Re: The relational model and relational algebra - why did SQL become the industry standard?

From: Lauri Pietarinen <>
Date: 10 Feb 2003 11:14:16 -0800
Message-ID: <>

> I am currently trying to work out why SQL and not relational algebra became
> the industry standard in 1986(I think it was). Is this because of the more
> "technical" language of rel. algebra and the difficulty in creating
> universal queries, or is it something else?

Good question!

It is probably related to many things, among them

  • the supremity of IBM during 70's and 80's
  • being afraid of having to remove duplicates, because of (alleged) potential performance implications - hence SQL's pseudu-tuple-bag model (see
  • basically the fact that the relational model as presented by Codd in 1970 was such a radical departure from the traditional way of thinking that a watered down version was (and still is!) the only version that the public can stomach

The product mentioned in another posting in this thread is called Dataphor; more information can be found at

There is a web site dedicated to The Third Manifesto ( It does not have as much information as the book but it is a good start.

I see that Hugh Darwen has made his presentation "The Askew Wall" available on the site.

Lauri Pietarinen Received on Mon Feb 10 2003 - 20:14:16 CET

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