• Open Source Databases Comparison

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Performance comparison
There is a published page about the performance comparison between PostgreSQL, MySQL, Derby, HSQLDB, and H2.

History of Derby from Wikipedia
Apache Derby originated at Cloudscape Inc, an Oakland, California start-up founded in 1996 to develop Java database technology. The first release of the database engine, then called JBMS, was in 1997. Subsequently the product was renamed Cloudscape and releases were made about every six months.