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.

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.”

* 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

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).

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!

Read about new Oracle license conditions for Amazon EC2/RDS and Microsoft Azure

For those of you still considering leveraging Aspera’s licensing services, here are a few links to leverage for your own research:

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Topics: Audit Defense, Oracle

Comments (2):

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.