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Monday, February 13, 2006

Oracle XE Beta 3 Released

I just noticed Oracle released the 3rd edition of the Oracle 10g Express edition, the 'free as in bear' rdbms (10 feb 2006). Just I was about to rejoice in the fact that Oracle seems to be continuing to release it's excellent product (I really think the Oracle RDBMS is a great product quality- and featurewise) I noticed a few interesting lines in the License:

BETA TRIAL LICENSE: Oracle Corporation ("Oracle") grants to you a no-charge trial license to use the pre-production beta version of the Oracle Database Express Edition software, documentation and product training (the "Software")...

Which is great, Thank you! It continues:

...provided to you by Oracle solely for evaluation purposes until March 31, 2006. Either party may terminate the license for the Software at any time. Upon termination, you shall cease using the Software...

Huh? Evaluation purposes? End of March?!...But that's just a little more than one month from now!

...You may not use the Software for any commercial or production purpose...[...]...You shall not: [....] (b) use the Software for commercial timesharing, rental, or service bureau use; ...

Well, this just tops it off. When they first released this product, I was led to believe you could deploy this on a server, and even embed it inside your own applications. It could've been my own wishful thinking, but I really wasn't aware all these strings were attached. I can't remember Tom Kyte's podcast on XE either. Maybe I'm allowed only as long as I don't charge money for it?

But what if the product I'm selling is not itself powered by a database? Suppose I'm selling a database development tool, and I've got all this documentation and samples based on an Oracle database. Am I allowed to ship my product on a commercial basis including OracleXE? After all, I'm not selling a rdbms here.

And what about a scenario like this: suppose I run a consultancy agency. I maintain a website where my customers can monitor progress on certain projects I'm conducting on their behalf. Naturally, I will charge my customers for the consultancy - that's my job. And as a service, they obtain the right to access my site to monitor the progress on their projects. Can or can I not power my website with OracleXE?

It's a big puzzle, and I'm a bit disappointed that I am going to have to solve it. Especially since I have no interest in making illegal use of the software. Damn.


Thomas Kyte said...

That would be the license for the BETA software. We don't want you distributing BETA software.

The production license will not have any time restrictions, as stated.

You evaluate BETA software, we go to town with production software.

sorry for the confusion.

Roland Bouman said...


Thanks for the reply.

(Bit of topic here, but I feel I really need to write this: I think it's really great you found the time to drop me a line here too, especially since you already provided me with an answer regarding the BETA License in the Oracle XE discussion forum.
I'm a faithful reader of the 'Ask Tom' column in Oracle Magazine and I admire your knowledge, your programming skills, and your gift to write well about these - I admire them a great deal. Thanks you for all those columns :)

Yes that's right: I am referring to the BETA trial license.

I can see why Oracle restricts usage of a beta version for production purposes. Up to a degree, protecting your users is one aspect of the quality Oracle wants to pursue.

I guess the XE release must be a challenge for Oracle too - the entire product is potentially exposed to an entirely different crew of users, all of them with their own expectations, not to mention the fact that XE is an entire new build.

So thanks again - I'm eagerly awaiting the production release. I believe it's scheduled at the end of februari.