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Java is still free!

lemuelogbunude profile image Lemuel Ogbunude ・3 min read

I see a lot of posts lamenting about how Java is now being paid for. I feel a lot of people are getting it wrong...and right.

Oracle JDK

Perhaps when you started coding in Java, you were asked to download the JDK (Java development kit). By default what you went for was the Oracle JDK. Oracle isn't the only provider though they are the most popular, so when they make a move everyone feels it.

Oracle JDK now has a feature release every six months, this new versioning scheme which was previously announced in 2017. Previously that took about 3+ years. For example, look at how long it took for Lambdas to get to Java in Java 8. So the six months feature release is good news!

Oracle JDK is free for use in development and test environments but would be paid for in commercial settings.

In other words, updates will generally be provided for 6 months before they are stopped upon release of the next version. If updates/support are required for a longer duration, or for production use, then it must be purchased from Oracle.

Now it actually makes sense for Oracle to charge if they are going to be moving at such a rate, there are hard working developers that are behind this and not robots.

Moreover, it isn't a new thing for companies to charge fees for enterprise support.

Now if you are a developer just learning Java, this does not affect you any way because you probably are using Oracle JDK in development and test environments.

Now, what if you intend to use it commercially what should you do?

You have some options, but I'd list a few-

Your company could go for the commercial plan and Long-term support:

-$2.5 (USD) per month per user (desktop) or Less
-$25 (USD) per month per processor (Server) or Less

With Significant discount for large deployment support requirement, for example, 50% discount for 10k-20k processor units.


Oracle contributes heavily to OpenJDK, and it is the basis for both Oracle OpenJDK builds and Oracle JDK. OpenJDK is free and opensource. In fact, as of Java 11, OpenJDK has feature parity with Oracle's JDK. In other words, you shouldn't see Oracle JDK as "better" than the OpenJDK build. That's great news, isn't it!

You certainly do not "need" to go with a paid support option.

Though if you're in a large organisation that needs a fix in a timely manner, someone to respond to your user requests, or if you want the reassurance that the binary you use is being backed by a vendor, then you could go for the commercial support.

It's worth thinking though about how you, the end users, can support the Java SE ecosystem to ensure it has a long lasting future!


I have given the overview of this situation, there are more detailed articles and documents you could go and check out if you are still interested in understanding what it entails in more detail.

In our world where we have a lot of wonderful languages with wonderful features, Java needed to speed up its releases and add new features faster. Hence Oracle has decided to invest in moving Java forward.

Here are some good articles I highly recommend you to go check out if you are interested in learning more:

Java Is Still Free

Java is still available at zero-cost

Article by Trisha Gee

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lemuelogbunude profile

Lemuel Ogbunude


Software Engineer. Founder of Lemubit Academy. I love Jesus Christ and I love people.


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Hi! I've been planning to release Everest coupled with a JRE. Can I use an OpenJDK JRE and not pay Oracle?

Also, I plan to offer paid plans with Everest which would use a Node.js powered sync service running in the cloud. I'm confused since Everest itself is completely open-source but it will simply make API calls to a paid service. So how would that work?


If you are using OpenJDK, you need not worry about paying Oracle. I had a look at Everest and looks like you are using JavaFX which is bundled by default with Oracle JDK and not included in OpenJDK 8. You can include OpenJFX through Maven.

Also, have a look at how IntelliJ Community does their bundling. They are also JavaFX based and open source.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so take advice with a grain of salt.


Thank you! This was really helpful.


You could go for OpenJDK to avoid any hassle.

Though you could still consider continuing with what you have.

In one of the links I provided it read:

If someone is using Oracle JDK 8 to run commercial software, after January 2019 do they need to purchase a license?

No. The user can continue to use Oracle JDK 8 indefinitely without paying. The only cost is if they want to get updates beyond Jan 2019, in which case they will need to purchase an "Oracle Java SE subscription.

Also, this was there:

Starting with Java SE 11, neither the OpenJDK builds or the Oracle JDK binaries include the JavaFX libraries. The JavaFX components will now be delivered as a separate SDK, or as artifacts that can be used via build tools (e.g. Apache Maven, Gradle et al.). As a positive consequence of this decoupling, JavaFX development can now have its own roadmap.

JavaFX is still being developed in OpenJFX, which is a project under the OpenJDK community umbrella.

So if JDK8 is fine for you then you could continue with your project with no worries, then probably later you could switch to OpenJDK 11 which can be interchanged with Oracle's JDK11.

In case you didn't go through the links I provided, I strongly recommend you go through them as they would address the questions you might have :)


Thank you, this really cleared up my doubts. I'll definitely consider moving to OpenJDK 11 and add OpenJFX via Maven.


Great article. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of FUD recently about how Java itself is no longer free.

Some more great and open JDK options are:

Also, OpenJDK 8 will be supported long-term by Red Hat.


Thanks for the info!

As an addition to the OpenJDK options I have also heard of AdoptOpenJDK


Thank you very much for clearing this one up.

I was convinced Java would go under after I heard the news from someone! Glad to hear it's still nice and free. \o/


You're welcome :)


Java is still free!

and still over priced 😜


πŸ˜…...Lol...well it's just for the Oracle JDK and not OpenJDK and I feel $2.5/month wouldn't be an issue for companies if they are using Oracle's JDK.