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Java Licensing

What is Java Licensing?

A Java license outlines the rights of developers who use the Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) to create and deploy applications. Oracle provides both paid and open-source licensing for the JDK. 

The most current version of Oracle’s Java license is the Oracle Technology Network License Agreement (OTNLA) for the Java SE Universal subscription, which is the product. This license requires users to purchase a Java SE subscription if they are using the Oracle JDK in specific situations. It replaces the legacy Java SE Subscription and Java Desktop licenses previously made available. The company made Oracle Java licensing changes to simplify how organizations tracked and managed their licenses. They can now subscribe to a single license and gain access to Java across servers, desktops, and cloud environments.   

Businesses should account for the difference when determining their monthly budget for Java subscription costs. Remember that contractors, agents, and temporary employees also count when calculating costs. With that in mind, businesses may be better off adopting the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK) with a distribution like Azul

Oracle’s previous pricing model was based on named users and processor counts. Businesses also had to pay up-front costs plus additional fees for yearly support. Under the new Oracle Java pricing structure, enterprises pay a monthly payment based on the number of users, including part-time employees and contractors, even those who don’t use Java. 

The price of Java licensing varies depending on several factors. If an organization wants to create Java applications for commercial use, it will need to purchase an Oracle Java SE Universal subscription. 

If an organization with a head count of 15,000 total employees and contractors wanted to provide Java licensing to all of them, they would pay a total of $123,750 per month, which comes to $1,485,000 per year. 

Learn more about the January 23, 2023 Oracle Java SE pricing change with our FAQ page.

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How does Java licensing work?

Java licensing defines the terms under which businesses can use the technology for building, using, and distributing applications built with the technology. The terms of Java licensing vary depending on the version used. 

For example, commercial licenses let businesses create and distribute software applications with Java. Companies must pay a fee back to Oracle to use Java in this way. Personal licenses are typically used by those who use Java for private projects, learning, or other non-commercial use.   

Another option for businesses and users is OpenJDK. Java developers can access an open-source version of Java SE to create stable Java products. They can obtain an OpenJDK license under the GNU GPLv2. Many organizations rely on OpenJDK distributions and solutions like Azul Platform Core to build Java applications. 

When should enterprises use Java licensing?

Enterprises typically use Java to create internal applications or to build commercial products. Companies that use Java for the former purpose do not have to pay for a license. 

That way, they avoid infringing on Java property rights while maintaining access to timely software updates. However, many companies also use Java to develop internal business tools using a personal license, so they don’t have to pay the typical Java licensing fees.  

Businesses need a valid Java license to use Java within cloud environments like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Having Java licensing squared away ensures that companies never find themselves out of compliance with Java’s licensing terms, which can bring the risk of legal consequences. 

What steps should an enterprise take to obtain Java licensing?

Companies looking to use Java internally can download Oracle JDK 8 through 11 from the Oracle site. They can also obtain a copy under the Java SE OTN license agreement. For companies needing a commercial arrangement, look at the specific needs. From there, businesses can contact the Oracle sales team for pricing information or to set up a contract.  

Companies need to work out the terms of their agreement, like how much the organization would pay each month, support options, and other elements essential to their business. Alternatively, businesses can explore using a platform like Azul that uses the OpenJDK framework. Organizations with many business users can save a lot of money while maintaining complete control over the applications they develop. 

Why is Java licensing important?

A valid Java license ensures developers comply with any legal requirements for using Java technology. Users also receive technical support and regular updates that keep their applications secure and stable, especially those requiring a lot of uptime. In addition, Java licensing impacts how compatible Java applications are with other hardware and software systems.   

Should my organization upgrade Java licensing if we run Oracle JDK 8 or 11? 

Currently, businesses can continue running Oracle JDK 8 and 11 without interruption. However, if a company wishes to update, a Java SE Universal subscription is the only Java licensing option available. 

How do the changes to Java licensing affect my current products?

The new Java SE Universal subscription supports enterprise applications JavaFX, Java Web Start, or Applets. Oracle has promised to continue support for commercial Java SE 8 subscriptions through 2030. However, public updates stopped back in 2019. If a company currently holds Java SE Advanced or Java SE Suite licensing, support will continue as usual. There’s no need to upgrade to a Java SE Universal subscription. 

Learn more from Azul CEO Scott Sellers’ blog: Oracle’s New Java Pricing Model Is Like Cold Coffee – Send It Back

What are the challenges associated with getting a Java license?

Users of the product should understand the terms of their current Java licensing before making changes. For example, switching to the new Java SE Universal subscription could cost more if a company has thousands of users under Named User Plus licensing and Processing licenses. Businesses might want to consult a Java platform provider capable of offering better savings with an Oracle JDK alternative

What risks are associated with Java licensing?

One of the biggest risks that come with Java licensing is new changes that might come along. If a version of Java gets downgraded, applications a company built with a previous version may no longer be compatible with other systems or software.  

While business growth is great, that can bring the need to expand Java access to new users. That means more money gets spent on monthly licensing costs under a Java SE Universal subscription license. Failing to maintain a current commercial Java licensing agreement can lead to a lack of technical support and essential updates at a critical juncture. 

How does Azul help with Java licensing?

Java licensing costs can add up quickly as a business grows. Azul Platform Core helps organizations leverage the power of OpenJDK. Businesses can typically save an average of 70% versus paying the subscription costs for a standard commercial Java license. The Azul platform, built by top Java leaders, is fully tested, certified, and compliant with all Java SE standards. Learn more about how organizations can maximize the benefits of Java with the Azul platform by setting up a consultation

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