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Upon every login to my computer, I notice in Activity Monitor I have several instances of a process called "postgres" running, under the user "postgres".

What is this, and why does it launch every time I log in?

From what I gathered, it is an SQL server that is built into Unix systems. But that is as far as I got.

Any insight would be much appreciated.

Edit: AHA! It appeared after I installed Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve. When it installs the CUDA package, it also installs the PostgreSQL server. Interesting.

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    It doesn't run by default, it was probably installed with one of your softwares. – Matthieu Riegler Aug 4 '13 at 22:03
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    PostgreSQL is the default database on Mac OS X Server as of version 10.7. The standard version of Mac OS X includes only the PostgreSQL commandline client utilities. – Ruskes Aug 4 '13 at 22:43
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PostgreSQL is a relational database engine. You might have heard of MySQL? It does a similar sort of job.

Apple, for reasons unscrutable and strange, decided that they wanted to bundle PostgreSQL in some Mac OS X versions as a pre-installed application. Consequently it comes with some versions of Mac OS X.

Additionally, some 3rd party software will bundle PostgreSQL because it uses it to store and manage its data. It won't always be obvious what the program is.

PostgreSQL generally uses little CPU, RAM or disk I/O unless it's actually being used for serious work, so it's fairly safe to ignore it. If you're really determined to get rid of it (say, you think it might be stopping your non-SSD-based mac from spinning down its hard drive) then stop it and leave it installed but not running. If nothing breaks, disable it in launchd, but do not uninstall it. That way it has no effect but is easily restored if you discover there was a problem after all.

(Note that PostgreSQL databases aren't compatible across versions. If you delete an installed copy of 8.2 then decide you wanted that data after all, you would have to install a compatible build of 8.2 to read the data; installing the latest 9.3 release, or even 8.4, would not work).

  • For some weird reason, I had extreme lagspikes while gaming, and I'm a software engineer, so I was like no wonder there a multiple postgres and other processes such as docker running, but then I saw that it was actually eating up my bandwidth for some reason, might've been some sort of a bug, killing it via sigkill over pid solved the issue. No clue why though. – Milan Velebit Jul 26 '18 at 18:32
  • It must've been something else in the Docker container using Internet bandwidth, unless you were running a dump, queries from a remote host, etc. Perhaps you had some malware? – Craig Ringer Jul 30 '18 at 5:48
  • Yeah my thoughts exactly, that's why I said I literally had no clue as I know no dumps were run as well as queries. Probably malware or a glitch I've never seen before. Anyway, killing it resolved the issue as presumed – Milan Velebit Jul 30 '18 at 7:16
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PostgresSQL is an open source database management system. It is extremely likely that another piece of software that you downloaded is dependent on it. I would advise against removing it as it can mess with the functionality of other programs.

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