Java, Licensing,

Is Java JDK 17 free?

Short Answer

Yes. Oracle Java 17 is provided under Oracle’s free-to-use license--including for production--for three years (until September 2024).

In-Depth Answer

Oracle stated in its press release in September, 2021, that Java 17 was released under a new NFTC license model, explained in an article published by product management.

Confused? Most are.

First, NFTC seems to indicate that if you are already paying for Java, then you must continue even as you upgrade to 17. Think of this as Oracle trying to apply its matching service levels policy to Java subscriptions.

Second, given Oracle’s pivots from free, to fee, and back to free, customers are wondering whether to trust there won’t be another license change once they upgrade. The aforementioned article indicates quarterly updates will be provided for free as long as NFTC applies to 17. This is good enough for us at Remend at least with regards to version 17.

Customers not paying for Java that can upgrade to 17 for free aren’t likely to subscribe from Oracle. After all, most customers don’t require Oracle support outside of quarterly updates and aren’t using Oracle’s commercial features.

If you need active support, then consider Azul.

Pesky Java sales reps will claim past usage must be paid for since 8u211 up to SE 17 still requires a commercial subscription, i.e., NFTC isn’t backwards compatible. NFTC at least mentions Java’s embedded spyware (er… the auto-updater) so Oracle knows what you’ve been downloading and installing.

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