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Oracle Java Licensing Changes

There always has been a widespread misconception that Java Licensing was Free. This has never been the case, Java depending on use has always required a type of licence.


In 2019, there was widespread shock when Oracle dramatically changed the way Java needed licensing. Oracle have since then revised Java licence rules again, in 2021 and January 2023, further complicating the licence position.


The 2019 and, in particular, the 2023 changes mean that many organisations are potentially facing a large licence gap on Java which could cost £MILLIONS to rectify.


Overview of Java Licence Changes:

1) In 2019 Oracle announced that Java would need licensing from Oracle JDK 8 Patch 211 (Released Apr 2020) to receive Patches and Updates.

2) In 2021, Oracle introduced another significant change to Java licensing. They announced a third licensing agreement, the NFTC – Oracle No-Fee Terms and Conditions. Which grants free use of Java from Oracle JDK 17 onward, in certain circumstances.

3) In 2023, Oracle announced that the way of Licensing Java and the metrics were changing. The new Java SE Universal Subscription licence, based on a per Employee (= total corporate employee count) metric was introduced.


What do the Changes mean:

1) Oracle are actively seeking for Organisations to license Java. They have built up the Java teams to do this and are proactively contacting customers on Java Licensing. Especially, where customers are downloading Java patches and updates via OTN or MOS.

2) Organisations are facing cost impacts and where they do have Java licences, currently, the impact could be an increase by a factor of 2-10x ¹. (¹ Current Market Estimates)

3) Organisations should act without delay to fully understand their usage of Java (irrelevant of provider), its licence position and what licence types (BCLA, Commercial, Java SE Subscription, NFTC, Java SE Universal Subscription or Granted Licence) it is using or needs.


How HGK can help:


Our Java licensing consultants will, under NDA, complete a comprehensive independent review of your Java licence estate to ensure you fully understand your current licence position, any potential exposure, and all available options to ensure on-going compliance, minimisation of costs, and mitigation of risk for the future.


We can also provide assistance with any resulting contract negotiation with Oracle as required to ensure the best outcome for your organisation from any commercial engagement.

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