Oracle recently announced major change in Java Runtime licensing policy. According to them Java Runtime (JRE) Version 8 Update 201 was the last free JRE. Starting from JRE Version 8 Update 211 commercial users will be required to pay for its usage to Oracle. It continues to be Free for personal use.

Java RTE is not free

One can still download the commercial Oracle JDK for free and use it for free in development/test environments. But, when JRE is used to run the Java Application, commercial user will have to pay for the usage of JRE.

This announcement has huge cost implication for majority of end users. Particularly those using Java applications in commercial environment will have to purchase JRE license from Oracle. It’s licensing cost is slightly more than Rs.2,000/- per user per year.

Java applications are developed and used widely all over the world. For example, in India Tax Deduced at Source (TDS) returns are prepared using Java application.

If you are not sure whether you require JRE or not there is a simple test. Just search for files with extension “.jar” If you find any files and you use them then you require JRE license.

So, is there any way to save this licensing cost? Yes. Read more for details.

You need to dive little deep to understand this alternative. Since JRE was free for all this years there was no need to explore this topic. Java was originally developed by Sun. It became very popular among developers because both Java Development (JDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) were free. There are literally millions of users of Java. Then Oracle bought over Sun. And now they have decided to monetise the opportunity by deciding to charge users of Java Runtime a yearly licensing fee for commercial use. So, now Oracle is going to make lot of money from sale of JRE license. It’s a low hanging fruit for them.

Do you know Java is open source? Probably yes. But, it did not matter because JRE was free for all types of use including commercial use. There are two types of Java Virtual Machines (JVM). One contributed by Oracle (earlier Sun) is called ‘HotSpot’. Other is contributed by IBM, Eclipse and other Open source community supporters. It’s called as ‘OpenJ9’.

OpenJ9 Java is known as Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK). HotSpot and OpenJ9 are essentially same but differ in certain technical details. Fortunately Open source versions of both JVM is available for free.

One site note. IBM has it’s own version of JRE based on both ‘HotSpot’ and ‘OpenJ9’ and is a priced item. They have also sensed an opportunity to get part of the pie that Oracle is going after; and have started actively selling IBM JRE.

How does one get this Open source Runtime Environment? Visit https://adoptopenjdk.net and download it for free.

Is that all? It seems so simple. Not yet. There are many versions of Java. Version 8 (LTS), 9, 10, 11 (LTS) and 12 (Latest). Which one to use? 8 and 11 are with Long Term Support (LTS). It is speculated that Oracle is going to stop providing free Java (JDK) with Long Term Support (LTS) release.

Open Source JRE installs and runs differently than Oracle’s JRE. So, be prepared for a deep dive into the new open source JRE before you can start using it for free. See our video below that tells you – how to do it step by step. Or be prepared to pay yearly license fees to Oracle.

Note: You may visit this page to know Oracle’s road map on JRE.https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/java-se-support-roadmap.html

Here is a video that shows you the exact steps to install OpenJDK JRE and how to replace Oracle JRE.

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No brainer alternative to Oracle Java Runtime: Why & How to install Open Source Java Runtime (JRE)
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