java licensing

Java Licensing Changes 2019: A Comprehensive Guide

The Java Licensing Changes 2019

  • Subscription Model: Introduced Java SE Subscription and Java SE Desktop Subscription.
  • Costs: Server deployments start at $25 per processor per month, and desktop deployments at $2.50 per user per month.
  • Commercial Features: A separate license is required for advanced tools like Java Flight Recorder and Java Mission Control.
  • Impact: This affects all commercial users needing updates and support from Oracle.

In January 2019, Oracle implemented significant changes to its Java licensing model, transitioning from a free public update model to a subscription-based model for commercial users.

This shift has profoundly impacted businesses using Java, requiring a deeper understanding of the new licensing structure and its implications.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the 2019 Java licensing changes, including the new subscription models, pricing, and strategies for compliance and optimization.

Background of Java Licensing Changes 2019

Background of Java Licensing Changes 2019

Before 2019, Oracle provided free public updates for Java SE (Standard Edition). This model allowed businesses and developers to use Java without incurring licensing costs for updates.

However, in 2018, Oracle announced that starting from January 2019, updates for commercial Java SE users would require a subscription license. This change marked the end of free public updates for commercial users of Java SE 8 and subsequent versions.

Key Changes in the Licensing Model

The 2019 changes introduced two main subscription-based models: Java SE Subscription and Java SE Desktop Subscription.

These models replaced the previous upfront license purchase and annual support fee model.

Here’s a breakdown of the new licensing structure:

  1. Java SE Subscription:
    • Usage: Server deployments using a processor-based metric (CPU).
    • Pricing: Starts at $25 per monthly processor, with potential discounts for higher volumes.
  2. Java SE Desktop Subscription:
    • Usage: Desktop deployments using a Named User Plus (NUP) metric.
    • Pricing: Starts at $2.50 per user per month, with volume discounts available.

These subscription models include access to updates and support, but if a subscription lapses, users lose the right to use the commercial features and receive updates.

It is important to note that these license metrics were replaced by Oracle Java employee metrics in 2023.

Who is Affected by These Changes?

The 2019 licensing changes impact all commercial users of Java SE. This includes businesses that rely on Java for running applications, internal business operations, and production environments.

Non-commercial users and certain approved use cases under the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) license, such as personal use, development, and testing, remain unaffected and can still use Java for free under specific conditions.

Java Commercial Features Requiring Separate Licenses

Java Commercial Features Requiring Separate Licenses

Oracle’s commercial features, which provide advanced functionality and tools for monitoring, management, and optimization, require separate licenses. Key commercial features include:

  • Java Flight Recorder: Monitors and collects event data from Java applications.
  • Java Mission Control: Visualizes and analyzes application performance data.
  • Java Usage Tracker: Tracks usage metrics and performance data of Java applications.
  • Java Advanced Management Console: Manages Java deployments and updates across an organization.

These features are crucial for businesses that need to optimize their Java environments but require a commercial license for access.

Calculating Java SE Licensing Requirements

Under the new subscription models, licensing requirements are calculated based on deployment type:

  • Server Deployments: Use a processor-based metric (CPU). Each physical processor requires a subscription.
  • Desktop Deployments: Use a Named User Plus (NUP) metric. Each named user or device requires a subscription.

There are no minimum requirements for NUP licenses, but accurate counting of users and devices accessing Java is essential for compliance.

Java Pricing and Cost Implications

Java Pricing and Cost Implications

Oracle’s subscription pricing is designed to be flexible, with discounts available for higher volumes. The list pricing starts at:

  • Desktop: $2.50 per user per month.
  • Server: $25 per processor per month.

These prices can be negotiated based on volume, contract length, and other factors. Businesses should conduct a thorough cost analysis to determine the most cost-effective approach, considering current and future usage.

Strategies for Compliance and Optimization

To navigate the 2019 Java licensing changes effectively, businesses should adopt the following strategies:

  1. Conduct an Internal Assessment:
    • Review current Java deployments and usage.
    • Identify commercial features in use and ensure proper licensing.
  2. Consider Subscription Models:
    • Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of switching to a subscription model based on current support fees and anticipated growth.
    • Choose between server and desktop subscriptions based on deployment needs.
  3. Explore Alternatives:
    • Consider using OpenJDK, an open-source alternative to Oracle JDK, which includes many of the same features without the commercial licensing requirements.
    • Regularly update to the latest LTS (Long-Term Support) version to ensure access to security updates.
  4. Engage with Oracle Sales:
    • Negotiate volume discounts and favorable terms.
    • Ensure clarity on licensing requirements and avoid non-compliance risks.


The 2019 changes to Oracle’s Java licensing model have introduced a subscription-based approach for commercial users, replacing the free public update model.

Understanding these changes is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and optimize their Java investment.

By conducting thorough internal assessments, evaluating cost-effective subscription models, exploring alternatives like OpenJDK, and engaging in strategic negotiations with Oracle, businesses can navigate these changes effectively and maintain access to critical updates and support.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.

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