Get going with Oracle Database 23c Free image

Get going with Oracle Database 23c Free

A new major Oracle Database release is a special occasion. I joined Oracle in May 1994 just after the Oracle7 release (December 1993) although I worked with Oracle6 for a long time after that. I remember the launch of Oracle 8 (with OO support!) in 1996 and the excitement of later releases up to 12c. Then the period of 18, 19, 20 – oh, no 20 after all – and 21 (innovation release) that did not generate as much energy for me. And now with 23c it seems like once again there is something special going on. I was not personally involved in the beta program this time. I had heard some bits and pieces – for example from Gerald Venz’s presentation at DOAG – but when a few weeks ago the 23c announcements hit the wires I felt a familiar excitement. Many new features that are valuable, intriguing, long overdue or plain fun. And trying them out, testing my interpretation against the actual software and sharing my findings is something I am really looking forward to.


As a first step, this article describes how to get going at all – and in the easiest way possible – with the Oracle Database 23c Release. The Free edition to be exact, the developer release that does not yet have all functionality. And that can be used for free. Read Gerald Venzl’s introduction to this Free edition :

“Oracle Database 23c Free – Developer Release is a new, free offering of the industry-leading Oracle Database that enterprises worldwide rely on every day. It can be downloaded straight from the Internet with no user account or license click-through requirements, enabling simple and fast access to the world’s only converged database that supports all data models and workload types. Oracle Database 23c Free – Developer Release is packaged for ease of use and a full-featured experience, making it the perfect entry-level database for anyone who wants to build and run data-driven apps. Its built-in upward compatibility with Oracle Database Enterprise Edition and Oracle Database cloud services ensures that users can move to any other Oracle Database offering anytime.”

As you may have seen in other article where I describe how to get started with a specific technology, I am a fan of Gitpod. With Gitpod, I (and so can you) can create an ephemeral workspace somewhere in the Gitpod cloud. It runs Visual Studio Code on Ubuntu, has Docker and many language runtime included and comes with 8 GB RAM and 30GB storage. 50 hours per month for free. A workspace runs of a definition in the form of a Git repository – often a GitHub repo.

I will use a Gitpod workspace, use the Docker container image for Oracle Database 23c and upgrade a Gitpod workspace definition for Oracle Database 21c XE to this 23c release.

Gitpod Workspace for Oracle Database 23c Free

Long story short: open this link: to start the Gitpod workspace. After 5-7 minutes – the workspace is available with the Oracle Database 23c Free instance running and accessible through SQLcl and the Oracle Database explorer plugin in VS Code. Apart from opening that link – and waiting a few minutes – you need not do anything.


When the workspace starts, it will spend a few minutes downloading the Oracle Database 23c Free container image.


When the pull is complete, the container is run.


The database is available and can be accessed from within the container (for example: docker exec -it 23cfree sqlplus sys/TheSuperSecret1509! as sysdba) or from outside the container. SQLcl is installed in the workspace and it can be used to connect to the CDB (SID = free) or PDB (SID = FREEPDB1) – using:

alias sql=”/workspace/gitpod-oracle-database-23c-free/sqlcl/bin/sql”
sql DEV/DEV_PW@localhost:1521/FREEPDB1


VS Code comes with the Oracle Database Explorer plugin installed and preconfigured. You can easily browse the database:


A first impression of a 23c feature:image

A select SYSDATE? A statement as old as the Oracle Database itself? Yes. Because this select does not require that infamous DUAL thing!

Of course it is peanuts compared to all the serious features this release has to offer. On which I intend to write more articles in the near future.

For now you have very easy access to a live Oracle Database 23c Free environment – by clicking a single link (and waiting a few minutes). As with all Gitpod workspaces: they can be stopped and restarted. And they can be shared for concurrent multi-user access.

Have fun and happy learnings.


GitHub Repository with Gitpod Workspace definition for Oracle Database 23c Free –

Blog article Oracle 23c Free Docker, APEX & ORDS all in one simple guide – Up and running with APEX in 23c Matt Mulvaney –  this article provides a clear instruction for going from zero to a running APEX & ORDS on Oracle Database 23c Free environment. Very useful!

Oracle Database Free Release Quick Start – 

Oracle Container Registry –Database Repositories  – Oracle Database Free – this page provides details on the container image for the database and how to connect to it once it is running.

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