Free of charge vs. commercial use

End-user organizations should be aware of which specific Java software programs are required to be licensed separately vs what Java software programs can be used free of charge and in what circumstances this applies. Currently Oracle differentiates between free of charge and commercial Java software.

Java SE6 and Java SE7

The older versions of Java (SE6 or SE7) are still provided to help developers to debug issues in older systems. Oracle however does not update these older versions with the latest security patches and Oracle does not recommended these versions for use in production.

Java SE8

Java Standard Edition 8 (Java SE8) includes the following features/components:

Java Development Kit (JDK), including the JavaFX Software Development Kit (SDK),

Java Runtime Environment (JRE), (Server and regular packages)

JavaFX Runtime,

JRockit JDK

How you make use of Java SE8 determines if you are required to pay fees for its usage. In case of “General Purpose Computing” you can make use of the software without paying any additional fees; in case of different usage, you are required to pay additional fees towards Oracle.

General Purpose Computing Usage:

The current version of Java Standard Edition (Java SE8) can be used free of charge and is available for redistribution for “general purpose computing”. A general-purpose computer is a computer that, given the appropriate application and required time, should be able to perform most common computing tasks.

Personal computers, including desktops, notebooks, smartphones and tablets, are all examples of general-purpose computers. The term “general purpose computing” is used to differentiate general-purpose computers from other types, in particular the specialized embedded computers used in intelligent systems.

Non-General Purpose Computing Usage:

The current version of Java Standard Edition (Java SE8) can be used, but requires additional fees, in case:

the use of the software in systems and solutions provides dedicated functionality (other than General Purpose Computing Usage)​


it is designed for use in embedded or function-specific software applications

Any usage of the Java SE8 software programs that does not fall under the “General Purpose Computing Usage”, is by definition “Non-General Purpose Computing Usage” and as such required to be licensed separately through Oracle Corporation.

More information can also be found in our white paper “Oracle Java – The most common license compliance issues seen ”. Our new white paper format is mobile friendly, so you can easily read it on your tablet or mobile phone.

This article was published on 27-10-2016