OK, so I've had a bit of time to look things over, and appear to be 
making headway.  Here's how things stand right now:

I added a function called best_inner_scan used the same way as 
best_inner_indexscan, but it's a bit more generalized in the sense that 
it can make append plans comprising of the best scans for each 
constituent table (it makes calls to best_inner_indexscan for each 
child), or just return the best simple index scan (or null) for plain 
relations.

In order to make that work, I gave the child tables modified join 
clauses from the parent... modified in the sense that I had to make the 
operands match the inherited child table (they would match the parent 
otherwise if I were to simply copy the Joininfo nodes, and thus fail in 
finding an appropriate index in the child table).  I'm not entirely 
comfortable with that solution yet, as I'm not absolutely certain those 
additonal modified join clauses wont' affect something else in the code 
that I'm not aware of,  but it appears to be having the desired effect.

Basically, with optimizer debug enabled, I'm getting plans that look like 
this (with the same queries as before) 

RELOPTINFO (1 2): rows=501 width=19
        cheapest total path:
        NestLoop(1 2) rows=501 cost=0.00..1253.67
          clauses: numbers.id = ids.id
                SeqScan(1) rows=1 cost=0.00..0.02
                Append(2)  rows=100051 cost=0.00..3.01

As opposed to this:

RELOPTINFO (1 2): rows=501 width=19
        cheapest total path:
        HashJoin(1 2) rows=501 cost=0.00..2195.79
          clauses: numbers.id = ids.id
                SeqScan(1) rows=1 cost=0.00..0.02
                Append(2)  rows=100051 cost=0.00..1690.50

The total cost seems a high for the nestloop.. its constituents are 
certainly cheap. I need to look to see if I missed keeping track of 
costs somewhere.

When I EXPLAIN, though, I get an error from the executor:
"ERROR: both left and right operands are rel-vars".  I haven't looked 
into that yet, but the results so far are encouraging enough to press on 
and get this completed.  

There was one hairy part, though, which will have to be addressed at some 
later point:  Right now there is a boolean 'inh' in the RangeTblEntry 
struct which indicates "inheritance requested".  When the inheritance root 
is first expanded by expand_inherited_rtentry(), the rte->inh is 
nulled in order to prevent expansion of an UPDATE/DELETE target.  This 
presented problems for me when I wanted to detect which relation was an 
inheritor one in order to expand it into the append path.  For my testing 
purposes, I just commented out the line, but for a real 
solution, that's not an acceptable solution and some struct might have to 
be changed slightly in order to convey the inheritance knowledge.. 

So, I guess the next step is to see what the executor is complaining 
about and see if it's something that would need attention in the executor 
of if it's something I did wrong.. If everything appears to work after 
that point, then I'll check for efficiency and use of cache in generating 
the inner scan plans.

Thanks for the advice and historical perspective so far, Tom. It has been 
quite helpful.  

        -Aaron


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