GeOxygene aims at providing an open framework which implements OGC/ISO specifications for the development and deployment of geographic (GIS) applications. It is a open source contribution of the COGIT laboratory at the IGN (Institut Géographique National), the French National Mapping Agency. It is released under the terms of the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) license.
GeOxygene is based on Java and open source technologies and provides users with an extensible object data model (geographic features, geometry, topology and metadata) which implements OGC specifications and ISO standards in the geographic information domain. The support of the Java interfaces developped by the open source GeoAPI project is planned.
Data are stored in a relational DBMS (RDBMS) to ensure a rapid and reliable access to the system but users do not have to worry about any SQL statements: they model their applications in UML and code in Java. Mapping between object and relational environments is performed with open source software. At present, OJB is supported and the mapping files for the storage of geographic information in Oracle or PostGIS are provided to users.
I Hope this proves to be useful for you. If you are new to GIS, check out the Learn2Map GIS Tutorial and Atlas. We have more free GIS software available and there is plenty of free data and shapefiles that will work with these programs. More to come!