Free DB2 (as in free keg)

18 November 2005 » DB2, System administration

This just came in over the RSS wire. It makes for a nice introduction to the lower end of the DB2 product line. IBM may offer free DB2 database.

The first DBMS product I used as a Web developer was MySQL, and then on to DB2 as I started developing Java applications (with some light experience in Oracle and MS SQL Server for small scale freelance projects).

One of the toughest parts of that transition was learning and taking advantage of all the new possibilities that DB2 offered. At first I was frustrated by the lack of things such as AUTO_INCREMENT and the LIMIT clause and I expected them to be available in DB2. Of course, I soon learned that DB2 offers the GENERATE AS IDENTITY and FETCH X ROWS ONLY constructs for similar purposes and that the LIMIT clause available in MySQL is not an SQL standard (in fact, I think it was added as a hack by Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP).

Anyway, I found the transition to DB2 hard originally, as whenever I’m learning a new technology or platform, I like to install it at home or apply it to a personal project to get a feel for it. This was never really possible with DB2. However, the contribution of Cloudscape, as Derby, to the Apache Software Foundation last year removed a hurdle to this, as the DB2 API was now freely available to experiment with, since they share an SQL interface (the idea being that once you’ve used Cloudscape, upgrading to DB2 will not require application code changes).

So, it’s excellent to hear that this free version of DB2 is in the making. Allowing developers to experiment and deploy prototypes goes a long way towards acquiring developer mindshare.


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