Oracle Express (XE)

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.

10 thoughts on “Oracle Express (XE)

  1. I just love the fact that the only version available at the moment is the Linux x86 version and that it comes in an RPM.

    Looks like it’s time for me to buy some more hard drives :)

  2. The person who said it is mysql rebadged is just wrong, they can’t have looked at the product or understood what they were looking at.

    If you look under the hood (which I did) you can clearly see that it is a scaled down version of the regular product. Has the same directory layout and services etc. Produces the normal ORA and TNS messages. The listener is there and seems to act the way it normally does, commands like lsnrctl status and lsnrctl service work. Sqlplus works fine, so you can always get a command prompt and go in and do sql. I really don’t think anyone would bother to go to the effort of making mysql do these things. The htmldb interface is very nice, it looks a little different than the 10g one I am used to seeing on the real deal.

    I almost forgot to say, it does support foreign keys, sequences, views, stored procedures, triggers etc. I imported some stuff from export from a real server and it all worked fine.

  3. The Oracle DBA,

    I think you’ll find that Paul’s comment was in jest. No one would seriously think that the Oracle developers would go to the effort of rebadging mySQL, simply to release it as a cutdown version of Oracle 10g. My comment was simply following on with the humour that Paul started, as the foreign key point has always been an easy target for criticism of mySQL.


  4. Derek,

    Yes, I suspect that mySQL will run on more operating systems. However, with Oracle XE available for Linux, no doubt it will work on a BSD based system (possibly with a little effort). Windows is covered which takes care of the application developers, which is handy too.


  5. With respect to OracleXE running on “Linux” and therefore by extension a BSD system, etc. you may be disappointed to learn that it most likely wont install.

    Whilst in theory it “should” work on most, if not all, Linux and Unix variants – the installer actually checks the version and “brand” of Linux that you are using. Considering that the full version of 10g only works on Redhat EL 3 & 4, Suse 9, UnitedLinux 1 and AsianLinux (??) I doubt that you will be able to get OracleXE running on anything else. Unless of course they have disabled this for XE to increase the market penetration.

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