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Speaker Interview with Boriss Mejias

Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m a holistic system software engineer, currently working as consultant and trainer at 2ndQuadrant. I really enjoy this role as I can work with very challenging projects, I get to do a lot of teaching, and be active in the Postgres community. I have been teaching since secondary school where people asked me to teach them math. And I love teaching because I learn a lot every time I try to explain something. I also have a background as researcher, where I study self-managing systems and distributed storages, and now I love combining all the theoretical analysis applied to real-world projects.
In the non-technical aspect, I enjoy reading, I love music, and I have fun playing air guitar.
How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?
I’m volunteer in the PgConfEU Staff since last year, and also during the past 3 FOSDEM events. I also try to motivate the Belgian community running the PostgreSQL User Group in Belgium. I also submit talks to different events, and this year I’m in the programme committee of the first PgDay in Chile (I’m from Chile and I live in Belgium)
Have you enjoyed previous or FOSDEM conferences, either as an attendee or as speaker?
This would be my 4th PgConf EU, first time as speaker. This is an excellent conference, so I’m really excited about giving a talk and a training.
I have been attending FOSDEM every year since 2004. I just missed the 2006 edition. Before I used to be around many rooms, but in the last 4 years I’m mostly around the Postgres talks. In 2008 and 2010 I was able to present my research work in FOSDEM, as we released free software as proof of concept. My project was called Beernet, a relaxed-structured peer-to-peer network.
What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?
I will be talking about migrating to PostgreSQL from other database engines. This is a recurrent topic in many conferences, and every time I have attended to any of these kind of talks I have learned something new. Even though the topic isn’t original, there is always something else to learn that might be useful for your migration project. Specially since databases engines evolve, and there are always new migration projects. My challenge will be to bring at least one new trick or concept to the attendees.
I’m on the sponsors track, so this topic was actually chosen together with our team at 2ndQuadrant. Migrations are a constant in the PostgreSQL world, so it is a topic we thought it would be useful to bring to the community, bringing what we have learned with each project.
You are in the sponsor track. Will this be a vendor pitch?
Certainly not. I understand this is the first time there is a sponsor track at PgConf EU, but we do not forget that this is an open source event where sharing knowledge is a key element to build a good community. In this conference, there wouldn’t be any value of giving a talk where I just sell you a product you can’t learn anything from it. I will mention tools from different vendors, but only as a list where you can search for more info, but the talk is definitely technical where I expect the attendees will learn something (as I will learn as well). Also, I have never given a vendor pitch, so I wouldn’t know how to do it well.
Someone asked me whether I was going to use hidden slides transitioned in less than a second to send subconscious messages to the audience. That’s a cunning plan. But too Machiavelli for my style.
What is the audience for your talk?
Everyone that has been assigned a migration project, or is trying to decide whether migrating is a good idea or not. Migration involves an effort from developers and DBAs, so this talk is for both profiles. Also for holistic engineers who has to have a view on the whole stuff.
What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 12 which you like most?
The improvements on declarative partitioning. This is getting better and better.
Which other talk at this year's conference would you like to see?
Too many good talks, too many good speakers. I have plenty of conflicts due to good talks in parallel. But I will definitely not miss these two:
Barman in Action” - I know this is a bit of self promotion, because Barman is developed by my colleagues, but Gabriele Bartolini is such a good speaker, so I don’t want to miss it.
Converting 85% of Dutch primary schools from Oracle to PostgreSQL” - I like use cases, and this one seems very interesting. I even registered to room host this talk because I don’t want to miss it.
Which measure, action, feature or activity would—in your eyes—help to accelerate the adoption of PostgreSQL?
I think we are in a very good pace. Do we need to accelerate? I don’t know. But the best we can do to keep this pace is to continue caring for the community. We need to continue organizing local events such as PgDays, be present at FOSDEM, and continue answering questions on Stackoverflow. We are the most loved relational database. :)
Playing air guitar is also something I would recommend to not take ourselves too seriously.