Oracle intends to release a free version of its database, a reaction to the growing competitive pressure from low-end open-source databases.
The database heavyweight on Tuesday is expected to announce the beta release of Oracle 10g Express Edition (Oracle Database XE), which will be generally available by the end of the year. It is targeted at students, small organizations and software vendors that could embed the Oracle database with an application.
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.
The new low-end edition is aimed squarely at free and open-source alternatives to Oracle's namesake database, said Andrew Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Oracle's server technologies division.
Open-source databases have caught on steadily in popularity over the past few years with corporate customers and Web developers.
MySQL is the most popular open-source database among developers, according to a recent Evans Data study. IBM earlier this month released a free version of its own DB2 database as part of a PHP development package. And Microsoft intends to ship a free version of SQL Server 2005, called Express, next month.