Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oracle DB - Personal vs Express

After all these years, there is still a lot of confusion about Personal Edition and Express Edition capabilities.

First of all, the Personal Edition (PE), Enterprise Edition (EE), Standard Edition (SE) and Standard Edition One (SE-1) are all found in the same download. The choice of Edition is made at install time, not download time. Fire up the installer and the Edition will be available either in a drop-down menu or in a radio-button list. (On the other hand, Express Edition, or XE, is a separate download from

Second, there is no difference in the installed software between SE and SE-1, so the same selection is used for either one. The difference is in the license agreement as paraphrased on page 12 of the Software Investment Guide at

When to choose PE or XE?

Personal Edition is *the most powerful version* for the price. It is a single user license of the Enterprise Edition with nearly all options and features turned on. It is designed for Developers who need access to Oracle Support.

Express Edition is the smallest version. It is light weight (under 300M download instead of 1-2GB download) and has the same SQL and PL/SQL engine as the Enteprise Edition, BUT it does not include Java in the database so advanced things like Java Stored Procedures and related Oracle-supplied functionality are not possible. It also has limits in how much data may be stored (4GB). That means it can only store about 20 years of accounting data for a typical under-25 person company.

Express Edition is IDEAL for a beginner to get used to developing using an Oracle database. However, one can NOT learn to administer an Oracle DB on Express Edition and therefore it is useless for a person who wishes to learn how to be a DBA.

Personal Edition also does not permit Management Packs to be licensed. Therefore performance tuning, diagnostics, etc. are not technically available. For DBA practice, Personal Edition is also not ideal - one really should install the Enterprise Edition to learn about those tools.

I really wish Oracle would rename Personal Edition to Developer Edition

... and make it available on Linux as well.


Gary Myers said...

I did hear (admittedly many years ago) that Personal Edition did have real users in the Science field, where individuals did have a need of heavy data processing capabilities.
Not sure whether that has been taken over by more specialized software, but I'm still not in favour of a rename to Developer edition.

I'd love a Linux version of PE too

Gasparotto Nicolas said...

Without saying that beeing licensed for PE is an open the door of the patches/patchsets which do not exist for XE.


Forbrich said...

Gary - I'm intrigued why you don't want the name changed. Or, at least not to Developer Edition.

My point is that too many people think PE is a subset of SE1 which is causing people to shy away from the version. And I suspect the lack of market is a major part of the reason why Oracle does not give us a 'PE for Linux'.

Forbrich said...

Yes Nicolas - that is the big reason I purchased PE in the first place.

However, I have since started to use it as a development platform as well as the 'corporate DB' for my 1-person shop. (I have 2 PE licenses. LOL)

Benoit said...


i want to know if PE licence is always available if i change Oracle version ?

Must i buy an other licence or is it possible to change version without ?


Fuzzy GreyBeard said...

Benoit - You can purchase the PE license, but that basically locks you into the version you download.

If you want to get updates, or patches, you still need to purchase Support. But at 22% of US$400, the annual support is not too high.

I purchased the PE license at Oracle 9.0, and have upgraded - legally - to 12.1 on one of my machines, and to on the other license.

The neatest thing is that as of 11.2.0, for Linux, the Personal Edition IS the Enterprise Edition.