Oracle Database 10g Express Edition Beta Release is now available for download, from OTN:
What is this new release, you can find more information on the Oracle XE page, that I quote:
Oracle Database XE is a great starter database for:
Developers working on PHP, Java, .NET, 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
This first contact with the latest release of the Oracle database is really great, the 150Mb download is really quick...
The installation is really easy... I have created a viewlet driving you through the installation.
As you can see in the viewlet, at the end of the installation you have a running database that you can fully administer from your browser, you can also create CRUD application using HTMLDB... And obviously you can connect your J2EE application server to it and start creating applications...