Firebird, Dead?

Just got a copy of the “Base Guide 6.4” don’t know if I missed this as an announcement somewhere but do I understand “Firebird” is now basically dead. To quote from the guide “A firebird embedded engine is also available. It is available in v6.4.1, v6.4.2 and v6.4.3even without experimental mode. In v6.4.4, it has been moved back to experimental features due to the large number of bugs it had. Its use is deprecated. This guide is based on HSQLDB engine and gives a few example on Firebird. Please note that the Firebird engine is very good, it is its implementation in base which is full of bugs.”

It is not “dead” but due to many issues, it had been revoked to be the “*default” internal database. From my point of view, if LibreOffice is really following its path getting rid of Java dependent code, then there is no choice to stay with firebird. In fact your post is is too argumentative for this site, since no user of LibreOffice could tell which direction development of LibreOffice will take.


To add to the comment by @anon73440385 there is still progress. Latest is upgrading to Firebird v3.0.7 - see tdf#134526

Most of the issues present have some type of workaround available and you will find many answers on this site. Search Firebird and you will get many listings.

As for getting rid of Java, that will not happen for some time. Even with progress of Firebird, and ignoring the old HSQLDB in use, there is the issue within Base of Report Builder & Wizards. These (and possibly more) still rely upon Java and become another issue for its’ removal.

Have had Firebird embedded in use now for over two years. As portable, it is a good choice. HSQLDB split can be also used allowing for newer versions of HSQLDB. My personal preference and everyday use, however, is PostgreSQL.

I don’t believe Opaque’s post is argumentative. If you look at the statement, the grammar indicates a question, which is how I read it. The statement just has a mistaken period instead of question mark.

I’m glad he made the post because I just found out about the switch back to HSQL and haven’t been able to find information elsewhere.

For what it’s worth I spent a lot of time trying to get Firebird to do basic stuff in Base (several hundred manhours). Firebird is a major backbone of numerous commercial products, and Firebird is a great product, I was really looking forward to it. But in my experience LibreOffice Base does not yet have the necessary features to implement Firebird successfully for anything other than very simple stuff. It appears to me there is a big push to make Base import or operate Access databases. I think there may be some conflict between the three, trying to make them all function if not simultaneously than “together” or something. These products were not necessarily designed with the intent of “working together” originally, and those products are being updated as we speak; so the LibreOffice design team has a very lofty goal of making the database(s) and their macro systems all work under one engine. Trying to please everyone simultaneously sometimes is difficult. I’m a noob & use the HSQLDB. Awesome. But if a better option comes along I want to be the first to know. (LibreOffice 6.4 on Linux Mint and WIN10)


Would respectfully disagree with many of your points. Regardless of the database used, with one being a noob, Base will cause you to spend a good deal of time with ‘basic stuff’.

There is no question more work is needed to get the embedded version in better shape. What you may not realize is that the server version still has many drawbacks in Base also. As stated in my comment, many of the obstacles with the embedded version can be overcome. Many occur just in the start up.

Do not see your ‘…big push to make Base import or operate Access databases.’ In fact have seen little if any change in this status for years. You mention conflict of the three? Base can use a variety of databases. What about that support conflict. Most every database I have tried with Base has problems of one type or another.

In all fairness, there is little being done in Base. The major reason is that there are few people contributing to the development. As a result, Base needs help.


First, I appreciate your patience in helping to explain things to us noobs. (To be fair, I probably need to know a ton more before I can achieve noob status.)

Could you explain the statement that …“Base will cause you to spend a good deal of time with ‘basic stuff’,”? Is it lagging behind in development that leads to problems? (I would guess that developing Base is among the most complicated aspects of LO?)

Honestly, other than the huge crash I had with the switch to Firebird, I’ve been very happy with the projects I’ve done with Base.

Thank you.


Base has for some time ben lacking in development. Few if any working on it. There has been little advancement in years. Firebird was making progress then hit a wall - stopped suddenly.

Base is not intuitive. You must learn all the “basic stuff” like what controls can and can’t do. Even how to place & copy is not the easiest. It is easy for many to give up as results take time and many don’t have the patience for it. Knowing Access may help a bit but can be harmful since it is far beyond Base automatically doing things for the user.

I appreciate your insight. Are other DB’s easier to learn than Base?

I learned on dBase IV, a single table DB, in college. Then I tried to do something with Access years ago and was dumbfounded. I’m learning Base now to update my skills and for a couple personal projects. I find it complex but manageable. I would be interested to know what someone who really knows about DB’s thinks.


First, to be clear, Base is NOT a database. It is a front end to databases. LO does come with HSQLDB embedded and Firebird embedded databases (curently must have Experimental features turned on for Firebird creation). You can use many others such MariaDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL etc. HSQLDB embedded is very old - v1.8

Relational databases in general are typically the same. They may contain different functions but usually all follow standards. Some have been around longer and may be more sophisticated. If you are having difficulties, maybe an on-line college course. There is no quick solution.

I should have been clearer. I know it’s a front end but goofed when I wrote that. I meant to ask if other front ends are easier to learn & use?

As far as learning, I went through a tutorial a couple years ago before I ran into big issues with Firebird. I really liked what I was able to do, but forgot many details. I’m reading the LO Guide now, and it’s pretty easy to follow.


With what can be found, the easier ones to learn have much less capabilities. It is like anything else - the more it can do the longer it takes to learn. Fortunately with databases most follow standards and become easier to jump around. The same is true with graphical interfaces. The more you work with them the easier it is to pick up another.