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Oracle makes JDK free

by on16 September 2021

Free is not a good deal

Oracle this week made Oracle JDK “available for free,” for personal, commercial and production use, including quarterly security updates, for a limited time.

However, the use of the word “free” means the software is licensed under the Oracle No-Fee Terms and Conditions (NFTC) license, having been previously under the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) License Agreement for Oracle Java SE.

It does not mean that developers can do what they want and Oracle’s NFTC forbids redistribution of its Java software for a fee. It also does not mean that the NFTC license conforms with the Free Software Definition or the Open Source Definition, both of which require allowing fee-based distribution.

Jim Jagielski, an open-source veteran who helped co-found the Apache Software Foundation and now oversees open source at Salesforce, said it is pretty rubbish.

“It is still a proprietary implementation, and although you are allowed to use it, you get none of the other freedoms normally associated with open source. So when truly free/open-source alternatives exist, what exactly is the incentive to use Oracle’s version?”

In a blog post, Donald Smith, senior director of product management at Oracle, described the license shift as a response to feedback after the Oracle OpenJDK was put under the GPL and customers said they “wanted the trusted, rock-solid Oracle JDK under an unambiguously free terms license, too”.


Last modified on 16 September 2021
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