On Friday 28th, Oracle announced the release of their new “free” Oracle Express (XE) product on the Oracle Technical Network.
Oracle Express is targeting the hobbyist, developer and people new to the database world. With that in mind, Oracle have Windows & Linux binaries for it. The release of Oracle XE places it in direct competition to other cut down databases on the market, such as Microsoft’s SQL Server powered MSDE and mySQL. For a long time, Oracle has been targeting enterprise and government environments, and has been doing a fine job of it. It would appear, the cogs have been turning and Oracle have realised the new turf war is below that level.
Oracle XE is powered by the same internals and implements the same API’s that Oracle 10g Standard and above support. The difference between XE and its big brother, are the limitations that Oracle have imposed. For instance, the database is only available for use on single processor machines, limits user data to 4Gb and can only address 1Gb of system memory. If not to throw down the gauntlet, these restrictions fall directly in line with Microsoft’s new SQL Server Express 2005.
It is no surprise that Oracle haven’t released it under the GPL, however the license for it does have certain GPL characteristics. Oracle Express is available for everyone to use and a developer is free to embed it into his own application and distribute it freely.
Competition in the market place is a good thing; I think everyone should be excited about the news.