Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oracle To Offer A Free Database

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the nice-if-true dept.

Databases 370

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet News reports that Oracle is likely to announce a free version of its Oracle 10g Database. Oracle Database 10g Express Edition will be free for development and production use, and could even be distributed with other products. What does this mean for the future of MySQL and PostgreSQL?" From the article: "By introducing a free entry-level product, Oracle intends to get more developers and students familiar with its namesake database, Mendelsohn said. Those customers, Oracle hopes, will eventually upgrade to a higher-end version."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


First Post (1, Troll)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914056)

I can't wait to get this. I really enjoy using 10g for projects, and hopefully I can distribute this with my free software.

My one question is, how will this stack up against MySQL. Other than the fact that MySQL is supposedly more free, how could it beat this?

Propz to GNAA

Re:First Post (0, Flamebait)

$cullyshouse (684136) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914154)

At the risk of starting a flame war....

... Oracle is a rubbish dinosaur that hasnt aged all that well. DB/400 (and its ancestors) is older but better why? coz IBM said if it dont do what you want, work round to it. Oracle said, ok we'll patch it. MySQL is excellent for what it is, a website database server so i dont think they have to worry too much I cant see many php developers going to the trouble of using oracle.

Re:First Post (4, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914200)

If MySQL will do what you want, then you don't need Oracle.

But if your database is really big enough to need Oracle, then MySQL certainly won't be in the running as an alternative.

Re:First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914299)

Nice troll attempt. You are aware Yahoo Finance runs MySQL?

Re:First Post (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914333)

If FreeDOS will do what you want, then you don't need Windows or Linux.

But if your application needs to support enough different network drivers, then FreeDOS certainly won't be in the running as an alternative.

It's mostly about branding and attracting the attention of PHBs. There's probably some interest in scalability, too.

what a wimpy database (5, Informative)

defMan (175410) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914059)

Database XE is free for runtime usage with the following limitations:
  • Supports up to 4GB of user data (in addition to Oracle system data)
  • Single instance only of Oracle Database XE on any server
  • Only uses and executes on one processor in any server
  • Can use up to 1GB RAM

Re:what a wimpy database (1)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914097)

Think embedded DB.. This is just for applications which need a local cache. Dunno how much real muscle this has inherited though..

MS offered a SQL Server express too. This is probably just a response.

Re:what a wimpy database (1)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914124)

I think that for embedded database storage, this would be overkill.

Re:what a wimpy database (2, Insightful)

ShootThemLater (5074) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914234)

I think that for embedded database storage, this would be overkill
Not necessarily. Some vendors offer products that use a database to (say) store metadata. It's not unusual for such vendors to only offer support for databases where there is sufficient proven commercial demand - and (right or wrong) in many fields, that means Oracle, DB2, MSSQL. Sure, something like MySQL would be far better suited for embedded use, but that would be a whole other platform to do QC on etc. and it might not make commercial sense.

So, if you had a free version of a database that you already support, you could easily use that as an embedded version - for a mobile version of your product, for example.

Re:what a wimpy database (1)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914265)

I'm just thinking of the overhead of Oracle, which may not be that suited to an embedded application. Of course, if this free version has lower hardware requirements, then yes that would be appropriate. However in this case I doubt that this would be suitable for say, mobile devices.

Re:what a wimpy database (2, Interesting)

ShootThemLater (5074) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914367)

I'm just thinking of the overhead of Oracle, which may not be that suited to an embedded application. Of course, if this free version has lower hardware requirements, then yes that would be appropriate. However in this case I doubt that this would be suitable for say, mobile devices.

I agree, it has a significant overhead - particularly in memory and disk footprint. I should clarify though - when I referred to mobile use, I was thinking of users with reasonably high end laptops who need to use a database-dependent application while offline. So while in the office, they could connect to a main server running 'proper' Oracle with live data, and when on the road, they could use a personal installation with the XE server and cached data. The advantage for the vendor is that they can use the same database for both.

Re:what a wimpy database (2, Insightful)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914142)

While the summary asks the question how this will effect MySQL and PostgrSQL, surely the limitations on processors, memory, and instances will make this unusable for shared hosting. While I may be wrong, I bet a lot of people get to know MySQL and PostgreSQL when they get it as part of a package for cheap (and thus almost certainly shared) hosting.

Re:what a wimpy database (5, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914151)

This seems like it's aimed at Microsoft's "free" MSDE rather than open source databases like Postgres or MySQL. The specs are on par with MSDE.

Re:what a wimpy database (2, Informative)

defMan (175410) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914211)

Aha, i didn't know this. That explains the specs a bit more.

I don't see it as competition to opensource offerings, because a) it's not opensource and b) it's extremely limited. It's main use is to install it on a developer machine to make sure they don't mess with the real database.

And anyone considering this for embedded should probably go for sqlite [sqlite.org] instead.

