Late yesterday the breaking news was our 23c Free – Developer Release. Here’s the press release.

Oracle Database 23c Free – Developer Release is the first release of the next-generation Oracle Database, allowing developers a head-start on building applications with innovative 23c features that simplify development of modern data-driven apps. The entire feature set of Oracle Database 23c is planned to be generally available within the next 12 months.

And here’s the Database Blog post to introduce the features for developers.

TL;DR Watch the Movie!

Start to finish instructions and demo!

We’ve updated our VirtualBox Appliance

Go here to download.

What it has and what you need to use it

You need – at least 4 GB of RAM to run the image. That’s 4GB of RAM you’re not currently using. You’ll need at least 20 GB of disk space for the files once imported to the VM. Finally, you’ll need an x64 Pentium based piece of hardware.

You get –

  • 23c, specifically 23.2 installed with a PDB already created
  • the pdb has sample schemas and their data pre-loaded
  • ORDS 23.1 installed, configured, and running
  • HR user is REST Enabled, you can can login to SQL Developer Web
  • APEX 22.2 is installed
  • local port forwards for 8080 and 1521, so you can use your desktop database tools and browsers to work with the database

If you want to use the Oracle Linux 8.7 desktop and terminals directly, have at it! But I can say with confidence the BEST way to use this is from your host, merely connecting to the database that’s running on the VM.

The Linux Desktop

Here’s a few files to get you started, and a terminal with a few important bits of information.

What it looks like on my Mac Mini 2018 –

Believe me, it doesn’t get easier than this.


If you use SQLcl on the virtual machine, the environment is setup (via TWO_TASK) to have you login directly to the PDB. So if you want to login to the Container via

sql / as sysdba 
You’ll need to first, unset TWO_TASK

The Databases

The Container or CDB is called ‘FREE’ and the Pluggable Database or PDB is called ‘FREEPDB1.’ So connecting looks like this –

sql system/oracle@localhost:1521/freepdb1

SQL Developer Web & APEX from your Host Machine

There’s a port forward from your host to the VM on 8080. So I can simply pull up http://localhost:8080/ords/sql-developer to pull up SQL Developer Web.

HR is automatically REST Enabled on this instance. All passwords are ‘oracle’

And if I go to a SQL worksheet, I can start playing with 23c features, as discussed in the New Features Guide Docs.

There are at least 4 new 23c features shown here in my SQL and DDL.

Yes, APEX is there too!

Simply goto localhost:8080/ords or localhost:8080/ords/apex

What a SQL Developer Desktop Connection Looks Like

Service Name: freepdb1 and all passwords are ‘oracle’

What it looks like in the upcoming SQL Developer Next πŸ™‚

I know, I’m a horrible, horrible tease.

Where do we go for 23c Free – Developer Release help?

Report your feedback, questions, bugs, enhancement requests, etc on the Forums.

Give us a test case, we’ll sort it out.

The first community member to report an issue was Lukas!


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Simon Kimbrell Reply

    If anyone is struggling to login to SQL developer (button disabled) we found it was due to the VM not being able to resolve the localhost address and switching to the actual IP address worked fine. We had tried a few things before that (including exec ords.enable_schema; in case that had been missed).

    • Weird so the port forward failed on host to vm?

      I’ve never seen that before, sorry! But thanks for sharing here and your workaround.

    • Try again. I’ve got hundreds of people using it and I personally tested it on 2 machines.

  2. VM Virtual Box 7.0.6, 23c developer VM, Windows 11: SQL Developer 23.1 built-in JDK. No changes to any port forwarding configuration in VB, Tried your example above (“What a SQL Developer Desktop Connection Looks Like”) with exactly the same text. No matter what I do, I get “IO Error: An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host, connect lapse 1 ms., Authentication lapse 0 ms.”.

    I can connect with SD Web on 8080, no problem. But I need to get SD 23.1 connection working. Screen shots are in a forum post, I got one suggestion which made no difference or made it worse. Thanks.

    • Is it possible port 1521 is being used by something else on your machine?

      Trying changing the fwd from 1521 on the host to something else like 1522/3.

  3. I dont get a network connection from my host:

    C:\local\opt\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\bin>.\sql hr/oracle@localhost:1521/freepdb1

    SQLcl: Release 23.1 Production on Tue Apr 25 11:36:15 2023

    Copyright (c) 1982, 2023, Oracle. All rights reserved.

    USER = hr
    URL = jdbc:oracle:thin:@localhost:1521/freepdb1
    Error Message = IO Error: The Network Adapter could not establish the connection (CONNECTION_ID=e/u0kHgpT2+QOHeyFfIvBA==)
    Username? (RETRYING) (‘hr/*********@localhost:1521/freepdb1’?)

    The Ntwork ASdapter is set to NAT with the correct Port forwarding, but I wondewr if NAT is correct. I dont remember to have set this mode

  4. Thanks for the update, downloaded and started.
    Need the credentials to login into APEX

    Unknown workspace.
    Unknown user.
    Known password = oracle.

  5. Rajeshwaran Jeyabal Reply

    Jeff, one question about the upcoming SQL Developer Next

    the “terminal” panel in that screen shot, will give access to only SQLCL or even SQL*Plus access too?

    • Why would you want to use SQL*Plus?

      It’s a terminal you can use whatever you want, but it will be built/implemented with SQLcl in mind.

    • Rajeshwaran Jeyabal

      Got it Jeff, thanks for that.

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