Oracle Java 17 – Important Licensing change

Oracle have announced the release of Oracle Java Development Kit version 17 in September 2021. As part of this, there are some important licensing changes which could be very beneficial for organisations currently utilising Java.

Tip #82 - October 2021: The Oracle Java 17 licensing change can be very beneficial for organisations currently utilising Java. Find out how!

Over the past two years, Oracle changed the approach to licensing Java for production environments after a certain version. Customers had to acquire a commercial subscription for various Java releases and due to its complex nature, customers have struggled to identify all Java components and their specific versions on their infrastructure. This was further complicated by customers needing to define whether these installations were covered by another Oracle product or embedded into 3rd party software. As a result of this potential risk, customers have been actively looking for other solutions like OpenJDK and have been moving away from Oracle consequently.

To make things a bit easier, some licensing changes were applied to Oracle Java 17 and onwards. Let’s have a look at some Oracle documentation and some important statements:


Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap (September 13, 2021)

“Since September 2021, Oracle provides the Oracle JDK for Java 17 and later under a free use license for All Users. Oracle JDK releases for Java 16 and earlier versions continue to be made available the OTN Agreement for Java SE, which is free for Personal, Development and other Users only.”


Oracle No-Fee Terms and Conditions (NFTC)

“Oracle grants to You, as a recipient of this Program to internally use the unmodified Programs for the purposes of developing, testing and demonstrating your applications, and running the Program for Your own personal use or internal Business Operations….”

For personal and internal business operations, Java 17 will be free to use, meaning no commercial subscription is required anymore. Of course, some other rights and restriction apply, especially for older versions which remain available under the OTN and still require a commercial subscription.

What does this mean for your organisation and what steps are open to you to benefit from this change?

  1. First of all, you still need to keep track of Oracle Java installations prior to Java 17 but it is beneficial to move to Java 17 as soon as possible.
  2. Investigate whether clients can be easily migrated. At the same time, investigate which servers can be migrated in the future and whether the running software is compliant with Oracle Java v17.