Today, software development teams are under more pressure than ever to deliver feature-rich software to customers — faster and for less money.
Now that the Oracle JDK subscription model has changed, you may be looking at options, including the free and open source OpenJDK.
Watch the webinar below for a full comparison of the differences — or keep reading for a recap.
OpenJDK is the open source alternative to Oracle JDK.
As an open source project, it is supported by the public community. However, because of its global popularity, the OpenJDK community includes individual JDK and Java contributors as well as corporate sponsors such as Red Hat, IBM, Azul Systems, Apple, and SAP.
Originally, the community JDK was created so that an open source and freely redistributable version of Java could be made available to users of the Fedora operating system. Oracle JDK was closed source and couldn't be distributed through public software channels, so there was a need for an open-source Java version that could be bundled with Linux distributions.
The original build process was clunky and complicated, partially because developers needed a JDK to compile it. At the time, that meant using the Sun JDK. However, the Sun JDK license made parts of the preliminary OpenJDK package proprietary and not eligible for public distribution as free software. To overcome this obstacle, Red Hat launched the IcedTea project, which was capable of bootstrapping using GNU components.
After two years of development, OpenJDK successfully passed the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for Java. This was a huge milestone because it meant that it was a suitable and fully compatible replacement for Java and proprietary JDKs such as Oracle JDK.
Fast forward to 2019, and OpenJDK is now upstream from every major Java release, including Oracle JDK. All new Java development begins with OpenJDK. And all enhancements to it make their way into proprietary JDK versions, including Oracle JDK, Adopt OpenJDK, Azul, and IBM OpenJ9.
To ensure the program is open, safe, and freely redistributable, the project:
In other words, software built with OpenJDK is not subject to copyright requirements — so anyone can use it for innovation!
As of January 2019, public updates for Oracle Java SE 8 are no longer available for business, commercial, or production use without a commercial license. In addition, license costs have increased dramatically. Without a license, users are unable to receive critical updates needed to protect their software from known risks and take advantage of the new capabilities.
According to the Forrester report, Weighing the Options to Oracle's New Java SE Subscription, as soon as Oracle announced the Oracle JDK license change, many well-informed developers immediately began sizing up their Java support options.
The report summarizes the key questions developers are asking — and outlines four alternatives for organizations to consider:
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This is the least disruptive and typically, the most costly option. The advantage is that you can move forward with business as usual, without having to migrate any systems. however, you will need to pay for an Oracle Java SE license, and you will have to pay for future price increases, with little warning. In addition, you will have less control over the future of your application.
By migrating applications from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK, you will realize significant cost reductions. And you will have free access to all OpenJDK features and security patches. However, migrating applications to OpenJDK involves work. And you will need to transition from an Oracle support model to a community support model.
Organizations can overcome these challenges by engaging a company, such as OpenLogic. In addition to helping organizations migrate, OpenLogic provides enterprise-level support options that include mission-critical SLAs for OpenJDK as well as hundreds of other open source technologies. So, as an OpenLogic customer, you will receive enterprise support from open source experts for all your open source technologies — including applications developed with OpenJDK.
You can also opt to migrate applications to OpenJDK and take full ownership over their enterprise support requirements. Teams who are evaluating this approach should ensure they have in-house resources in place to monitor the applications for availability, quickly install software updates, and provide on-demand support to the application teams when any questions or issues arise. While this option gives you the most freedom, it also has the highest risk.
Choosing this option now can create significant risk, because you will lack insight into:
And without this insight, you will lose the ability to quickly make critical, strategic decisions. That is why the Forrester report "heavily discounts this option" — and so do we.
Considering a migration from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK? Let's talk.
Our OpenJDK experts are ready and waiting to help you make a successful migration to OpenJDK. Plus, we provide long-term OpenJDK support, helping you get greater ROI out of OpenJDK.
Talk to one of our OpenJDK experts today to learn how we can help you.
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Chief Architect, Perforce Software
Justin has over 20 years of experience working in various software roles. He is an outspoken free software evangelist, delivering enterprise solutions, technical leadership, and community education on databases, architectures, and integration projects.