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Speaker Interview with Lætitia Avrot

Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Lætitia Avrot from France. I’m a Postgres DBA since 2005. I work today as a Senior Database Consultant for EnterpriseDB. People who know me could tell you one fun fact about me: I didn’t like beer before entering the community, but then FOSDEM happened!
How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?
I’m a co-founder of Postgres Women. I’m also a Code of Conduct Committee member, even if I’m stepping down this year. I helped the PostgreSQL Project in Google Code-In Contest and in Google Season of Docs. I wrote several patches and I speak a lot about my unconditional love for PostgreSQL... My ultimate goal is to convince everyone they can contribute to the PostgreSQL community. If you doubt you can, come speak to me!
Have you enjoyed previous or FOSDEM conferences, either as an attendee or as speaker?
I’ve been in Paris in 2009. Then, nothing happened for twelve years until I decide to focus exclusively on Postgres. Since 2017, I haven’t missed a FOSDEM or event. Postgresql community is great and meeting those people, hearing others speak about their solutions, sharing other points of view is so rewarding that I would feel punished not to be part of the party! It’s also a good place to be mentored to create your first patch!
What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?
I will speak about NULL and UNKNOWN in the SQL standard. When I was writing another conf talk about how amazing the SQL programming language is, I read the SQL standard and I found out about the UNKNOWN value. Curious as I am, I wanted to known more about it and what’s better than giving a conf talk about a subject to learn about it?
I will also give a conf talk about Postgres Women with other speakers. We will try to explain why it matters and what everyone can do to help increasing diversity in the PostgreSQL community.
What is the audience for your talk?
I think developers and DBAs are the target audience for the NULL talk. For the Postgres Women talk, everyone is, of course, welcome!
What existing knowledge should the attendee have?
For the NULL talk, I try to explain things from the beginning, but some background about sql could be could.
For the Postgres Women talk, let me quote Nirvana: “Come as you are”.
What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 12 which you like most?
I love CTEs, so I’m really happy with their automatic inlining, so that they won’t be a optimisation fence anymore! My message to developers is now clear: Use CTE, people!
On the other hand, my first code patch is embedded in that version, so that now you are able to use hyperbolic functions in Postgres! If you have no idea what hyperbolic functions are, I assume it means you don’t need them like most of us. I’d like to thank Alvaro Herrera for his time and patience. I wouldn’t have made it without him.
Which other talk at this year's conference would you like to see?
Well, there are so many amazing talks and subjects that I know I won’t be able to see every talk I would like to attend to. Actually, I would have loved to be able to see Robert Haas’s “What’s in a plan” or Peter Einsentraut’s talk about queuing theory, but it’s during my Postgres Women talk and I think my absence on stage could be noticed...
Which measure, action, feature or activity would—in your eyes—help to accelerate the adoption of PostgreSQL?
I think PostgreSQL adoption pace is already pretty quick and getting quicker thanks to the power of word of mouth. PostgreSQL is amazing and once you’ve tried it you have no other choice than falling in love. The thing Postgres could lack is marketing. Because even if you have a great product, you need people to know that.