The ever generous Oracle is to release a free version of its database. A beta release of Oracle 10g Express Edition (Oracle Database XE) is seemingly on its way, aimed at students, small organizations and software vendors that could embed the Oracle database with an application. It is, of course, limited in usage, and can only utilise one system processor, 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.