Oracle Java 2023 licensing changes and implications
This blog post was written by: Tom Oostveen and Anubhav Chaudhary, ITAM Consultants.

Since the release
 of the new Oracle Java pricing model on the 23rd of January this year, we have received many questions from customers. Everyone is keen to know the specifics of these Oracle Java 2023 licensing changes and how these changes will impact you. In this blog, we highlight the main changes in the pricing model and present a brief overview on the implications.


Previous vs New pricing model for Java
Before we dive deeper into the implications for users and the best responsive actions, it is best to summarize the changes in the pricing model itself and then go over the effects this will have on your software spend. Formerly, Oracle Java used to employ a Named User Plus Licensing system (user licenses) and Processor licenses (server licensing). Now, it has abandoned this model in favor of an “Employee for Java SE Universal Subscription” model. In this model the license metric is changed to the number of employees only, with different price tiers for different ranges of employee numbers. What this means is that: 

1. You will need to pay for all internal and external employees within your organization whether you are using the software or not. This leads to massive, unpredicted increases in your software spend.
You cannot purchase user and processor licenses from Oracle any longer. 

Please note – Existing licensing agreements eg: Java BCL, Java OTN, and Java NFTC will remain valid. 


Implications for current and potential users
Given that Oracle is now using the total employee count as its new license metric, this means that most companies will see a significant rise in software spend as every employee will have to be licensed. Even though the majority might not even use the software. However, this can be beneficial if you’re a small firm with a large server environment that uses Java (processor licenses were more expensive than user licenses).  

What to do as a customer?
As a customer, the first and most important step is (if you do not already have one) to get an overview of the Oracle installations within your company. It is essential to find out which versions are in use as you only need to pay for specific versions of Oracle.

Paid vs Free versions of Oracle
Oracle’s licensing model requires that customers pay for any version of “Oracle Java JDK” that were released AFTER the 211 patches. Furthermore, “Oracle JDK version 17” and above are free to use, provided you keep upgrading to the newest patch to stay compliant. However, keep in mind that some components of Oracle need to be paid for, even if you are using the free version. For example:


  • Java Advanced management console 
  • JRE usage tracking 
  • Jrockit mission control, Flight recorder, Real time deterministic GC 
  • Java mission control 
  • Java flight recorder 
  • Java enterprise (MSI) Installer 

Actionable steps to take against the Oracle Java 2023 licensing changes

  • Gather the data on which versions are in use and switch to free versions of Oracle software or uninstall all paid versions and implement a companywide restriction on the usage/installation of the licensable versions. 
  • Switch to Oracle JDK version 17+ and implement an update procedure which upgrades the Java installations every 6 months.  
  • Remove all Oracle Java instances and opt for free alternatives such as Open JDK, an open-source alternative. 
  • If you prefer to avoid the need to check and catalog all the different versions, you could also opt to simply pay for/renew the Oracle software. 


The new Oracle Java pricing model prescribes that every employee within a company, both internal and external, is counted to calculate the cost of purchasing Oracle Java. While smaller firms that have large server environments could benefit from this new pricing model, most Oracle customers will see large increases in their Java licensing costs. If you do want to limit your software spend, you will need to change to free versions of the software and/or renegotiate your contract. It is imperative that you need a clear overview of your current usage (versions and users).  


Interested? Let’s get in touch!
So do you want to know where your organization currently stands in terms Oracle Java licensing? Let’s get in touch then! We are happy to take a closer look with you at where your organization currently stands with Oracle Java and other licensing and see which possibilities and software strategies might suit your organisation. So feel free to book a meeting with our specialists:

Feel free to ask a question!