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IBM Express-C For Free

When MySQL began offering its database under an open source license, some software experts predicted the startup would start a trend. Turns out they were right.

IBM today said it is offering DB2 Express-C, a version of its database that server customers, developers and partners can download for free. The idea is to spur DB2 adoption in a highly competitive market populated by Oracle and Microsoft, as well as startups such as MySQL.

DB2 Express-C offers the same core DB2 data server in a smaller package specifically designed for use in software development.

Users can get community support for DB2 Express-C on IBM's developerWorks Web site, but they can also pay for support from IBM.

DB2 Express-C may be deployed on all systems up to 2 processor cores, and on AMD or Intel x86 with up to 2 dual-core chips. There is no limit to database size, but the maximum amount of memory supported is 4 gigabytes.

DB2 Express-C supports the Windows and Linux operating systems on various 32-bit and 64-bit processor architectures. Several Linux distributors have also announced that they will include DB2 Express-C in their Linux distributions.

Current Linux distributions validated with Express-C include Novell Open Enterprise Server 9, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 and 9, Asianux 1.0, Mandriva Corporate Server 3.0, Nitix 4.2.2a, Red Flag Advanced Server 4.1 and Ubuntu 5.04.

Clients who try DB2 and find it useful can upgrade from DB2 Express-C to any of the DB2 Universal Database editions which support larger servers or server clusters.

Express-C comes ahead of Viper, IBM's next full version of DB2. Viper is expected to handle both XML and relational data to dovetail with service-oriented architecture (SOA) distributed computing systems.

Express-C comes two months after Oracle began offering a free version of Oracle Database XE, which was created to give software developers, database administrators and students a sense of what it is like to run their applications on Oracle code.

Microsoft also offers an Express version of its SQL Server database for free.