Back before Christmas ,Oracle (a company not known for it’s largesse to mere users) was giving away a “free” copy of it’s latest database. You can find all the info here. Oracle Database 10g Express Edition Downloads . Sure it’s only the Beta release, but what isn’t these days. And what’s more there is a version for Linux as well as Windows. ( Now at about 150M to download, you really really going to have to want this puppy)
As an aside, Oracle recently tried to acquire open-source database maker MySQL, the database that powers the blog you are reading right now and probably half the internet sites out there, MySQL said NO THANKS (and it wasn’t pocket change they were offered either).
The database market is in the midst of serious changes. IBM now offers a lower-end version of its DB2 product for free, following similar moves by Microsoft and Oracle. At the same time, companies such as Ingres and EnterpriseDB are trying to build high-end open-source database packages.
Oracle already has bought two small open-source database companies–Sleepycat and InnoDB in 2005. But its open-source ambitions clearly are larger; for example, Oracle is expected to acquire open-source application server maker JBoss (an awesome open source program)..
Pretty soon we are going to need a database to keep track of what Oracle owns, is trying to own or doesn’t yet own. It might make a nice little project for that freebie.