Saturday, October 29, 2005

Oracle Releases Free 10g Express Edition Beta

Not to be outdone by Microsoft's October 28, 2005 posting of the release version of SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (requires subscription) on MSDN, Oracle the same day posted a beta version of Oracle 10g Release 2 Express Edition for Linux x86 on the Oracle Technical Network (OTN). The Oracle 10.2 XE download, which requires an OTN account, weighs in at 198.5 MB, while SQL Server 2005 Express is a more svelte 54 MB. Martin Lamonica's "Oracle to offer free database" CNet article, also of 10/28/2005, quotes Oracle's Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle's server technologies division:

There is definitely a market there [for low-end databases] and a demand. And we want them to be using Oracle and not MySQL or SQL Server Express. It's definitely a reaction to the market interest. Even though the database is initially free, standards progress and those university students who are playing with the database today will eventually be working at corporations and making product decisions. We want to have mind-share with those people.

Oracle 10g and SQL Server 2005 Express editions share a 1-CPU with 1-GB RAM limit and a 4-GB maximum database size. IBM has offered a 90-day trial version of its IBM DB2 Universal Database Express Edition since 10/9/2004, and a free download of its DB2 v8.2.3 Personal Developers Edition for single-user desktop database applications since 9/23/2005 (requires registration). The DB2 Express Edition supports up to 2 CPUs and 4 GB RAM on Linux and Windows with these license prices. IBM's Express Edition appears to have been an attempt to counter Oracle Database Standard Edition One—introduced more than a year ago—that carries a license fee of $149 per user. In my opinion, DB2 Personal Developer Edition is likely to become a victim of the "free database" wars as a result of its single-user, desktop-database stigma. The future of Oracle Standard Edition One, which was aimed primarily at workgroups, also is open to question in the current environment. In the meantime, check out the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition specs. The last-minute demise of SQL Server Express Manager for Express database management in favor of a promised restriced version of SQL Server 2005 Management Studio might dissuade developers from adopting SQL Server 2005 Express Edition until Microsoft releases a replacement set of visual management tools. Update: The November 2005 Community Technical Preview of SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) is now available for download. --rj Technorati: