If you want to start with developing free software on old technology, you can download the Oracle Database 10g Express Edition.
Actually, Oracle 10g is more than 5 years old and it is the only version available as Express Edition, 11g has not been released at the time of the writing, and no patch has been released, not even for the worst bugs or security breaches.
Most probably you will not want to run this for your sensitive data.
If you are serious about Oracle Development, you could download the Enterprise Edition for free, and get the Personal Edition on Oracle Shop for support and patches.
Last Friday 13th August, a news/rumor (not an official announcement) was posted on the opensolaris forum, apparently OpenSolaris has been cancelled in favor of an Oracle Solaris 11 Express. Not sure if it will come in the same format as the database XE, but this does not sound to please the community.
After the Oracle sues Google, it does not make Oracle very popular in the opensource community at the very moment
a google search on oracle and mysql will returns concerns about the future of MySQL. When SUN bought mysql, the enthousiasm was also not unanimous in the opensource community. But now it really need repositioning.
I was just reading : http://www.mysql.com/products/enterprise/unlimited.html
Deploy an unlimited number of MySQL Enterprise Servers for the price of
a single CPU of Oracle Enterprise Edition
Today, there are over 5,000 organizations that spend more than $1Million on
License fees to Oracle, Microsoft, Sybase and IBM. In many cases, that’s money
that doesn’t need to be spent. Not only does open source save money, it
provides an architecture that is more scalable for modern web-based applications.
No wonder open source software has become a strategic initiative for CIOs & CFOs
in many organizations.
Clearly this need repositioning. (For Oracle, money need to be spent )
On the redundant offering MySQL and Oracle Database Express Edition, I could imagine Oracle will get rid of the free edition. Oracle seems to put effort on not releasing any database patch or security patch and the amount of features as well as the cpu/memory limitation are just way to annoying.
This is why I believe MySQL will survive XE.
Pure guess of course…
REMINDER: Premier Support for Oracle Database 9.2 ends in July 2007 The 9iR2 premier support just ended.
Now the 9i is under Extended Support. The good news, it is free until July 2008!
First year Extended Support fee waived for Oracle9i Database Release 9.2