You've posted your usual good sense, combined with one statement I 
strongly disagree with.

>One of
>these products is a relational database management system.  The other is a
>quasi-SQL-like-front-end-to-systems-of-indexed-files that has never
>concerned itself with things like standards conformance.

The implication is that MySQL is not an RDBMS. The only attempt I 
know of to define an RDBMS was Codd's, and no DBMS has ever met the 
criteria he published in a paper in the late 80s (1986?). Even though 
Oracle doesn't meet the criteria of the best known definition (only 
definition?) of an RDBMS, we all seem to agree that Oracle is an 
RDBMS. An RDBMS is a DBMS designed to manage a relational database, 
and a database is relational because it stores data in linked, 
normalized tables. In general, the term RDBMS is used to mean a DBMS 
that can be used to create, modify, and extract data from normalized 
tables. This covers the functionality described in Codd's early 
papers and doesn't exclude all existing DBMSs.

No RDBMS provides a dialect of SQL that conforms perfectly to the 
standard. The MySQL interface uses a dialect that conforms in the 
most important areas. The conformance is close enough that someone 
like me, who refuses to learn non-SQL interfaces because they can 
only be used with the DBMS they were designed for, is perfectly 
comfortable with the MySQL interface. Given the different versions of 
the SQL standard, and the variety of non-standard implementations, it 
seems pretty arbitrary to call one vendor's SQL dialect 'SQL' and 
another's 'quasi-SQL'. And whether the DBMS implements its databases 
as systems of indexed files, or through some other system, looks 
pretty irrelevant from my porch.

Know thyself? Absurd direction!
Bubbles bear no introspection.     -Khushhal Khan Khatak

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