What's a Great General Use, Database Program That's FREE?

What’s a great, free, general use, database program?
Preferrably one that can organize entries by an indefinite, and large number of characteristics, (date, subject, author, etc.).
And where can I download it?

thanks for your suggestions,

You one over which you have the greatest control? Either mySQL (has a Windows edition) or PostgreSQL (Linux).

Or are you talking about a pre-made database program like a library catalog system?

What are you going to use it for. Oracle is actually a free download for the whole thing. It is perfectly legal to use it for learning*. However if you do plan on using it for actual data storage purposes you are supposed to get a license, and it is most definatly not free.

*At least to the best of my knowledge, make sure you double check the agreement to be sure.

You can also get the Microsoft Database Engine (MSDE) from Microsoft free of charge. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/sql/.

I’m looking to do some studying and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could harvest my notes into a very usable and reusable form?”
Ideally, I’d be able to search through my notes for key words too.

There’s a database included in the free OpenOffice.org suite, too, but I don’t know what inherent limitations or compatibility problems might be involved.

I second MySQL. You can also find plenty of free utiliies (such as graphic-interface clients) on their website

Dan Abarbanel

How about a guide to using database programs? Any great suggestions, (w/ links)?

Learn some SQL:
that’s good for all relational databases.

SimonX You say you want to hold your notes in the database in a searchable format. Oracle (it’s the one I know) has a CLOB datatype that can hold scads of text but I wouldn’t recommend Oracle for personal use because it’s a monster.

mySQL guys, does mySQL have an equivalent datatype?

It does sound like there ought to be a specialised app to do what you’re looking for. Go Google.

CLOB datatype?

yes - look at the size (2^32) of the LONGTEXT type

Dan Abarbanel

Yes, the BLOB type, which subdivides into tinyblob, blob, medium blob, and longblob.

Can the various BLOB fields be indexed and/or do a pattern search using wildcards?

SimonX Sorry diving in the deep end a bit.

Noone Special’s links might help. To store a large amount of text you would (in Oracle) use a CLOB Character Large Object column, I think it can hold up to 4Gig. In order to store images or other binary stuff you’d need a BLOB Binary Large Object.
The Oracle CLOB does support text searches so I’d guess MySQL does too.

You can index BLOBS but I don’t know about pattern matching, it wouldn’t make sense for most binary files (bmp,jpeg,gif).

It occurs to me that I might be a bit behind the times. If you’re storing primarily notes/essays/articles that is, documents, they could be held (or at least be made available) as XML. This would allow text searches while allowing formatting (I was thinking in terms of storing raw text which is a bit crude). A quick Google for MySQL-XML tools brought up UNIX stuff but the support is there.

I’ll duck out and hand over to the MySQL guys.

You could try “Ability Office” that has a Microsoft Access compatible database included:


thanks a great deal.

I’ll just have to figure out what xml is.

Thanks thanks

I had to make a MySQL database for my last job. Only problem was that I’d never really messed with databases before. I found the optimal (and free) solution in my case was to use PHP as a frontend to my database. It can get a little hairy at times, but the learning curve isn’t terribly steep.

Once I’d written all the PHP into HTML documents, I was able to input, delete, list, search for, etc, etc, database entries all from my web browser. It took a bit of reading to get everything straight, but it was worth it. Check out this site for various programs to make your life easier with this stuff, plus tutorials on PHP. Many of the tutorials deal with integrating MySQL with PHP, so it should prove a helpful resource to you.

XML is extended mark up language.

There’s a tutorial on it on this site, and includes a brief example or two of what it is actually useful for:

but I think, if you’re going to do web formatting & MySQL accessing, you’re better off using PHP as suggested by neutron star. The same site also has a tutorial on PHP & one on using PHP/MySQL together:

I’d recommend MySQL as your free database, for the reasons everyone else has said - you’ll learn all the useful SQL stuff anyway using it & it is genuinely free, rather than springing you with a nasty surprise of a licence fee, and it’s very widely used, it could be a useful skill/resume addition.

This is quite a bit more than what I anticipated. Thanks. I’ve just started to wade through this.
Thanks some more.

If you just want to store notes, why not just put them in directories in the file system and use the text search function? It should be fast enough, and you keep your documents in a native format for ease of use.