The latest version of the free PostgreSQL open-source database has been released.

Versin 8.2 has more than 200 improvements aimed at ease of use, its development group said at launch. It is the 14th public release of the database, and includes refinements such as improved logging, a better optimiser and the ability to create indexes even as a user is modifying a database table.

Performance improvements include a 20 percent overall speed increase for high-end online transaction processing, better multi-processor scaling, better planning of partitioned data queries, faster bulk loads and accelerated outer joins, according to the group.

"It basically takes a lot of features that we've put in the past few releases and makes them feature-complete," said Bruce Momjian, a PostgreSQL core team member. "This release touches almost every command and database facility. It adds expanded, compatible syntax and interfaces which have been requested by our community, making it easier for new DBAs to fully use all of PostgreSQL's advanced features. It really improves the usability of the database."

Other improvements include an extension of the "point-in-time recovery" feature that allows administrators to create a fail-over copy of a database cluster, providing warm standby databases for emergency use. Also included are syntaxes for several more features introduced in the ANSI SQL 2003 specification, among them statistical aggregates, multi-row value statements and multi-column aggregates.

New advanced database features include generalised inverted indexes that support a more scalable and programmable way of indexing semi-structured and full text data, and compatibility with Solaris DTrace and other advanced tracing tools via the Generic Monitoring Framework.

The database has wide adoption among large enterprise users, including global Internet domain name registrar Afilias, electronics maker Fujitsu, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and mobile communications vendor Research In Motion.

The PostgreSQL project began 21 years ago at the University of California, Berkeley, and is distributed under a BSD license, which allows use and distribution without fees for both commercial and non-commercial applications.