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Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes DuckDB?

DuckDB is maintained by Dr. Mark Raasveldt & Prof. Dr. Hannes Mühleisen along with many other contributors from all over the world. Mark and Hannes have set up the DuckDB Foundation that collects donations and funds development and maintenance of DuckDB. Mark and Hannes are also co-founders of DuckDB Labs, which provides commercial services around DuckDB. Several other DuckDB contributors are also affiliated with DuckDB Labs.
DuckDB’s initial development took place at the Database Architectures Group at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Why call it DuckDB?

Ducks are amazing animals. They can fly, walk and swim. They can also live off pretty much everything. They are quite resilient to environmental challenges. A duck’s song will bring people back from the dead and inspires database research. They are thus the perfect mascot for a versatile and resilient data management system. Also the logo designs itself.

You can download the DuckDB Logo here:

Inverted variants for dark backgrounds:

The DuckDB logo & website were designed by Jonathan Auch & Max Wohlleber.

How can I expand the DuckDB website?

The DuckDB Website is hosted by GitHub Pages, its repository is at duckdb/duckdb-web. When the documentation is browsed from a desktop computer, every page has a “Page Source” button on the top that navigates you to its Markdown source file. Pull requests to fix issues or to expand the documentation section on DuckDB’s features are very welcome. Before opening a pull request, please consult our Contributor Guide.

I benchmarked DuckDB and its slower than [some other system]

We welcome experiments comparing DuckDB’s performance to other systems. To ensure fair comparison, we have two recommendations. First, try to use the latest DuckDB version available as a nightly build, which often has significant performance improvements compared to the last stable release. Second, consider consulting our DBTest 2018 paper Fair Benchmarking Considered Difficult: Common Pitfalls In Database Performance Testing for guidelines on how to avoid common issues in benchmarks.

Does DuckDB use SIMD?

DuckDB does not use explicit SIMD instructions because they greatly complicate portability and compilation. Instead, DuckDB uses implicit SIMD, where we go to great lengths to write our C++ code in such a way that the compiler can auto-generate SIMD instructions for the specific hardware. As an example why this is a good idea, it took 10 minutes to port DuckDB to the Apple Silicon architecture.

Can DuckDB save data to disk?

DuckDB supports persistent storage and stores the database as a single file, which includes all tables, views, indexes, macros, etc. present in the database. DuckDB’s storage format uses a compressed columnar representation, which is compact but allows for efficient bulk updates. DuckDB can also run in in-memory mode, where no data is persisted to disk.

Glossary of terms

Here is a glossay of a few common terms used in DuckDB.
In-process database management system: The DBMS runs in the client application’s process instead of running as a separate process, which is common in the traditional client–server setup. An alterative term is embeddable database management system. In general, the term “embedded database management system” should be avoided, as it can be confused with DBMSs targeting embedded systems (which run on e.g. microcontrollers).
Replacement scan: In DuckDB, replacement scans are used when a table name used by a query does not exist in the catalog. These scans can substitute another data source intead of the table. Using replacement scans allows DuckDB to, e.g., seamlessly read Pandas DataFrames or read input data from remote sources without explicitly invoking the functions that perform this (e.g., reading Parquet files from https). For details, see the C API - Replacement Scans page.
Extension: DuckDB has a flexible extension mechanism that allows for dynamically loading extensions. These may extend DuckDB’s functionality by providing support for additional file formats, introducing new types, and domain-specific functionality. For details, see the Extensions page.
Platform: The platform is a combination of the operating system (e.g., Linux, macOS, Windows), system architecture (e.g., AMD64, ARM64), and, optionally, the compiler used (e.g., GCC4). Platforms are used to distributed DuckDB binaries and extension packages.

DuckDB is the name of the MIT licensed open-source project.
The DuckDB Foundation is a non-profit organization that holds the intellectual property of the DuckDB project. Its statutes also ensure DuckDB remains open-source under the MIT license in perpetuity. Donations to the DuckDB Foundation directly fund DuckDB development.
DuckDB Labs is a company based in Amsterdam that provides commercial support services for DuckDB. DuckDB Labs employs the core contributors of the DuckDB project.
MotherDuck is a venture-backed company creating a hybrid cloud/local platform using DuckDB. MotherDuck contracts with DuckDB Labs for development services, and DuckDB Labs owns a portion of MotherDuck. See the partnership announcement for details. To learn more about MotherDuck, see the CIDR 2024 paper on MotherDuck and the MotherDuck documentation.