Re:what a wimpy database (4, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914216)

The thing about PostGreSQL that trumps the competition, IMHO, is that you can build in support for tools such as Python on the DB server.

PL/pgSQL bears a resemblance to PL/SQL, and both languages are servicable enough. Oracle cooks in its own JVM. While Java is an undeniably powerful tool, one feels relatively enslaved to the JVM, compared to the bliss of simple, clear Python code.

Re:what a wimpy database (4, Informative)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914313)

PostgreSQL also can embed a JVM for writing stored procudures and user functions and aggregate functions, but its not very well supported (yet). PG does have quite a few companies behind it so I doubt it will stay that way for long.

PG probably has the best language support of all DBs. Is there any major language that doesn't have a PG interface in 8.1?

Re:what a wimpy database (4, Informative)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914217)

I believe that these limitations mirrors Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, which is where they probably got them from.

Re:what a wimpy database (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914287)

except microsoft counts dual core intel chips as one processor for purposes of licensing..

doesn't oracle count cores?

Re:what a wimpy database (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914267)

Yup, totally.

I can use it in a non-production environment. But once it's going into a production environment, it's gonna need more than "4GB of user data". What's the point of XE anyway? If it's only for trial purpose, I can just download a full version and use it in a non-production environment.

I'm gonna stick with MySQL

Re:what a wimpy database (1)

craigmarshall (679127) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914354)

How do these limitations stack up against something like PostgreSQL or Mysql or anything else free as in speech? i.e. Can they take advantage of multiple CPU and are there limitations on the database size? Any RAM limits for whatever reason? Just interested.


SQL Express (2, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914372)

these requirments are nearly Identical to SQLExpress, the renamed MSDE from MS.

But on a windows system WOW is it handy for building apps with embeeded db , (1000 times better than Access, both in performance reliablity and coding for it.)
Hopefully Oragle will make it that easy for Unix/Linux?Solaris development.

It Could Backfire (5, Insightful)

obender (546976) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914062)

Unless Oracle puts together a better administration interface than the current bunch of tools people might actually learn to stay away from it.

Re:It Could Backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914077)

I'll never miss what I never had.

Re:It Could Backfire (5, Funny)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914092)

If anyone and his dog could administer an Oracle database, what will happen to the professional Oracle DBA's? THINK OF THE DBA'S!!! ;)

OK support in Visual Studio (2, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914118)

Actually their new plug in for Visual Studio is not bad at all. Personally I think it is better then JDevelloper, provided you don't code Java, of course. The main thing I have against Oracle is that I can't make e.g. an Access file which works out of the box on every computer. You always need to get the drivers set up properly first, and you can't do that without (local) administrator rights. That is where MS (obviously) can shamelessly profit from their monopoly.

Re:It Could Backfire (2, Insightful)

YoungHack (36385) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914241)

> Unless Oracle puts together a better administration interface than the current bunch of tools people might actually learn to stay away from it.

Boy that's no kidding. I've used their real database, and there's no way I would voluntarily choose it for any project of my own. Free wouldn't make a bit of difference to me.

Nice TRY (2, Interesting)

LogicallyGenius (916669) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914065)

But, I will go for Open source and free of any license; so which should I go for ?

Re:Nice TRY (1)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914277)

PostgreSQL is your best bet in terms of Oracle like features with an Open Source (BSD) license.

Some very nice Oracle features are also being developed in Bizgres.

SQL For Fun? (4, Interesting)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914070)

I've been meaning to ask this for a while on Slashdot, but how many people here use a SQL database as part of a hobby or for fun?

I currently have PostgeSQL running on my Tiger box. I initially installed it just to experiment with SQL and database normalization, but now I keep my comic book inventory on it. (I know that this is like swatting a fly with a nuclear weapon but I enjoy using PostgreSQL and it is FREE software.)

As for Oracle's announcement, I think that it can be a good thing, provided you are willing to live with their restrictions and only need support for Linux (x86?) and Windows.

Re:SQL For Fun? (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914080)

I think any coder with a bit of common sense uses SQL for personal use. It's so diverse and so easy to use. I used to run a large music site off the back of SQL, but have used SQL for all sorts of easy storage. Put on a local server with phpmyadmin it's really useful.

I use SQL databases for everything. (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914089)

I can't imagine storing relational data in anything other than a server-based SQL database at this point. I have a hammer and everything looks like a nail to me.

Since I work all day every day with SQL Server databases, it's more of a nuisance for me with non-commercial projects to go to Access or similar non-server-based offerings.

Restrictions? (2, Interesting)

mysticwhiskey (569750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914076)

I guess it all depends on the restrictions applied to the "free" version. Is it crippled in any way? Does distribution of the free version require certain conditions (ie development criteria, use of application, etc)?

