Oracle to OpenJDK Migration
April 2, 2019

Java Experts on Tips for Oracle JDK to OpenJDK Migration: Part 3


Welcome to part three of our three-part blog series (read part one and part two), where we feature expert commentary on OpenJDK, Oracle JDK, and more.

In 2018, Oracle announced that after January 2019, businesses will need to purchase a commercial license (i.e., from Oracle) in order to receive software updates. Further details are available at the Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap page. OpenLogic enterprise architects help companies worldwide make this migration secure, allowing your team to get up and running quickly on a more cost-effective solution.

We reached out to Java experts to get their thoughts. Here’s the questions we posed to each expert:

What tips can you share for companies that migrate from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK?

Read their answers below.


Dr. Heinz M. Kabutz

Dr. Heinz M. Kabutz from

Dr. Heinz Kabutz (@heinzkabutz) is a Java expert with

Companies should probably consider migrating away from OracleJDK to OpenJDK. They should also consider an upgrade plan that moves with the official releases of OpenJDK. That way, they get all the latest features.  


Brad Wood

Brad Wood, lead architect and developer advocate

Brad Wood (@bdw429s) is Lead Architect and Developer Advocate at Ortus Solutions, Corp.

If necessary, check to see if your organization has any restrictions on the approved software you can use. Perform a test of your system on OpenJDK and make the switch. Most of the OpenJDK issues I've seen are related to missing libraries bundled with the builds so choose a provider that tests their builds well, and ideally passes the JCK (Java Compatibility Kit). After you make the move, ensure you've subscribed to an update channel from your OpenJDK provider so you don't miss important updates.


Bill Crowell

Bill Crowell: Enterprise Architect at OpenLogic

I get asked a lot of questions by customers considering a migration to OpenJDK.

Two of the biggest questions are:

What differences are there between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK?

There are some differences between Oracle JDK 8 and OpenJDK 8 such as the cryptography policy, but in general, server-side code running on an application server should be unaffected. If you are running a desktop application using a GUI library such as JavaFX, then this is something you will need to watch out for. If you are using Oracle JDK 11, then the transition to OpenJDK 11 should be seamless. The only real way to know is to switch from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK via the JAVA_HOME environment variable and then test.

Can I build OpenJDK myself?

If you decide to build OpenJDK from scratch, then it is not trivial unless you have someone with experience. If you want a prebuilt version of OpenJDK, then AdoptOpenJDK or OpenJ9 are 2 available options.

Justin Reock

Justin Reock: Chief Architect at OpenLogic

Justin Reock (@jreock) is a free software evangelist and the Chief Architect for OpenLogic. He resides in Asheville, NC.

A successful migration should involve a thorough inventory of your applications that will be migrated. This inventory should include a risk and time-to-migrate analysis, and a roadmap should be followed which starts with the lowest risk and lowest time to migrate applications. This way your organization will recognize immediate success and become comfortable with the process, both technically and culturally.

For very large migrations, seeking consulting services from an organization (like OpenLogic) who is experienced in this kind of migration can make all the difference in the world, and will still represent both direct and organizational cost savings over time.

Considering OpenJDK? It's time to decide.

Since Oracle announced it is starting to charge for its Java SE subscriptions, is your organization looking into your options? It’s critical for development leaders to make an informed choice that considers the organization-wide impacts on cost, time, resources, and support for maintaining Java applications. In this February 2019 report, Forrester outlines four alternatives for organizations to consider:

  • Continue to use Oracle Java SE
  • Transition to a supported build of OpenJDK
  • Embrace the OpenJDK community model
  • Do nothing (and hope for the best)

The time to decide is now. Read this report from Forrester to learn more about Oracle’s Java SE subscription changes and determine the right path for your organization.