Getting out of the office can be a liability some times – too much to keep up with, too many fires, and a ton of work-backlog to complete. But with PGCon 2010 hosted in town at the University of Ottawa and being very affordable, I almost got it together to make some sessions.
But not being satisfied with missing yet another PGCon , I joined up at the the pub night hoping to rub shoulders with one or another of the speakers / participants who might cover some of the “noob” material with me over beer, and also I hoped to network with any other local gc.ca users of PostgreSQL (used at NRCan Library by our Evergreen ILS).
I was fortunate to grab a table with the good folks at PGExperts and were later on joined by a crew from a small city whose name was very familiar to me. I know only one company from Emeryville, CA. My jaw dropped and my eyes nearly popped out when I realized that III had sent a couple of senior staff to scope things out at PGCon regarding a possible move towards having some PostgreSQL in the backend of III’s products. To be clear, this wasn’t a move towards any open source model surfacing to replace their same old business model, only III was looking at a possible strategic move towards PostgreSQL for some of it’s new products, leaving one big question still open: namely, what database will III use to replace its proprietary system, having successfully exploited it to near end-of-life status?
Very interesting indeed. I already knew that III is using Lucene (Hibernate?) in it’s Encore product, some MySQL in for selected circulation and patron data, IndexData’s Z39.50 server and finally Apache web server, but none of this signaled much for me if users can’t touch the base tools. It might be there, but you can’t find it or use it your own way, and I suspect they’ll hold onto that model for some time yet even if PostgreSQL gets some traction with any of III’s products. 
 Recent years’ PGCon’s were also held in Ottawa, and I found out that Ottawa is a recurring meet up place due to the visa hassles many international users have getting into the USA, it’s an affordable city to host events, etc.
Example: before Encore, III’s official policy was to not disclose what web server it was using. I even had a senior Linux expert come in and try to determine what web server was running our WebOPAC back a few years ago, with no success. I eventually found out that it was apparently running a proprietary instance of Apache 0.98, and IMHO probably still running that way with most versions of WebOPAC / WebOPAC Pro out there.