The article states hardware restrictions of "one processor, with 4GB of disk memory and 1GB of memory", so this may automatically disqualify applications of a certain scale.

Move along, move along ... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914081)

... this is crippleware. It's no threat to MySQL, PostgreSQL, or any other open source DBMS, because the developers of those databases are working to put as many features as possible into their free products, while Oracle is deliberately taking features out. This will probably be a good resource for people who want to learn Oracle on their own time, or organizations already using Oracle that want to test a new rollout without having to pay additional fees via Oracle's baroque pricing scheme, but that's about it.

Re:Move along, move along ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914128)

Anyone wanting to learn Oracle can and have been able to download the latest versions of all their software for free anyway!

Re:Move along, move along ... (5, Informative)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914130)

Well, Oracle has always been freely available for non-production use.. They even mail out their entire range of software(DB, App server,dev tools etc) free of cost.

I once received 10g for linux, and the box had every latest release of Oracle software for Linux. They're quite developer-friendly; just as MS is. For production use however..

Re:Move along, move along ... (3, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914162)

Sounds to me like the difference is that you're allowed to use this new edition for (limited) production use as well. Now, I'm sure there are a ton of small shops currently using the free, "non-production" edition for production apps, but of course they're not really supposed to; this gives them a legal route. But I still think the deliberately crippled nature of the product makes it unattractive relative to the open source contenders, in terms that even PHB's will understand: "Boss, if we go with 'free' Oracle, we're going to run into that disk space limit pretty fast, and then we'll have to pay $$$."

Re:Move along, move along ... (2, Informative)

pci (13339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914213)

Oracle is only free for non-production use if you are in ISV.
If you do in house programming, you are still suppose to buy licenses for Development.

Re:Move along, move along ... (3, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914251)

The problem with Oracle is, it doesn't scale at all. It is meant to do grid computing, but can't really do anything smaller.

How often do you need to use a cluster for your data? If you are a major organization, then you will, but the majority of installations are pretty small. Firewall/website logs. Customer data. And so on.

I have once developed a workshift-tracking application for a company with around 200 employees. A couple of years later, the total data takes 17MB. Why would you use Oracle if MySQL works faster and takes 1% of the resources? A minimal installation of Oracle 10g takes ~800MB of memory, and will take over ten hours to install on a machine with 512MB ram, on the other hand, on my firewall (486, 32MB ram) MySQL can handle Apache logs (only about 200k hits, though) taking a split second for any reasonable query.

Oracle works better for clusters.
MySQL works better for a single machine.

MySQL is a lot faster. Oracle takes distributed processing a lot better.
But uhm, where does a crippled version fit in the picture?

Re:Move along, move along ... (1)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914370)

This is probably a good way to learn Oracle's nuances and help you on your way to become a DBA for Oracles bigger stuff.

This is not in response to OSS (since they target two distinct markets: MySQL low-end, Oracle/DB2 high-end). Rather, this is likely in response to the MSDE (and the SQL Server 2005 version thereof), and the free DB2 products.

This version is licensed for commercial use (unlike all the other free stuff oracle gives away), so they are probably hoping people will develop for this and eventually migrate up to the higher-end products offered.

They must own stock in Maxtor (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914082)

Clearly, Oracle has bought a major disk drive company. Have you ever downloaded or tried to install Oracle? It's easily 10 Gigs of useless crud, wrapped around a few CD's of material actually relevant to your particular setup. For Linux, they publish it as a set of binary bundles that have to be strung together so that you can *then* take apart the tarball. What a waste of disk space!

The approach shows up in everything they do. Build a huge, conglomerated edifice of software to provide the one brick you actually need, rather than keeping components modular and portable. It's like making people install a whole radio station just to get a pair of headphones.

Nice (2, Informative)

Delifisek (190943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914084)

And I'm not sure free Oracle better than mysql for Lamp (laop ?) project.

Oracle requires lots of attention to work. (O course if nobody touces it will work for ages) Any misuse may halt entire db.

Anyhow, I'm not sure that kind of movements stops even slows MySql and PostgreSQL.

And this kind of movements shows us FEAR...

Even DB giant Oracle was fear from MySql and Posgre SQL

Well done boys well done...

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914145)

There is one obvious use for it. Have any of you dealt with the Siebel bug-tracking system, popular in large companies? Siebel runs on top of an Oracle databse, and the clients for it are quite expensive and were written by crack monkeys. Access to any Siebel ticket means you can't open another Siebel window at the same time, anything you type in a Siebel window gets committed without the use of a commit button, so if you make a typo and hit "back" you've just screwed up the ticket, etc., etc.

