i don't know why anyone expected otherwise. oracle, is oracle, is oracle.
From 8i onward Oracle let hobbyists have a free RTU for the database on Windows and Linux.
From 10i onward they even added a few other platforms (HP-UX, OS X).
First of all, let's get the basics out of the way. Oracle the COMPANY generates revenues on sales and services from Oracle the PRODUCT. If you want to see how that works for any company you just go to their main webpage -> about -> investor relations -> financial statements (like 10-K). Here you can see how much they make on products and services, what they spend on sales, r&d, and finally net income. Oracle the COMPANY made 23.1 Billion in revenue in 2009. This is why Oracle is in business; make money from selling and servicing Oracle the PRODUCT. This is so important to Oracle that their flagship product has the same name as the company.
Now, Oracle the COMPANY bought Sun not because Oracle the COMPANY thought Sun products were awesome, but because a lot of customers of Oracle the COMPANY ran Oracle the PRODUCT on Sun platforms. IBM was going to buy Sun and switch those customers to DB2, which would have lost Oracle the COMPANY revenue (remember this is why Oracle the COMPANY is in business). So, Oracle the COMPANY bought Sun to keep Sun's customers that ran Oracle the PRODUCT. NOT because Oracle want's to get into server sales, but because those servers ran Oracle the PRODUCT and provided revenue.
keeping that in mind, let's look at licenses for Oracle the PRODUCT.
Oracle provides Oracle Express for the following use cases:
* Developers working on PHP, Java, .NET, XML, and Open Source applications
* DBAs who need a free, starter database for training and deployment
* Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and hardware vendors who want a starter database to distribute free of charge
* Educational institutions and students who need a free database for their curriculum
they do not provide an explicit 'Hobbiest license' in the manner of DEC's OpenVMS license for instance. A hobbiest may use it to for DB of 150mb or less; not a very interesting DB. Remember, Oracle the COMPANY is in the business of making revenue from Oracle the PRODUCT; this is so important that Oracle the COMPANY has the same name as Oracle the PRODUCT. Therefore, when you see Oracle the COMPANY provide Oracle the PRODUCT for free for the specific use case supporting selling more Oracle the PRODUCT, you should see that there is nothing in there that says anything about giving Solaris away for free. Why? because getting new Solaris customers is not important. All the important Solairs customers that run Oracle the PRODUCT that will ever exist, exist now. They already belong to Oracle the COMPANY.
SO, why do i make the distinction about COMPANY and PRODUCT so much? Because with Oracle, it's not just Oracle the COMPANY
or Oracle the PRODUCT
. With Oracle, it's Oracle the BUSINESS
. Oracle's business is selling Oracle.