lack of a simple, easy to use, database package like Access. Oh really?
OpenOffice.org Base is just this sort of software. I have recently been “playing” with the OpenOffice.org Base software on my GNU/Linux desktop PC and have found it very easy to get started with. In fact, I have created some test databases, deleted them and started over a few times to get familiar with the basics of Base. My experience just using trial and error has shown me that Base is simple and easy for a database novice like myself. I am so confident it is simple and easy I have made a video of my creation of a database to store information about my CD collection. See the bottom of this article to download the video.
Not only is OpenOffice.org Base easy to get started with and use, it is potentially very powerful. According to the Base product page, one can link Base to a back-end database like MySQL or PostgreSQL. I would think one could use the form creation to create a front-end application for using a MySQL or PostgreSQL database. There are even plugins to connect to and use a Microsoft Access database as well as JDBC and ODBC standard drivers to allow connection to virtually any database. While I have done none of this advanced database work myself I see the tools in Base. For more information see the Base Wiki.
Take that, you nay-sayers.
Download the video here: http://www.eracc.com/files/ooo_base.ogv (This is an OGG Theora video that is 4:22 minutes and 19,305,875 bytes. This will work best if downloaded using right click + “save as” or your browser equivalent and run from a local hard drive. Trying to “stream” it with this URL is likely to fail. Need a player for Theora video? Get VLC. VLC is “free” software available for Microsoft, OS X, BeOS, GNU/Linux and other platforms.)
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Edit Fri May 22 12:00:45 CDT 2009: Add information about VLC for viewing Theora videos.