If you download the Siebel database to another Oracle database and slap a decent web interface on the front end, you get free, usable web clients that can access multiple tickets, provide user information on tickets they may have outstanding, and allow users to see what the state of their trouble tickets are or look up the state of similar tickets to see if a problem is already supported. This is a huge advantage for people forced to call a helpdesk to look up the status of tickets, or for helpdesk workers who want to reference one Siebel ticket in another related ticket. And because it's a relatively small database of relevant information, it should fit quite comfortably inside the crippleware limitations of the free Oracle.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914164)

1. MS used to offer MSDE as a free database limited to 1Gb
      for a number of years already. It utilized exactly the
      same data format as full SQL Server. So a database backup
      in one could be restored to another 100%.

2. If the database is designed properly, transaction log
      shrunk weekly and most duplicate strings are put in a
      reference table and used by ID, most small businesses
      with about 100 real customer transactions per day will
      not need more than 100-200Mb of data per year. Thus
      either of the free versions will work just fine for a
      number of years.

3. When the time comes to scale up - realistically the
      business would be making a lot of money already. The
      $1-2K difference will be less than an opportunity cost
      of a lost day of sales/services.

I don't know what the licensing for real MS SQL Server
is, but assuming about $2-4K for about 10 connections
I see it still compete very heavily against Oracle at
$160/user ~= $1,600 for a similar level license.

Someone posted once that Slashdot is running on MySQL.
How large is Slashdot's database? and at what rate
is it growing?

But will it be easy to install? (5, Insightful)

samuel4242 (630369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914115)

The main reason I like MySQL is it works five minutes after I finish downloading it. And it's much smaller than Oracle so I can download it quickly. I spent two days trying to make Oracle work on an Linux box and it never did. The price ain't the only reason I like open source. :-)

Re:But will it be easy to install? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914138)

5 minutes? It took me 5 minutes to make it work the first time I set it up! (which was less than a week ago, so maybe I missed something? hmm, better check)

I hate Oracle with a passion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914116)

Just wanted to share! They really need to work on the developer experience. I'm no MS apologist, but SQL Server is an absolute dream by comparison - and there'e a free version too.

And you thought Bill was the Prince of Darkness (3, Insightful)

flipper65 (794710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914123)

By all means, dive into Oracle, it will be a pleasure to see the Ellison flames replace the Gates flames.

I am choosing Oracle over MySQL (2, Interesting)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914126)

I am choosing Oracle over MySQL. Why? Because SCO is still refusing to sheild MySQL users from lawsuits that directly result from this deal with SCO. Note: I am not asking to be protected from whacko frivolous lawsuits, I am asking that MySQL protect us from a lawsuit by SCO that results from SCO making the allegation that MySQL placed commercial SCO code in MySQL in violation of _this_ agreement.

If MySQL is super confident that this deal cannot possibly result in any lawsuit to us, they can easily indemnify us from SCO lawsuits.

According to SCO's press release ( http://ir.sco.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=1720 37 [sco.com] ):

"The SCO Group, Inc. ("SCO") (Nasdaq: SCOX), a leading provider of UNIX(R) software technology for distributed, embedded and network-based systems, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with MySQL AB to jointly deliver a certified, COMMERCIAL version of the popular MySQL database for SCO OpenServer 6"

Clearly there is wiggle room for them to file a delusional lawsuit styled after the IBM lawsuit claiming that MySQL used SCO resources and knowledge to "improve the GPL version". Stop laughing, this is what they are saying about linux. And when that goes down in flames, they'll need another whacko lawsuit to pump their stock up one last desperate time so the execs can completely sell off their remaining shares.

Once more, if MySQL is super confident that this deal cannot possibly result in any lawsuit to us, they can should have no problem sheilding us from SCO lawsuits.

Re:I am choosing Oracle over MySQL (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914174)

No one can indemnify you from delusional lawsuits, unless they have the spare money to fend it off or to succeed well enough to take back their court costs from the plaintiff. MySQL developers just don't have that kind of spare money.

Also note, SCO's lawsuit is draining their corporate sponsorship from Microsoft dry, and it's pretty clear from their income statements that they are being sponsored by Microsoft. Take a look over at http://groklaw.net/ [groklaw.net] for details. They don't have the resources to file another frivolous stock-pumping lawsuit like this one after they lose to IBM, becuase they're spending their core resources to pursue it. So if you're scared of SCO, I don't think you should worry about them after this: they haven't generated genuinely new or useful products in years.

Re:I am choosing Oracle over MySQL (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914201)

No one can indemnify you from delusional lawsuits, unless they have the spare money to fend it off or to succeed well enough to take back their court costs from the plaintiff. MySQL developers just don't have that kind of spare money.

That's fine. I understand that. Then don't enter into agreements (especially with known scum with a dark history of suing _users_ of GPL software).

If I can't afford my rent, I dont go gambling with other people's credit cards in known swindling casinos.

SCO after the flames (1)

The Cornishman (592143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914207)

When SCO vs IBM goes down in flames, maybe with Novell contributing its own flamethrower, there isn't going to be enough of SCO left to pump, just a few cinders blowing on the wind. At that point Redhat vs SCO gets decided too - I don't think SCO is short of things for their lawyers to do, to be honest.

