Peter Geoghegan <> wrote:
> Kevin Grittner <> wrote:
>> I'm pretty sure that when I was using Sybase ASE the order for
>> non-equal values was always predictable, and it behaved in the
>> manner I describe below.  I'm less sure about any other product.
> Maybe it used a physical row identifier as a tie-breaker? Note
> that we use ItemPointers as a tie-breaker for sorting index
> tuples.
> I imagine that it was at least predictable among columns being
> sorted, if only because en_US.UTF-8 doesn't have any notion of
> equivalence (that is, it just so happens that there are no two
> strings that are equivalent but not bitwise equal). It would
> surely be impractical to do a comparison for the entire row, as
> that could be really expensive.
We weren't using en_US.UTF-8 collation (or any other "proper"
collation) on Sybase -- I'm not sure whether they even supported
proper collation sequences on the versions we used.  I'm thinking of
when we were using their "case insensitive" sorting.  I don't know
the implementation details, but the behavior was consistent with
including each character-based column twice: once in the requested
position in the ORDER BY clause but folded to a consistent case, and
again after all the columns in the ORDER BY clause in original form,
with C collation.
I wasn't aware that en_US.UTF-8 doesn't have equivalence without
equality.  I guess that surprising result in my last post is just
plain inevitable with that collation then.  Bummer.  Is there
actually anyone who finds that to be a useful behavior?  For a
collation which considered upper-case and lower-case to be
equivalent, would PostgreSQL sort as I wanted, or is it doing some
tie-break per column within equivalent values?

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