‘Free’ is the new ‘cheap’ for software tools, CNET News.com reported on Jan 31st:
“Free entry-level products are rapidly become de rigueur in many areas of software, notably in programming tools where there are hundreds of thousands of freely available goods. On Monday, IBM introduced DB2 Express-C, a free database aimed squarely at software developers. It is a trimmed-down version of its commercial product, and IBM limits its deployment to two-processor servers.
“Oracle and Microsoft also recently introduced free versions, joining a number of existing open-source databases, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, that can be freely downloaded. The moves by the big three corporate database providers–Oracle, IBM and Microsoft–reflect some of the changing economics of the software business, where freely available open-source products are forcing established vendors to adjust the way they do business, analysts and software industry executives said.”
Note: Last November, Microsoft announced SQL Server Express, a free stripped-down version of version of SQL Server 2005. Oracle also introduced a beta of its own free offering, Oracle Database 10g Express Edition. Both editions limit usage to only a single CPU, a 4GB database and up to 1GB memory, making them suited only for development of lightweight applications.
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