Everybody's doing it (5, Insightful)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914127)

So MySQL and PostgreSQL have been free... then IBM announces a free version of DB2... then Microsoft says it's going to release SQL Server Express for free. So Oracle is playing catch-up. I wouldn't expect a major migration from MySQL to anything else; the conversion costs would be too high. But in the future, choice is a good thing.

MS has always offered free SQL Server (1)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914183)

They gave it the stupid name for it's free SQL, MSDE, or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine. It has no UI, everything is done by vendor tools and CLI.
http://www.microsoft.com/sql/msde/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

Re:MS has always offered free SQL Server (2, Informative)

LLuthor (909583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914330)

MS Access is "supposed" to be the interface to it. Access is actually a very nice interface and handles all of the SQL Server (2000) features extremely well, from simple views to complex stored procedures and macros.

I haven't yet had a chance to play around with SQL Server 2005, but I understand that the entire .NET framework and runtime has been deeply integrated with it, and as such, all .NET languages can be used to create first class database objects like stored procedures, and even custom data types.

Buisness plan (-1, Redundant)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914132)

1) Give away stuff for free
2) ???
3) Profit!!

Re:Business plan (1)

yancey (136972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914334)

Just like drugs... the first one's free. Oracle makes their money from support contracts, not the products. If you're software is bad enough, everyone needs the support!

Export Controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914150)

Did anyone check out the "export controls" for the download?

Good for a laugh if nothing else:
(http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/htdocs/ xe_lic.html?http://www.oracle.com/technology/softw are/products/database/xe/htdocs/102xewinsoft.html [oracle.com])

-I am not a citizen, national, or resident of, and am not under control of, the government of Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, nor any country to which the United States has prohibited export.
-I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Software, directly or indirectly, to the above mentioned countries nor to citizens, nationals or residents of those countries.
-I am not listed on the United States Department of Treasury lists of Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, and Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers, nor am I listed on the United States Department of Commerce Table of Denial Orders.
-I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Software, directly or indirectly, to persons on the above mentioned lists.
-I will not use the Software for, and will not allow the Software to be used for, any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, for the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

Granted I'm not familiar with Oracle, but I don't think it'd be too handy in the manufacture of chemical or biological weapons.

Re:Export Controls (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914238)

This is just symptomatic of the bureaucratic fantasy that you can do "security" by asking people questions. It's like the "did you pack your own suitcase" question at the airport. Of course everyone is going to say "yes" even if they didn't, but the people asking the question haven't worked that out.

Re:Export Controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914365)

Or, as the situation requires, say "No, my wife did..."

Re:Export Controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914387)

Can ANYONE truthfully respond to this?

-I am not listed on the United States Department of Treasury lists of Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, and Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers, nor am I listed on the United States Department of Commerce Table of Denial Orders.
-I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Software, directly or indirectly, to persons on the above mentioned lists.

Are the lists available for public inspection? Any one of us could be on those lists, unless you believe that they're 100% accurate. And how can you know when you pass a CD to a co-worker that THEY are not on one of the lists?

Even without a tinfoil hat checkbox the questions are clearly stupid.

Compete with SQL Server and MySQL (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914161)

I have been thinking about this for a while now, since Oracle showed interest in Open source databases. I think the goal is to offer a barrier to attack moving up from the low end of the database market.

A few years ago a well placed Oracle employee gave a talk at the local LUG meeting. It was plain from his attitude that if you didn't have at least a 4 way box hosting your database he didn't see you as a customer or potential customer. Oracle appeared blind to the needs of small business. And of course that is where (IMHO anyway) MS SQL Server posses the biggest threat to Oracle.

I think Oracle will use MySQL and their own free offering as a way to compete with MS in the low end of the market.

Smart move, but it could be a trap :) (4, Insightful)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914170)

I think that's a smart move by Oracle. From a long time ago they have allowed full download of their databases for testing purposes. I have a copy of Oracle 9 running in my machine to make tests of software I develop. So my customers with Oracle have better service. Probably some copies of the database will end up as production units, but few companies will trust its bussiness data to an illegal piece of software.

So Oracle has realized that the free availability hasn't cut into their sales. The next step is logical. You give away an entry-level database (entry-level users would probably use an illegal copy, or worse, an open source db), and then wait till the needs grow and they need the real thing. If the needs don't grow, well, who need those little-bussiness-that-don't-grow as customers, anyway ?

I see the thing as mainly good for the users and developers. Of course it'll cut into Open Source databases, but they'll still have their niche. After all, you should be careful with what you do with this free Oracle. Oracle can change its mind in two year's time and leave you with all your data and processes in a database that won't be supported or upgraded anymore. You'd have fallen into Oracle's trap. That's much more difficult to happen with an Open Source database.

