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Oracle has announced a free version of the 10G “express” version of their database:
The latest edition is the same as other databases in Oracle’s lineup but is limited in usage. It can only run servers with one processor, with 4GB of disk memory and 1GB of memory. Oracle on Friday offered a beta version of the new database for Windows and Linux on its Oracle Technology Network Web site.
This is a good move on Oracle’s behalf. Many open-source engineers and programmers use MySQL or PostgreSQL merely because Oracle is cost-prohibitive. They never have the opportunity to learn or use it at all — whether or not the performance justifies the cost of the full-fledged product. This could go a long way towards helping Oracle lure back some of the market share currently being eroded by the OSS RDBMSes out there. But will it be able to compete with them? MySQL 5.0 was just released with an impressive list of added features that narrows the gap between MySQL and what Oracle has to offer.