If you wish to use databases, the question is whether you should use commercial or free software? The answer will differ depending on the following criteria:

  • Single user or multi-user
  • Developer competency level.
  • Size of the data to manage.
  • Number of users with simultaneous access to the database.
  • Financial capacity
  • ...

There are different free alternatives to commercial DBMS on the market, such as Oracle, SQL server, DB2, Interbase, etc. Although these DBMS are effective, they are often burdensome and expensive.

Although it is still possible for advanced users to use DBMS directly from the command line, for most DBMS free front-end client softwares are available. These programs have an easy and intuitive graphical interface (GUI) to easily access DBMS functions.

1- Firebird

In these pages, on database applications, we use Firebird DBMS linked with IBEasy+ client as front-end.

The Firebird project is the result of an open source version published in the 2000's by Borland Interbase. This DBMS operates in single-user and multi-user mode with several databases and hundreds of concurrent users. This system that is less known, wrongly, than MySQL, MariaDB, or PostgreSQL, is, however an attractive free alternative to commercial software on the market. The software is multi-platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android...

Firebird 1 Site, Firebird 2 Site

2- MySQL

Since it was acquired by Oracle in 2009, MySQL is no longer really part of the free and open source DBMS category. The software is always available at no cost, but this situation may not continue. Software development is now entirely managed by Oracle, which also provides a paid version. This software is multi-platform.

MySQL Site

3- MariaDB

After Oracle took control of MySQL, MySQL developers decided to keep it free and open source. This led to the creation of MariaDB that is managed by the MariaDB Foundation.

MariaDB is a cross-platform license with a GNU license.

This software retains, of course, what made MySQL successful, but also provides extra functionality not included in MySQL versions. MariaDB is the BDMS used, among others, by WordPress, Google, Wikipedia ...

MariaDB Site

4- PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL dates from 1996, a year before MySQL. This is free and open source software available on all major platforms, including Windows and Linux. Unlike MySQL which is developed by a company, PostgreSQL is developed by a group of companies and people who have come together in PostgreSQL Global Development Group. PostgreSQL focuses on the scalability and conformity of standards and is an object-oriented DBMS.

PostgreSQL site

5- SQLite

SQLite is a DBMS of a different type than the other DBMS referenced in these pages.
SQLite is a C language library that implements a full, fast and standalone SQL database engine. SQLite file format is stable, multi-platform and backwards compatible. SQLite is not a client-server DBMS and is mostly intended for developers.

SQLite Site