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Closing this, this sort of discussion should go to the discussion group!forum/known-dev or IRC channel.

But, in short there are a number of very good reasons why Known uses a (number of different options of) database for storage.

For those who feel strongly about avoiding database for backend storage, and are prepared to accept the consequences, I encourage you to look at the DataConcierge class hierarchy. It is entirely possible to write a plugin that maps the data queries to another mechanism/flat file store (although I imagine search will suffer unless some effort is taken to provide some sort of lookup mechanism), however I doubt this'll ever be something that is built out for the core project.