Oracle Licensing (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914175)

I've used 8i and 9i in the past, without much thought or care as to how it got where I was using it from, or how costly it was to the respective company. Could someone from the trenches clue me in as to typical Oracle licensing practices? Like, if I want a box that can take 5 connections or 50,000.

Re:Oracle Licensing (4, Informative)

mzito (5482) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914369)

Oracle is licensed by the processor or by "named user", not by simultaneous connections. For standard edition, its $15k per processor, or $300 per database user (plus a minimum of 5 users). For enterprise edition its $40k per processor or $800 per named user, with a minimum of 25 named users per processor in the system. This is before you add any of the expensive options like RAC, Partioning, etc. that can add $20k each to the price.

There's also standard edition one, which is cheaper than either and supports some of the advanced features of both. It's designed to compete with some of the SQL server shops that have HA requirements but aren't willing to pay for oracle enterprise edition.

Of course, all of these prices are list, and for good negotiators, discounts upwards of 50% off list are not uncommon.


Why Bother? (1)

yancey (136972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914191)

Sounds to me like Oracle's market share is dropping and they're doing what they can to hold on. Besides, they make the bulk of their money from support fees, not the database itself. If you do anything serious with their software, you'll NEED that support. It's been my experience that Oracle is so much more difficult to configure and optimize that I'll just stick with MySQL and other database products when needed. I am completely convinced that unless you require a feature only present in Oracle or unless you have software that requires it, you should go with another database.

Will Separate FOSS Fans From Freebie Fans (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914192)

Offering gratis but capable versions of closed proprietary software may or may not turn out to be a good marketing move, but it would certainly separate those who like FOSS from those who like freebies. Given the fact that the vast majority of FOSS users have no interest in modifiying source code, or the capability, I suspect most of us fall into the freebie camp.

Don't waste your time(stick with LAMP, stuff LAOP) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914203)

It would be better spent getting stuff done with MySQL. Oracle have realised their market is on the slide. Students/Developers don't want to install a massive piece of bloatware, also Oracle has been smelling like a rotten corpse for a while now, it'll drop to the floor soon. It has taken them how long to come up with this? Pick a non-fly ridden solution. In a year or two they'll be trying to give away Oracle. Also LAOP, that's not as nice as LAMP.

Free?! Not cheap enough. (2, Interesting)

ticklejw (453382) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914204)

You couldn't pay me to use Oracle. I'm not sure what they expect to gain by this, but it certainly isn't my respect. If they want to generate more interest, they can make a product that works and doesn't require you to hire an Oracle-certified specialist to maintain all the little quirks and problems.

Go ahead, -1 flamebait or troll or whatever, I just really don't like their database software, and especially now that MySQL has the features that it does in version 5 and from what I hear PostgreSQL has been keeping up, there's no reason to pay half a million dollars for something sub-par. There's also no reason to pay free for the limited, restricted edition only to have to use your half million to upgrade when you outgrow the restrictions.

Yet another example of where Free software wins.

Re:Free?! Not cheap enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914282)

PostgreSQL has more than been keeping up, buddy. It's way ahead of MySQL in all areas which matter to businesses such as ours (major ISP).

It is the de facto open source RDBMS out there. Nothing comes close.

I read recently that MySQL has finally come out with triggers/functions and row-level locking. Crikey, those elements have been standard in not only serious commercial RDBMS (oracel, sybase, db2, informix, etc), but in PG for friggin years...

Don't get me wrong, MySQL has a place, but it equates to MS Access in my eyes.

Switch? Hell No! (2, Insightful)

brennz (715237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914208)

I don't like the idea of switching to Oracle because it is not open source.

I can't sweet talk Oracle devs into including some new feature I want, not without going through loads of bureacracy. I can't submit patches to the Oracle code base. I have to worry about rampant security flaws. I have to pay way too much if my DB gets bigger. I have to put up with mediocre performance.

No thanks.

I am sticking with PostgreSQL. I can hop into #postgresql on irc.freenode.net and talk to bruce momjian about features and coding for postgresql. I can submit patches. I can review the PG codebase, and I know how fast the PG devs fix flaws. I don't have to pay anything if my DB gets bigger. I have great performance. Shoot, I'll even have multi-master replication (slony II) for free in the future.

Super! (2, Insightful)

Lao-Tzu (12740) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914210)

As a software developer in the petroleum industry, I find that all of our clients use Oracle for their database needs. The release of this product will allow us to test and tweak applications to work against Oracle without purchasing the database. This works out great for us. I don't want to use Oracle in any way, but now I have the capability to use it in the most minimal way that will allow me to sell and support software.

My prefered database system is PostgreSQL. It would seem that no level of marketing skill can convince anyone in this industry that Free Software has value. Funny...

