Dec 22, 2016

Understanding Oracle Java SE Licensing

Software vendors are determined to recover declining revenues as customers are moving to the cloud. Recently, it has been reported that Oracle has started aggressively auditing customers for Java usage, a software that is widely believed to be free to use. Although this news has not been confirmed by the software provider, it is always smart to be proactively prepared.

Understanding Oracle Java licensing

Oracle Java Licensing

Similar to Oracle Databases, Oracle Java has features which, if used, can represent a licensing breach. When it comes to cost, as per Oracle's website:

  • Oracle Java Standard Edition version 8 is still free as long as it is used for general purpose computing.
  • Oracle Java Standard Edition Advanced and Oracle Java Standard Suite have some components which are not free of charge.

The install package for Oracle Java SE Advanced, Oracle Java SE Advanced Desktop and Oracle Java SE Suite is the same as the package for Oracle Java SE. What makes the difference are the "commercial features" which can be activated to use the above mentioned products. As soon as this happens, the customers might need to pay for the additional features.

The Oracle Java SE is downloadable for free as per Oracle Binary Code License Agreement (BCLA).


These Supplemental License Terms add to or modify the terms of the Binary Code License Agreement. These Supplemental Terms shall supersede any inconsistent or conflicting terms in the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement or in any license contained within the Software.

1. COMMERCIAL FEATURES. You may not use the Commercial Features for running Programs, Java applets or applications in your internal business operations or for any commercial or production purpose, or for any purpose other than as set forth in Sections B, C, D and E of these Supplemental Terms. If You want to use the Commercial Features for any purpose other than as permitted in this Agreement, You must obtain a separate license from Oracle.”

Oracle features: Java SE, Oracle Java SE Advanced/Advanced Desktop, and Oracle Java SE Suite

* A complete overview of the features can be accessed here

Important: An Oracle Java SE product is already included when purchasing one of the following licenses:

  • Weblogic Server Standard Edition
  • Weblogic Suite
  • Internet Application Server Enterprise Edition
  • GlassFish Server, Coherence Standard Edition
  • Coherence Grid Edition
  • WebCenter Content
  • WebCenter Universal Content Management
  • WebLogic Suite for Oracle Applications
  • Coherence Enterprise Edition for Oracle Applications
Oracle License Optimization

Metrics and costs (as of the 15th of December 2016)

  • The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK) are still free
  • Java SE Advanced Desktop can only be licensed for NUP at a license price of $40 Dollars (support $8.8 Dollars).
  • Java SE Advanced has a price of $100 Dollars per NUP (support $22 Dollars) and of $500 Dollars per Processor (support $1,100 Dollars).
  • Java SE Suite a price of $300 Dollars per NUP (support $66 Dollars) and of $15,000 Dollars per Processor (support $3,300 Dollars).

Java Usage tracking

For tracking and measuring purposes, within the Java package itself, there is one feature called Java Usage Tracker. This is available starting with Java SE 6 update 25. It is important to take note that the JUT is a commercial feature itself.

The collected data refers to:

  • Java and JVM versions
  • Java application name
  • Host name and IP address
  • Invocation timestamp
  • JVM arguments
  • Classpath
  • JRE location on the system
  • Operating system name and version
  • Launch type (e.g. applet, web start, command line)

More details can be accessed here.

Further suggested reading

Aspera SmartTrack customers can learn more about Oracle licensing – and access our extensive archive of educational resources in our Knowledge Center. If you’re interested in talking with one of our licensing experts, please get in touch!

Aspera is committed to expert consulting which always has the customers’ needs in view. Our Professional Services combine technological know-how with unbeatable licensing experience built to meet your individual needs. For those of you still considering leveraging Aspera’s licensing services, here are a few links to leverage for your own research:

Read more about Oracle licensing

Topics: Audit Defense, Oracle

Comments (6):

wrote on

For Java SE Advanced, how is the NUP applied if the intended use of the license is not to run the server application, but to use java flight recorder to investigate specific instances?

This would not be on an ongoing basis but more at emergency resolution.

wrote on

Hello Ms. Schoeman,

Thank you for your question.

The Java Flight Recorder is a commercial feature as per the Java agreement Oracle has posted on their website . It can be used free on developer desktops/laptops, and for evaluation purposes in test, development, and production environments.

However, to enable JFR on a production server, a commercial license must be purchased. So, in this situation, even for emergency cases, the NUP license must be paid. However, it is possible that you have a different type of contract with Oracle which will allow this at no additional charge. These type of agreements can be reached and it depends on various factors.

I hope this information is helpful for you! Please reach out with further questions.

wrote on

Can you please explain licensing for commercial use of Java SE 8 (with JavaFX) when used for a commercial device on an SBC such as a Raspberry Pi? In this context the Pi would be used as a Human Interface Device which also manages and controls other electronics. For example, a touch-screen for users to select options on a car-wash, or a "Point-Of-Use" inventory recording device (screen, keyboard, optical scanner).

What license is applicable?
What license fees are incurred?
How at these license fees paid?

I need this information for projects on which I am consulting and would like to include this information in an instructional YouTube video I intend to produce.

Thank you.

wrote on

Hi Mr. Bend,

Thank you for reaching out!

Due to the compexity of your particular inquiry, it would be best for you to connect directly with our Oracle team ( so that we can appropriately evaluate your situation in more detail.


wrote on

hello. i'm researcher from Ecomrine.Inc in korea. we want to know Java License related with web development. we are supposed to use it because it needs to be used to create a website. maybe commercial use. so could you tell me about something what i should know like cost and available period...etc. please reply for me -->here : p.s : the sooner the better :)

wrote on

Hello Sammy,

Thanks for your inquiry. Aspera is happy to advise you in the treatment of your licenses and infrastructure data in order to comply with licensing regulations. However, we do not provide specific purchase or pricing information about components for development use cases.

Given your specific concern, we suggest that you contact your nearest Oracle reseller. If you need further assistance with your state of compliance and license optimization, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your business contact details to