Oracle's new Java SE subs: Code and support for $25/processor/month

Prepare for audit after inevitable change, says Oracle licensing consultant

By Simon Sharwood


Poll Oracle’s put a price on Java SE and support: $25 per physical processor per month, and $2.50 per user per month on the desktop, or less if you buy lots for a long time.

Big Red’s called this a Java SE Subscription and pitched it as “a commonly used model, popular with Linux distributions”. The company also reckons the new deal is better than a perpetual licence, because they involve “an up-front cost plus additional annual support and maintenance fees.”

Oracle’s subs include “license, updates, upgrades, and support in a single price.” Perhaps with some steak knives, too, if you’re among the first 100 callers!

If you like your current Java licences, Oracle will let you keep them. And if Java’s essential for other Oracle products you run, those product already include licences.

The key value of the subs therefore appears to be Oracle’s pledge of “long-term support and tools on the current and on a number of older versions”.

There’s also a little bit of stick to go with the carrot, because come January 2019 Java SE 8 on the desktop won’t be updated any more … unless you buy a sub.

Peter Jansen of Oracle licensing consultancy Navicle told The Register Oracle has made an exception for general purpose use of Java, but that the definition of such use means almost nobody other than code tinkerers will be able to get Java for free. He also said he's seen Oracle switch its auditing emphasis away from Oracle on VMware towards Java licences. As a result plenty of his clients have been told they'll have to start paying for Java.

He is not, however, surprised by the change.

"I think realistically we always kind of expected Oracle would change licensing for Java," he said.

Oracle’s also updated its support roadmap, revealing that Java SE 11 is due in September 2018 and version 12 in March 2019, both with Oracle’s most attentive support well into the future.

Oracle’s previously signalled it had Java licence changes up its sleeve, so this announcement isn’t a complete surprise. We’re less sure if it is welcome: tell us if it is in the poll below. ®

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