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Oracle Java Subscriptions?

 
Bartender
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I remain confused about whether my clients, and even me, need to buy a $300/year Java SE subscription.

Here are a couple use cases:

1. Customer has a version of Java 8 like 188 installed a year or so ago to run REST services under Tomcat on AWS. Doesn't need upgrades or support from Oracle. Does she need a subscription now?

2. Customer has web apps available to clients on a commercial site with Java 11, but does not need updates or support. Does he need to fork out $300/year?

3. I develop software locally that commercial clients will use. I test that softwarte locally or on my own server, but there is no direct commercial usage of those and only tested by me in isolation. Do I need to fork out $x/year?

---

I've also read that the openjdk, the popular alternative to Oracle's latest shenanigans, isn't always as reliable as the "real thing" from Oracle, but have personally not had any issues with it.

It seems to me that Oracle is trying its best to kill Java, but hopefully I'm just misunderstanding something basic.

Thanks to anyone for help understanding this.

- mike
 
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Oracle keeps trying to monetize their open-source possessions.  well, technically, Java isn't open-source as such, but close enough. Oracle is used to being able to charge $60K/computer and have people pay it.

That's a dinosaur model, dating back from the days when a million-dollar mainframe requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars of software and support personnel was the cost of doing business, and after all, what's a few dozen grand on accessories after IBM has already crunched your wallet for the iron?

But we're now in a era where a perfectly suitable computer is under $50 and we have come to expect our software (and, alas, our software engineers) to be free.

Oracle tried with OpenOffice. The world responded with the LibreOffice fork. Oracle tried with MySQL. The world responded with the MariaDB fork.

I expect the same thing with Java. In truth, even mega-corporations aren't as well suited to developing and supporting products all on their own as the open-source community is. I'd use open-source DBMS's solely on the basis of not having to sit on a phone and hear how important my call is, if nothing else. And as for online support, the open-source forums are generally headed up by people who actually know how the product works, as opposed to being a monkey-with-a-script who can barely type in English. Case in point - this forum here. We don't even get Kolkata wages for doing this, but I think we're considered pretty helpful.

So one possibility is that Oracle will try and grow Java in its own proprietary direction. Lots of luck. If they isolate themselves, they'll likely starve. And if they share new developments, most people won't pay for them. Oracle isn't Red Hat. They've made so many enemies over they years that even paid support (please stay on the line) isn't likely to be a compelling reason for paid Java. Especially, since, as I've noted, paid support for most proprietary products is absolutely putrid these days.

Orace is no longer competing against other companies. They can't do it all alone, and they can't win price wars when the competing product is free. Unless they manage to come up with something so compelling that everybody has to have it no matter what the cost, I don't expect their schemes to succeed.

And Kotlin is already waiting in the wings for the Android crowd, and multiple languages and platforms that Oracle owns no part of are well-established on other platdorms.

I have historically advised against the open-source Java implementations. It took a long time to fill in the holes left when it pulled away from Sun's codebase. But I'd risk the OpenJDK. It does have Red Hat behind it (which is now effectively part of IBM, which along with Microsoft is among Oracle's biggest competitors). It's had time to mature. And there's certainly a possibility that someday it may become the defining standard for Java by community acclaim.
 
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Did you try Amazon corretto JDK? As far as I know is free to use and I think that, being the default JDK on AWS, it should be fairly stable and java-specs compliant.
This said, honestly I still don't understand Oracle's decision to require a fee for using JDK commercially. Or, well, I see that any company needs to get revenue from it's products and that mantaining a product like JDK /JRE implies several costs, but I wonder if there were no other options to cover JDK maintenance and evolution process expenses by Oracle -selling certifications, courses, and so on.
 
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I had no issues switching from Oracle's JDK to https://adoptopenjdk.net/. I would imagine Corretto to be equally trouble-free.
 
Mike London
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Thanks for all the great replies and perspectives!

I'll download Amazon Corretto 11 today.

-- mike
 
Tim Holloway
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Claude Moore wrote:
This said, honestly I still don't understand Oracle's decision to require a fee for using JDK commercially.



Then you don't understand Larry Ellison. He's been trying for years to become richer than Bill Gates at his peak - that is, richest man in the world - and it's one thing he's never going to be. Much to his perpetual annoyance.

To that end, Oracle has always tried to squeeze every penny they could out of their customer base and when all else failed, employed an aggressive legal team. They're fairly unique that way. IBM hasn't had the cleanest reputation itself, but it has been able to make enough money off its consulting business. And it's been around long enough that the founder's ego isn't inextricably wrapped up in the bottom line. So IBM has gone so far as to donate large chunks of their technology to the open-source community. The Eclipse project is a notable example of that. I could wax long and poetic about IBM and whether it will be around in 50 years, but that's for another time. The point is, Oracle wants everything they own and everything they do to be a revenue producer and that generally hasn't worked out well when it has involved open-source assets. Java is an especially tough nut. If Sun had been making money on Java, Oracle wouldn't now own Sun.

I'd rather go with OpenJDK than an Amazon kit myself. The US Government has far too many fingers in Amazon's pies, and while I'm not into tinfoil hats, we already know that they can force Amazon (or AT&T, or virtually anyone) to do any ill-conceived thing that they want.

IBM was fielding a JVM on several platforms: J9. I don't know its current status, though. With their acquisition of Red Hat, however, and their extensive rivalry with Oracle, we may see some things on that front someday.
 
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I think this recent thread is relevant: https://coderanch.com/t/699066/java/Public-Service-Announcement-Java-Free

And here is the document you might be interested to read: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nFGazvrCvHMZJgFstlbzoHjpAVwv5DEdnaBr_5pKuHo/edit (referenced in the above thread).
 
Tim Holloway
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Java is still Free*


*Terms and conditions may apply.
 
author & internet detective
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Answering for Oracle JDK since this stuff is confusing:

Mike London wrote:1. Customer has a version of Java 8 like 188 installed a year or so ago to run REST services under Tomcat on AWS. Doesn't need upgrades or support from Oracle. Does she need a subscription now?


Nope. Java 8 remains free if you don't need updates or support.

Mike London wrote:2. Customer has web apps available to clients on a commercial site with Java 11, but does not need updates or support. Does he need to fork out $300/year?


Using Oracle Java 11 in Production does require a license. This is $25/month/core. (So $300/year if you have one CPU core. I bet your client has more). The full price list is online

Mike London wrote:3. I develop software locally that commercial clients will use. I test that softwarte locally or on my own server, but there is no direct commercial usage of those and only tested by me in isolation. Do I need to fork out $x/year?


Not unless you need updates or support. The relevant text is "permits personal use, development, testing, prototyping, demonstrating and some other uses at no cost.". This quote comes from the licensing FAQ.
 
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