University receives A$415k of fee-free software

When the University of Newcastle in Australia canvassed vendors to replace its outdated database management programs, it didn't expect to receive A$415,000 (US$310,000) worth of free software licences.

To refocus on product rather than procedure, the university needed to replace its raw SQL databases and restricted freeware management applications with retail software used by professionals.

Daniel Conway, technical advisor at the University of Newcastle School of Design, Communication and IT, said the 108 licences covered the SQL manager Toad for Oracle (expert DBA module) which replaced the limited freeware version students used for their database and programming courses.

"The freeware program is stripped down from the retail version as it has reduced functionality," Conway said. "We wanted to accelerate students' learning [of SQL and database management] by focusing more on the wider details such as why particular methods are used as well as on the final product."

With Toad for Oracle experience, the university approached the program's designer, Quest, for a solution.

Quest regional sales manager Don Williams said the company supplied Toad for Oracle at no cost as it was for educational rather than commercial reasons.