Friday, April 04, 2008

KDB is Free for Personal Use

I haven't blogged in about a month ... I have a ton to say, but I have just been too busy with the new employees who have joined my Complex Event Processing team (welcome Hanno, Scott and Feng). But this great news from Tenerife Joel is just too good to pass up.

On this blog a few month ago, we got on the case of KX Systems for making it virtually impossible to download, evaluate and learn if you were not a member of a large financial institution. Several people commented here that they really wanted to check out KDB, but they did not know how to get access to it.

I guess that Simon and Niall have seen the light, and are now making KDB available for personal use.

I would like to take all of the credit for this revelation, but I suspect that one of the motivating factors for KX Systems was the free, unrestricted availability of Coral8 for personal use. Any random person can download a personal-use, single-CPU version of the Coral8 server and development studio for no charge .... this version does not have any restrictions nor any time limits (are you listening, Aleri?).

During our evaluation of CEP systems, we found that Coral8 was the only company that did not put up any barriers to evaluation. Aleri had an annoying time limit. Apama wouldn't even let us download anything without having to run through their marketing gauntlet. Streambase directly gave us a copy of their product, so I am not sure if Streambase has any barriers to evaluation.

All of the CEP vendors face the conundrum of giving out unrestricted copies of their software vs fully qualifying prospective customers. I can understand this from the standpoint of support ... your technical support staff has a limited amount of time, and it usually has to be spent supporting the larger institutions, the ones who will most likely be dishing out several hundred thousand dollars for a license. But, today's independent hacker might be tomorrow's corporate developer .... and goodwill goes a long way.

So, congrats to Simon and Niall from KX. Here's hoping that a new generation of KDB developers will come out of this effort, and as a result, a wider set of tools is available for KDB.

©2008 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Niall said...

Hi Marc,

Back in May of last year, at our international user conference at Dromoland castle (see http://www.kx.com/kx2007 for some pics), Arthur Whitney promised we'd release a free version of kdb+ for non-commercial use.

We wanted to wait until we had a few pieces in place. For example, an important one for new users of the technology is Jeffry Borror's book "q for mortals" which became available on amazon.com this week.

During the year we've made code.kx, our community site which includes access to a kdb+ session, available to a large number of developers who contacted us wishing to learn the technology. This week we've made that freely available to anonymous users with no need to go via us for an account.

We haven't restricted the capabilities of the personal edition of kdb+ in any way besides the fact that it is a 32-bit version only. As you know, our customers regularly deal with massive in-memory databases, historical databases, and event processing applications with our 64-bit version across the range of supported operating systems. Code developed with the personal edition will work perfectly in the commercial 64 bit version so we hope developers will be encouraged to gain experience with the personal edition and then join folks like you building fun large-scale systems on wallstreet.

We're always happy to have more suggestions on how best to serve our customers and community members - you can let us know on your blog or any of our other usual channels.

niall