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A startup called Attic Labs is announcing today that it has raised $8.1 million and is unveiling an open source database called Noms. Noms lets people fork and sync data in the same way that the Git open source software lets people work together on source code, and in that sense it will stand out from other databases that are available today.

Noms is available now on GitHub under an open source Apache license, with reference implementations in Go and and JavaScript. It can handle a variety of data types, including images. The Attic Labs team believes Noms could be used for archiving data, cleaning up data, or keeping data sets up to date on multiple machines.

The spirit of Noms is a bit reminiscent of the Dat open source software for syncing and sharing data. But the actual architecture is different, as Attic cofounder and chief executive Aaron Boodman explained in an email — while Dat is effectively file-sharing software, Noms is an actual database.

Among other things, “Noms gives you a nice API (application programming interface) to write software against — instead of dealing with big blobs you must manually parse and serialize, you get a structured way to read and write data,” wrote Boodman, who was previously a former Chrome engineering manager at Google. Noms makes atomic commits, performs “(eventually) automatic generic conflict resolution,” keeps a record of what changed from one version of data to another, and includes tools for running queries on and looking through data, Boodman wrote.

Greylock Partners led the round. Greylock’s Jerry Chen, who previously invested in Docker, is joining the Attic Labs board. Harrison Metal, Naval Ravikant, Linus Upson, and Othman Laraki also participated in the funding round, which is the startup’s first. Attic Labs started last year and is based in San Francisco, with seven employees.

Attic Labs isn’t disclosing its plan for commercialization today. It’s just now getting the database out the door.

“The main thing is that we want to continue improving Noms — making it work better, and for more use cases,” Boodman wrote. “Right now we consider Noms ‘beta’ and in order to get it to stable, there’s a big list of features we want to add. We’re also going to listen hard to what the community asks for.”

Boodman’s Medium post has more detail on what the startup is up to.

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