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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration Guide
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 274 pages
ISBN 9781906966072
RRP £9.95 ($14.95)

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16.2.5 Row ordering differences

You might see differences in which the same rows are output in a different order than what appears in the expected file. In most cases this is not, strictly speaking, a bug. Most of the regression test scripts are not so pedantic as to use an ORDER BY for every single SELECT, and so their result row orderings are not well-defined according to the SQL specification. In practice, since we are looking at the same queries being executed on the same data by the same software, we usually get the same result ordering on all platforms, so the lack of ORDER BY is not a problem. Some queries do exhibit cross-platform ordering differences, however. When testing against an already-installed server, ordering differences can also be caused by non-C locale settings or non-default parameter settings, such as custom values of work_mem or the planner cost parameters.

Therefore, if you see an ordering difference, it's not something to worry about, unless the query does have an ORDER BY that your result is violating. However, please report it anyway, so that we can add an ORDER BY to that particular query to eliminate the bogus “failure” in future releases.

You might wonder why we don't order all the regression test queries explicitly to get rid of this issue once and for all. The reason is that that would make the regression tests less useful, not more, since they'd tend to exercise query plan types that produce ordered results to the exclusion of those that don't.

ISBN 9781906966072The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 3 - Server Administration GuideSee the print edition