Q1: Is Java still free after January 2019?
Absolutely. As has been the case for over two decades, Oracle is keeping Java free and open, and providing stability, performance and security updates to the current version, at no cost. Oracle also continues to provide free critical patch updates, scheduled over a year in advance, additional updates when required, and two feature updates (which also include critical patch updates) each year under the new release cadence.
Oracle does all this development in the OpenJDK open source community, making our contributions available to be ported, analysed, and used by anyone, as open source You can download the latest updates of Java from Oracle, for free, under an open source license from jdk.java.net, and for development and testing purposes as the Oracle JDK from OTN.
Q2: What does “End of Public Updates” mean?
After five years of public availability, Java 8 is going through “End of Public Updates” in early 2019 – just as Java 5 did in 2009, Java 6 in 2013 and Java 7 in 2015. Oracle provides free, predictable and scheduled well in advance updates including stability, performance and security updates of current releases at jdk.java.net and OTN. Legacy releases continue to be available and supported for Oracle customers via My Oracle Support per the published timelines.
Q3: What does "free for personal use" mean?
Previous “End of Public Updates” transitions (Java 5 in 2009, Java 6 in 2013 and Java 7 in 2015) took place on a fixed date, for all types of users, at the same time.
As announced last year, Oracle extended public updates for Java 8 from September 2018 to January 2019. Oracle also further extended free public updates of Java 8 for personal, individual desktop or laptop use until at least the end of 2020 [Note that this date has been extended indefinitely; please reference this blog post for more information]. This provides free updates for individuals using any “B2C” type applications that may still be using legacy Java 8 Applets, Web Start, and JavaFX features (which were removed in Java 9 or later versions). More information on this topic was published last year. This means individuals who rely on Java 8 for games, personal banking, or other individual consumer type activities on their desktop or laptop computers will continue to get free updates through at least 2020.
Commercial users can update to a newer Java version, available for free from Oracle, or consider a Java SE Subscription if remaining on older versions such as Java 8 is important.
Q4: What are the Java 8 “End of Public Updates” timelines?
The January 15th, 2019 scheduled Critical Patch Update of Java 8 (8u201, and the related 8u202 Patch Set Update) are the last update available under the BCL license which is generally free for general purpose desktop and server use, and has been the Oracle JDK license for several years. The following update of Java 8, scheduled for April 16, 2019 (8u211 and the related 8u212 Patch Set Update), will be made available under a new license which will be free for personal individual desktop use, and free for development, testing, prototyping and demonstration purposes.
The most recent Java releases remain free and under an open source license, from jdk.java.net, or free for development, testing, prototyping and demonstrating license from OTN. Java SE Subscriptions are available for those who wish to continue to use Java 8 updates made available as of April 16th, 2019 for commercial or production purposes. The Java SE Subscription FAQ has additional information including pricing.
Q5: Can an update of Java 8, released before April 2019, and downloaded under the BCL, continue to be used after January 2019?
Yes. You can continue to use any version of Java under the license terms under which it was provided to you. New licensing for Java 8 updates only applies to updates released under the new license after January 2019, starting with the April 16th, 2019 scheduled quarterly update.
Older public Java updates, going all the way back to Java 1.1, are available in the Java Archives. These older versions are provided to help developers debug issues in older systems. They are not updated with the latest security patches and are not recommended for use in production.
Q6: I’m an Oracle Customer with an Oracle product that uses Java. Can you confirm Java updates and support is included for use with that Oracle product?
Yes. If you are an Oracle Customer with a supported Oracle product which requires Java SE, you continue to have access to Oracle Java updates, as required by your Oracle product, for the use of supported Oracle products, at no additional cost. See this My Oracle Support (MOS) note for more information (requires login).
Q7: Why does the Java Auto Update recommend removing unused versions of Java?
The Java update mechanism routinely recommends removing older versions after completing an update, to keep your system clean.
Starting in January 2019, the auto update mechanism may also detect if you have not used Java on your computer for six or more months, and if so, may offer to remove rather than update Java. Customers who have installed Java from Oracle eDelivery or My Oracle Support should not see these messages. If you accidentally uninstall Java and decide later you needed it, you can always reinstall it by visiting java.com/download, or through your Oracle customer support and delivery channels.
Q8: What if I’m an ISV?
The answers to the FAQ questions above apply to ISVs and those using Java for internal use. ISVs that need to let their users choose which Java version to use to run their software can follow the approach of supporting both the latest Java version provided for free from Oracle along with the older Oracle Java versions available through Java SE Subscription. ISVs who embed Java with their applications can choose the free open source releases from jdk.java.net, or contact Oracle for shipping Oracle JDK updates.
Q9: What other resources are available?
Sharat Chander has worked in the IT industry for 20 years, for firms such as Bell Atlantic, Verizon, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle. His background and technical specialty is in Java development tools, graphics design, and product/community management. Chander has been actively involved in the Java Community for 15 years, helping drive greater Java awareness, acceptance, adoption, and advocacy. At Oracle, as the director of Java developer relations, Chander serves as the JavaOne conference content chairperson, a role he's filled for 7 years, where he drives the technical content strategy and Java community involvement in the conference. He is a frequent keynote speaker and participant in developer programs worldwide. Chander holds a BS in corporate finance from the University of Maryland and an MBA in international business from Loyola College, Maryland. You can find Chander at multiple global developer events and Java community engagements. When not growing visibility for Java, he follows his other passion for baseball and fanatically following his hometown Baltimore Orioles.
Twitter handle: @Sharat_Chander