Java Is Still Free!
Java is still free! Click here to learn more about the common misconceptions about the new JDK release cycle and which JDK version is right for you.
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I see a lot of posts lamenting about how Java is now going to cost money. I feel a lot of people are getting it both wrong... and right.
Perhaps when you started coding in Java, you were asked to download the JDK. By default, what you went for was the Oracle JDK. Oracle isn't the only provider, though they are the most popular. So when they make a move, everyone feels it.
Oracle JDK now has a feature release every six months. This new versioning scheme was previously announced in 2017 and took about 3+ years. For example, look at how long it took for Lambdas to get to Java in JDK 8. So, the six months feature release is good news!
Oracle JDK is free in development and test environments but is paid for in commercial settings.
In other words, updates will generally be provided six months before they are stopped upon release of the next version. If updates/support are required for a longer duration or for production use, then it must be purchased from Oracle.
Now, it actually makes sense for Oracle to charge if they are going to be moving at such a rate. There are hard working developers behind these release cycles — not robots.
Moreover, it isn't a new thing for companies to charge fees for enterprise support. Now if you are a developer just learning Java, this does not affect you anyway because you probably are using Oracle JDK in development and test environments.
Now, what if you intend to use it commercially — what should you do?
You have some option. I'd like to list a few:
Commercial Plan and Long-Term Support
It costs $2.5 (USD) per month per user (desktop). And, it costs only $25 (USD) per month per processor (Server) or less.
With the significant discount for large deployment support requirement, for example, a 50 percent discount for 10-20k processor units.
Oracle contributes heavily to the OpenJDK, and it is the basis for both Oracle OpenJDK builds and Oracle JDK. OpenJDK is free and open source. In fact, as of Java 11, OpenJDK has feature parity with Oracle's JDK. In other words, you shouldn't see Oracle JDK as "better" than the OpenJDK build. That's great news, isn't it?
You certainly do not "need" to go with a paid support option.
Though, if you're in a large organization that needs a fix in a timely manner, someone to respond to your user requests, or you want the reassurance that the binary you use is being backed by a vendor, then you could go for the commercial support.
It's worth thinking through about how you, the end users, can support the Java SE ecosystem to ensure it has a long lasting future!
I have given the overview of this situation, there are more detailed articles and documents you could go and check out if you are still interested in understanding what it entails.
In a world where we have a lot of languages with copious amounts of features, Java needed to speed up its release cycle and add features faster. Hence, Oracle has decided to invest in moving Java forward.
Here are some articles I highly recommend you to go check out if you are interested in learning more about OpenJDK and OracleJDK:
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