The Rug (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914212)

I won't be using any non-Free (note the capital F) database for either myself or my contract clients. Oracle, DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server may be free (note lowercase L) of charge for some limited range of uses, but none of them are Free as in Rug. You know the rug I'm talking about. It's the one that proprietary vendors like to pull out from under the people who get hooked on proprietary products.

Been there, done that, won't ever do it again.

As long it's not free-as-in-speech... (2, Insightful)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914222)

I'll not touch it.

Not trying to be a troll here, but why use Oracle when they won't support our Distro of choice (Debian)?

At work we have good experiences with Firebird, we have several databases, some over 1.6GB size, with more than 50 concurrent connections. And there was no downtime or corruption problems since the thing went to production, almost 3 years now.

Ok, Oracle has big advantages over Firebird. But they're worth moving away from Debian, a distro we trust and are confortable with? Are these advantages worth the extra money spent on licences for Oracle and it's supported Linux distros?

I work at a public institution, the healthcare department of Rio de Janeiro City, and there's barely enought money to run the hospitals, to buy medicine and such. Sure we could use this free Oracle, but we made such a long way until now using only OpenSource solutions. Why would we change now?

Just my 2c.

Good news for Compiere (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914229)

As compiere is based on the commercial version of 10g yet itself is supposed to be free, they can continue using the oracle db as the backend and still focus more on the actual system itself instead of wasting time porting to mySQL or postgreSQL.

The Munificent Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914232)

Wow! It looks like Oracle has turned over a new leaf, and is eager to join the free software revolution!


Think of "free" "light" versions of product as nothing more than an inadequate waste of your time. The purpose of these products is to get you up to speed on the product's featureset, so that when you figure out that the free version is inadequate, you'll buck up for the proprietary version, rather than backpedal and start all over.

This is a marketing campaign, not a newfound commitment to free software idealism.

Expect more of this.. (4, Insightful)

ahodgkinson (662233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914245)

Given the perceived popularity of MySQL, Oracle obviously feels it needs to react in order to prevent a slide in its market share. This is interesting, given that Oracle is one of the world's largest software companies and makes most of its money selling top-end systems to large enterprises, which isn't (yet) MySQL's playing field.

MySQL is good enough for many smaller software projects and is therefore capturing mind share in the developer world. Oracle obviously realizes this leads to a trickle up effect as software developers with MySQL experience will probably start to recommend it for other, larger, projects.

Oracle is trying counteract this by attempting to capture developer's mind share, rather than battling directly for market share. This is a long-term strategy and its success will depend on how well Oracle interacts and reacts with the Open Source developer community.

From the few comments posted here, mainly those stating how big and complex the Oracle system is, I wonder if Oracle actually gets it. If the learning (and administering) curve is really that steep, Oracle may be better off if it releases a light (in size and complexity) version that is easy to get up and running on small projects. A second recommendation would be to make sure Oracle 10 is included by default on most popular Linux distributions (which will be difficult, given it's size and complexity).

While I am impressed by Oracle's move, I'll be surprised if it gets them the gains they are hoping for. I don't think they realize the commitment this move will require in the Open Source world in order to be successful. Open Source is one of the few playing fields where actions still count more than PR.

This makes me wonder if another major software company will follow with a drastic reaction when the Linux desktop and the Open Office suite are truly ready for prime time.

We live in interesting times!

Still has restrictions (5, Informative)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914280)

If you look at the EULA you will see that this has a time restriction. "...provided to you by Oracle solely for evaluation purposes until January 31, 2006."

Obviously this is just a ploy to get developers to write apps on Oracle then, when the application has gotten fat, they will have to pay the fees for a version of Oracle that can support the app or rewrite the whole thing.

I think that only good reason to obtain 10g is to learn Oracle. If I was working at a company that was moving to Oracle, or at least talking about it, I would DL this to learn it for improved job opportunities.

Just my $.02.

Re:Still has restrictions (1)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914405)

I could be wrong, but I think this time limit may be due to the fact that the current release is a beta. This way, they can effectively force people to move on up to the full fat edition when the time comes.

C'mon, people... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914301)

If you want to catalog your CD collection, or serving a few thousand pages on your website a day, MySQL is a great choice. If you're running a .NET-driven website, use your SQL Server. These are all fine tools. Go in peace.

But don't complain about Oracle's reliability, features, scalability, or flexibility. When you need ass-kicking database performance and you really know what you're doing, those other tools are still in the stone age.

Though it's heresy in a world of open-source advocates (of which I am one, btw), the truth is the unpleasant fact that MySQL and Postgres are still relatively crude tools compared to Oracle. Compare Oracle's superior MVCC, hierarchical/analytic queries, flashback query, fine-tuned storage/space management, support for sophisticated indexes (reverse-key being one), "tune-ability," and on and on. There may be a learning curve, but seriously, the interface in 10g is pretty nonthreatening, so even the novice has a good shot of being able to do a lot of very cool things.

