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Navigating the New Era of Java Licensing: Insights and Implications

Oracle's recent updates to Java licensing have stirred considerable discussion across organizations of all sizes, leading to a flurry of questions. Amidst this wave of inquiries, the aim of this blog is to dissipate the fog surrounding Java's licensing changes, offering clarity to Software Asset Management (SAM) professionals and organizational leaders alike.

Oracle's Licensing Landscape: An Overview

Historically, Oracle allowed free use of Java SE under the Oracle Binary Code License (OBCL) agreement, a legacy of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. This arrangement permitted the use of Java SE components within an organization, under specific conditions, without a licensing requirement. However, the release of Java version 11 marked a pivotal change, transitioning from the OBCL to the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) license agreement, with distinct terms especially regarding usage for data processing, business, commercial, or production purposes.

Cost Considerations for Java SE

Previously, Oracle offered commercial licenses for Java, including Java SE Advanced, Java SE Advanced Desktop, and Java SE Suite. These options, based on Named User Plus or Processor metrics, have been phased out in favor of subscription models: the Java SE Subscription and the Java SE Desktop Subscription, commencing January 2019.

Oracle JDK versus Oracle OpenJDK

With the advent of Java 11, Oracle introduced two distinct JDK builds: the Oracle JDK for non-production use with updates and support, and the Oracle OpenJDK, an open-source alternative free for any use. While functionally similar, the difference lies in the provision of security patches and updates. This shift prompts organizations to consider transitioning to OpenJDK to avoid Oracle's commercial version's fees, bearing the responsibility for regular updates to access the latest software enhancements.

Key Takeaways

The transition to Java Standard Edition version 11 and beyond signals a significant shift in Oracle's licensing strategy, emphasizing subscriptions for access to commercial features and support. This move necessitates a strategic evaluation of your organization's Java usage, considering the implications of adopting OpenJDK and the associated responsibility for continuous software updates.

In summary, Oracle's Java licensing updates present a new landscape for organizations, driving a need for informed decision-making to navigate the complexities of Java usage, support, and compliance effectively.


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