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12 December 2014

Free Oracle on 64-bit Windows

Filed under: JasperReports — Tags: , , — mdahlman @ 22:53

Problem

I want to run Oracle for free on my 64-bit Windows machine.

Background

This is a relatively common problem. Oracle is the most popular database in the world. (By certain revenue measures, that is. Clearly it’s not most popular database by pure installation metrics.) Windows is the most popular OS. Nobody buys new machines with 32-bit Windows.

So the combination of the latest version of Oracle with the latest version of Windows seems tremendously useful.

Well tough luck.

Oracle Express Edition exists expressly for folks that want to get some experience with Oracle without paying. Perfect! But while Oracle 12c Enterprise Edition was released in June 2013, there has been no corresponding release of Express Edition as of January 2014. Express is stuck back at 11g. Maybe 11g is good enough to get started. Great! But it doesn’t support 64-bit Windows. No, seriously. (I have to add that ‘seriously’ comment because… seriously? Cutting out enterprise features makes perfect sense to me. But preventing it from running on current OSes just seems ridiculous.) Lots of folks want Oracle XE on 64-bit Windows. Well tough luck.

I posted one year ago to stackoverflow.com. It seemed time to expand this answer to a more detailed article.

Solutions

Use a VM

  • VirtualBox software
  • VirtualBox VMs with Oracle pre-installed
    “Database App Development VM” is a good choice. Everything is pre-configured, and you can be up and running with Oracle extremely quickly. Oracle is running on Oracle Linux… but it’s running on Oracle Linux on VirtualBox on 64-bit Windows. Bonus benefit: your more fortunate friends and colleagues running Mac OS X are free to run run Oracle on Oracle Linux on VirtualBox on their Macs, so everyone can use the same thing.

Install on 64-bit anyway

I’ll at least say this for Oracle: they don’t prevent you from installing on Windows x64. With sufficient elbow grease you can make Oracle XE work on 64-bit Windows.

Develop Only

If your goal is just to test something out or to get familiar with Oracle, then Oracle Enterprise Edition is your solution. It’s free “only for the purpose of developing, testing, prototyping and demonstrating your application”. In lots of situations this is all that you need. And it’s available with a 64-bit Windows installer.

I’m surprised that Oracle doesn’t make these facts easier to track down.

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