Oracle Java 21 Release and Its Impact On Java Licensing

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by | September 20, 2023

Oracle Java SE 21 has now been released (press release here) meaning there is now only 1 year of no-cost updates to Oracle Java SE 17 left, after which future releases will be governed by the OTN License Agreement for Oracle Java SE (the same agreement which covers Oracle Java SE 8u211 through to Oracle Java SE 16) — and so you may (in Sept 2024) need to pay for continued use of version 17 not under the OTN agreement. You should move to Java SE 21 as soon as possible.

Oracle Java SE 11 (having been released 5 years ago) also enters Extended Support — allowing access to on-going support and updates for no fee (this has been waived). This has been extended until 2032.


Today, 19 September 2023, Oracle has released Oracle Java SE 21 — normally this would hold no interest for those involved in Oracle licensing, however the release of Java 21 has particular relevance which has an impact on earlier releases, specifically Oracle Java SE 17. Oracle Java SE 11 also transitions from Premier Support to Extended Support, with no sign of a waiver of the costs.

Oracle Java SE 17 was released in September 2021 under Oracle’s No Fee Terms and Conditions (NFTC) — see background here; this is very different to the OTN Java license agreement which is non-permissive (i.e. you likely need to pay unless you meet certain limitations).

The NFTC agreement is permissive and allows usage without commercial subscription: the ‘gotcha’ is that you receive three years of no-cost releases and only have one year to migrate between Oracle Java SE 17 and Oracle Java SE 21 without possible penalty.

Now that Oracle Java SE 21 is released, you have 1 year to migrate Oracle Java SE 17 to Oracle Java SE 21 without having to purchase a subscription.

In one years’ time, any future updates to Java SE 17 (i.e. Java SE 17.0.13+) will be released under the OTN License Agreement for Oracle Java SE agreement — should this not cover your usage (e.g. production usage), you will need to have a commercial subscription in place (see this FAQ for more information).

You will be able to continue using 17.0.1 →17.0.12 under the original NFTC agreement beyond the September 2024 deadline.

Oracle Java SE 11 has entered Extended Support which Oracle have made available until January 2032 and have waived the associated fee.


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