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DB2 Express: Another nail in the free database coffin?

Feb 08, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* IBM offers free version of DB2 database

Last week’s news that IBM is releasing a free version of its DB2 database software might be good news for system administrators seeking a low-cost (as in, no-cost) back-end server platform. But could the latest commercial database platform to go freebie be a bad omen for open source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL?

IBM released DB2 Express for Linux (and Windows), with support for 32-bit and 64-bit AMD processors (both single- and dual-core chips supported). IBM says it has already inked deals with Linux distributors to package the software with pre-built machines. IBM says DB2 Express will help spur development of applications running on Linux and IBM’s database platform.

IBM’s move is not the most altruistic; last year, Oracle released its 10g Express database, a free version of its commercial offering. Microsoft has also tried to stem off open-source database momentum by releasing its SQL Express Edition. This kind of forced IBM’s hand, if it wants to stay competitive at the low-end of the market.

The wild popularity of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) for building Web-based application platforms is a testament to the strength of open source databases. But with the clout of Oracle and IBM pushing their own free databases, could we see the emergence of LAIP (Linux, Apache IBM, MyPHP) or LAOP (O for Oracle)?