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InfoQ Homepage News Oracle's JDK 17 - Free Again for Commercial Use

Oracle's JDK 17 - Free Again for Commercial Use

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The Oracle JDK is available free of charge for production use again - under the new "Oracle No-Fee Terms and Conditions" (NFTC) license. This move reverses a 2018 decision to charge for Oracle JDK production use and does not affect Oracle‘s OpenJDK distribution. The NFTC applies to the recently released version 17 of Oracle JDK and future versions.

Donald Smith, senior director of product management at Oracle, explained the reason for this decision in a recent blog post, writing:

Providing Oracle OpenJDK builds under the GPL was highly welcomed, but feedback from developers, academia, and enterprises was that they wanted the trusted, rock-solid Oracle JDK under an unambiguously free terms license, too. Oracle appreciates the feedback from the developer ecosystem and are pleased to announce that as of Java 17 we are delivering on exactly that request.

Smith explicitly stated that the NFTC "includes commercial and production use," although the NFTC does not seem to highlight this fact, and that "redistribution is permitted as long as it is not for a fee."

Oracle promises security updates for a Java LTS release under the NFTC until one year after the next LTS release is made available to the Java community. Given that Oracle proposed to shorten the Java LTS release cadence from three years to two years, security updates will be available for a total of three years. After that period, further use of the Oracle JDK in production requires a commercial license. The NFTC also covers quarterly security updates for non-LTS JDK releases.

Customers can still get the Oracle JDK 17 under the commercial Oracle Java SE Subscription, paid for either per user or per processor. This subscription includes the Java Management Service, Advanced Management Console, GraalVM Enterprise, and support. Oracle offers no commercial support for its OpenJDK distribution.

As Simon Ritter, deputy CTO at Azul Systems, explains, NFTC joins two other licenses for the Oracle JDK: the Oracle Binary Code License and the Oracle Technology Network License Agreement. Organizations are advised to carefully review the NFTC before using it with the Oracle JDK.

Oracles' decision to start charging for its JDK in 2018 led to considerable uncertainty and confusion in the Java community. That is why Java champions banded together and clarified matters with the popular "Java is still free" article. Its new version 3.0 covers Oracle's NFTC.

Surveys suggest that Oracle's JDK distributions are not the most popular Java distributions anymore. Developers seem to prefer OpenJDK distributions from AdoptOpenJDK (now Eclipse Temurin), Amazon, Microsoft, Azul, and other vendors. These organizations also provide commercial support for their distributions. In the case of Eclipse Temurin, Azul offers such support.

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  • too late

    by ahmed galal,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    For those who seeks free jdk in production, I don't think oracle will make it to top of the list soon.
    The 2018 license-change move was somehow a break of trust, and it showed how oracle decision makers can suddenly change their minds,
    java is usually used where stable long systems are needed, in enterprises, and I don't think many people there really want to take the risk with mysterious custom licenses or flip-flop managment,

    Good and less risky alternatives are already available.

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