If you don't need the power, that's fine, don't use it, but don't bash something you dont' understand. Can I get a witnes?

Re:C'mon, people... (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914362)

You know, this is actually a pretty good post.

While it's laudable to be rabidly open-source, the fact is that for larger, enterprise-style work, you're just going to need some heavy-hitting software, provided by a large vendor. I can see a couple of people sitting in a coffee shop debating the merits of postgres vs. DB2, but I can NOT see Deutsche Bank announcing that they're switching over to MySQL because of its suitability for that type of application. Just not going to happen, people. By the time some of the open-source dbs work out their kinks and add features, the major players are already another light year ahead.

Nothing to see here, move along.

SQL degrading towards end-of-life? (1)

Carl Rosenberger (449479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914308)

Some indicators that SQL does not have a bright future as a database interface for object-oriented programming languages:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/future/linq / [microsoft.com]

Native Queries
http://www.odbms.org/ [odbms.org]
http://www.db4o.com/ [db4o.com]

What does Oracle have to offer in this direction?

Seeing the Gorilla drive the money out of the SQL stack is a strong sign that innovation is over.

Oracle is simply increasing knowledge supply... (1)

GiorgioG (225675) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914311)

By introducing a free entry-level product, Oracle intends to get more developers and students familiar with its namesake database.

More like, intends to get more developers familiar with its namesake database to increase supply of Oracle-experienced staff and therefore lower cost.

SuSE Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914317)

Hopefully they'll support the OpenSUSE project at some point and/or the regular SuSE client... If not, guess I'm sticking with MySQL

Question (2, Informative)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914327)

Could this be a badly disguised jab at the good burgers from Sybase [sybase.com], who offer their flagship product, slightly restricted, under the name Adaptive Server Enterprise Express Edition (cough) [sybase.com] (Link takes you to the registration form) since almost a year?

In my opinion Oracle is one of the least trustworthy software vendors and I sure as hell wouldn't bank my company on them, regardless of the price they ask.

10g Express edition in response to MSDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914345)

Oracle are coming out with 10g Express edition in reponse to the long standing MSDE which is SQL 2000 desktop engine. The users can use it and redistribute it for free.
SQL 2005 is also shipping with SQL 2005 Express Edition.
I think Oracle's just looked at the success of limited functionality MSDE and decided that they want a piece too.

I am done now.

What does this mean for [...] MySQL and PostgreSQL (3, Interesting)

doedel (852791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914388)

Well, it doesn't affect them at all. And not Mr. Mendelsohn got that wrong but TFA and our /. poster.

You could download and test Oracle's DBs for free for quite a while - but only now you can use them for free in a production environment. That's clearly aimed at MS' offerings like MSDE and SQL Server Express and not at MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Also Oracle is an enterprise DB and MySQL, PostgreSQL or even MS SQL Server can not be compared to it in that regard. This also means you need trained staff to administer it - forget about just downloading and using it. Tried to get a demo of Oracle's XML Publisher working - I know what I'm talking about ;-).

So if your shop is already using Oracle's DBs this is a nice offer for the occasional small project. But for everyone else, just stay with what you know and love - whether it's MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server or something else.

Compiere ERP (1)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914397)

This could be a great boost to smaller compiere ERP [compiere.org] solutions. This is a cool GPL ERP system, but it runs exclusively on Oracle. Different portings projects is in place, all very interesting, but not production quality yet. The catch is that a lot of the system is in stored procedures etc.
Convincing a business to cough up the high price for an Oracle license to use an unknown, yet brilliant ERP solution, is tough..
This will allow us to set up Compiere for a business for the price of the hardware and consulting (much easier), and then, when they hit the 4 gb data, 1 gb ram or 1 cpu limits, the price of an oracle license is more reasonable.
Yeah, it would be nicer if it ran off of PostgreSQL or Firebrid, but it doesn't.

Death of MySQL (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 8 years ago | (#13914399)

Oracle is proceeding in a very smart fashion to eliminate MySQL, which I'm sure they see as their biggest threat. (Yes, for all your Oracle zealouts out there, Oracle can do this, and Oracle can do that, and the other thing, that MySQL can not; but for 99.9% of web based database-driven applications, MySQL works great and does everything you need.)

First, they buy up the InnoDB, which is the engine behind MySQL that offers the more advanced features (ones most likely to compete with Oracle), surely bringing an end to significant advances in the leading edge of MySQL.

Second, they offer a free alternative to get people onto Oracle.

This is very dangerous stuff for MySQL. Let's hope Oracle doesn't succeed in fully killing it.

too little.... too late. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13914403)

They are about 15 years late on this one. The only reason they do this is because they are about to fold under pressure from MySQL, Postgres, etc.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account