Oracle Java: Upcoming Changes

Thursday 23rd August 2018

Changes in Java

Oracle have made a number of announcements recently about Java, and how it is going to be released and supported going forward.

The main change that Oracle have made is around the release cycle of OpenJDK. Basically, as of September 2018 a brand-new version of OpenJDK will be released every 6 months, rather than on a completely ad hoc basis as it’s worked to date. In itself, this doesn’t sound like a major change, however this small thing has significant ramifications to commercial users of Java.

OpenJDK vs Oracle Java

To explain the impact that the changes make, we will first explore some of the background around Java and OpenJDK. Simply put, OpenJDK is a free and open source implementation of the Java platform that is owned by Oracle and distributed under a GNU GPL licenses. Whereas Oracle Java is a commercial variant of Java that is distributed by Oracle that historically has required a license to be purchased and a support contract to be in place to obtain patches of any version of Java other than latest version. It is worth noting that for some time, Oracle has made patches for the latest version of Oracle Java openly available for all, mainly due the tie-up with the OpenJDK.

This is where the impact of the change will be felt. As the release cadence of OpenJDK will be a fixed 6-month cycle, patching will only be made openly available for this. Oracle Java will effectively splinter from OpenJDK with new patching being made available for the commercial version for at least 8 years from the point of launch, and access to previous patches will be made available indefinitely.

How does this effect you?

If you work for an organisation that uses Java to support existing applications or to write your own applications, whether those applications run on servers or on the desktop, you will need to patch security holes, bugs, etc (And when 307 security vulnerabilities have been patched on version 8 alone – patching is a must have!). Then you will need a license unless you can upgrade to the latest version of OpenJDK every 6 months. For most commercial organisations this will be impossible.

How to a buy a license?

Oracle has just (August 2018) announced a new licensing model that replaces the old Oracle Java SE Advanced license and support model.

This new model is a subscription-based model at a far more customer friendly price. Desktop devices are licensed on a per user (Named User Plus) basis and servers on a per processor basis. These are also sold on a tiered basis, so the more you need to purchase the cheaper the price is.

When do the changes take place?

Oracle release the next version of OpenJDK in September 2018 This will start the 6-monthly release cycle.

However, Oracle has announced that JDK 8 patches will continue to be openly available until the end of December 2018.

Why Bytes?

As one of the UK’s largest providers of desktop and application solutions, Bytes are perfectly positioned to help you define your java strategy. With a long-standing Oracle team and SAM services practice we can help you ensure that investment in all Oracle technologies, including Java, meet the needs of your business as economically as possible.

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