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Oracle Java Licensing Pricing Change FAQ

What: On January 23, 2023, Oracle changed how it prices Java SE. The new Java SE Universal Subscription is all-you-can-eat pricing based on an employee count. See their Global Price List.

When: The new pricing change took effect on January 23, 2023, for all new deals. Existing customers can renew under the same terms and metrics for now.

How employees are counted:   

  • Full-time employees (including the full-time employees of your agents, contractors, outsourcers, and consultants that support your business operations)   
  • Part-time (including the part-time employees of your agents, contractors, outsourcers, and consultants that support your business operations) 
  • Temporary (including the full-time employees of your agents, contractors, outsourcers, and consultants that support your business operations) 

The number of java licenses purchased must be equal to the number of employees on the effective date of your order.   

Is there separate Oracle licensing for desktops and servers?

No. The Java SE Universal Subscription covers desktops, servers and cloud deployments

Will my company have to pay for all our employees even if we use the Oracle JDK on a single desktop or server?

Yes, the cost of the new Java SE Universal Subscription is based on the number of employees multiplied by the list price per employee, regardless of the number of processors or desktops that are running Oracle JDK.

Will Oracle still conduct audits?

Oracle has not made any official statement about audits. Consultancies like House of Brick say they are expecting heightened audit activity. Palisade Compliance reports that Oracle reps no longer seek information about how much Java is used in a customer’s environment. Instead, they are “simply stating how many times customers have downloaded Java from Oracle’s website and how many employees the customers have based on public information.”

What about embedded Java?

The pricing for Oracle Java Embedded is not changing. You can find their price list here.

What are enterprise-ready alternatives to Oracle Java?

Oracle Java is easily swapped out for commercially supported distributions of OpenJDK. These distributions have the same underlying open source software code but vary in accompanying features and support. For example, only Oracle and Azul provide quarterly security-only updates on stabilized builds. These updates ensure Java deployments are protected from known vulnerabilities and enable organizations to comply with various internal policies and external regulations with a minimized risk of regression.

Another major difference between distributions lies in the breadth of Java that is supported. Companies with large Java deployments can have multiple versions of Java, including older versions such as Java 6 and 7 that must be patched to ensure security and compliance.  Azul offers support for more versions of Java than any other vendor, including Oracle.   

Still another differentiator has to do with non-contamination guarantees. Developers who combine their code with open-source software can easily and inadvertently “contaminate” their applications with open source license provisions and cause companies to lose control of their intellectual property. Azul Zulu Builds of OpenJDK delivered through Platform Core provide broad indemnification protection against GPL contamination.  

The OpenJDK vs. Oracle JDK Comparison Table shows how the leading OpenJDK distributions compare with each other and with Oracle.  

How long does it take to migrate from Oracle to an alternative commercially supported distribution of OpenJDK?

Migration speed is directly related to the complexity of your Java deployment. If you have many applications running on desktops that rely on deprecated technologies such as Applets or Web Start, you will want to take a phased approach over weeks or months. At the other extreme, if you have Oracle JDK installed on servers and can quickly identify the machines running JAR applications, you could complete the migration in a weekend. Azul has helped customers successfully migrate thousands of applications in a 48-hour period.

What is the most important factor for an easy migration?

OpenJDK distributions that pass the official Java test suite known as the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) are certified as compatible with the Java SE standard, each other and with Oracle JDK.

I am planning to upgrade to a new version of Java. Will I save time/resources if I upgrade to a new version of Java when I migrate?

Upgrading to a new version of Java is typically more involved than simply migrating applications to the same version on a new distribution of OpenJDK. If you want to combine a migration and an upgrade, Azul migration advisors recommend that you use a two-step process: first migrate applications to the new distribution, and then upgrade on that distribution.

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