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IBM is committed to ensuring that Java remains open and free

Recently, Oracle has made it clear that they expect users to pay for the privilege of using Java. IBM has a different view. Here are the four things you need to know:


Java underpins the world, and it’s in all of our interests to keep it open and free

IBM has a vested interest in making Java the best runtime for business applications across all of its platforms. Since the beginning, IBM recognized Java as the game-changing opportunity that it was. The opportunity to build a new platform that brought all the computing vendors together — to have one very large community, rather than many small ones. To create a software platform that could get the best out of the hardware available (however much it changed), and yet preserve our customers’ investments and our own product investments.

IBM saw that Java would allow our customers to innovate in new ways and much more quickly than ever before. And they did — in finance, security, healthcare, communications, travel, logistics, aerospace, construction, and many more industries. It’s no joke to say that IBM’s Java platforms underpin the world’s economy.

Requiring users to pay for Java undermines the true value of Java as an enabler. Everyone benefits from free, secure, open Java. Now, that’s not to say that the developers working on Java and JVMs don’t deserve to get paid — these highly skilled engineers are providing a stable, performant, fundamental platform for protecting and building true revenue opportunities.

Recent events have shown that we should not take Java runtimes for granted. Java is so important to the world that it must be free to distribute, change, and improve. In addition, free versions of Java binaries, with long-term security updates for Long Term Support (LTS) releases, must continue to be available as a viable option for everyone.


IBM is a key player in all of the important Java technologies: all of those technologies are open and free

IBM is committed to ensuring that Java remains open and free by working at OpenJDK, AdoptOpenJDK, and the Eclipse Foundation.

In 2017, IBM completed the open sourcing of our industry-leading JVM at the Eclipse Foundation. The Eclipse Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organization, thinks about open source in a way that makes sense to IBM. The Oracle Java EE 8 and GlassFish code has also moved to Eclipse under the Jakarta EE project, where it joins the MicroProfile project as a location to modernize and advance the enterprise platform technologies.

Today, IBM’s Java runtime is 100% open source — you can get the same version of the technology that IBM uses in all of its products and that our customers use too. Of course, if you don’t want to build from source yourself, you can simply download Java, Version 8 and beyond from the AdoptOpenJDK website. You can be assured that the download has been built and rigorously tested across multiple platforms from the same codebase. Read this blog for more details.


IBM’s commitment to Open Java is such that its own commercial Java offerings are based off the OpenJDK codebase and AdoptOpenJDK binaries

IBM’s approach to support is focused and serious (as you’d imagine from a company whose customers are the largest ones around). At IBM, support means more than regular security fixes, which are free in the community. It means you can pick up the phone or electronic-equivalent and talk to our engineers to get help with diagnosing and fixing your Java runtime issues. For enterprises requiring this level of support, IBM provides a commercial support offering around the free AdoptOpenJDK binaries.

To provide this level of support, IBM needs to be certain that the base quality of the Java runtime, the way the runtime is built and tested, is second to none. As a platinum sponsor of the AdoptOpenJDK community, IBM is working with leading Java communities, other Java vendors, and industry partners to ensure that all the binaries produced by the AdoptOpenJDK community are consistent and thoroughly tested. Whatever your platform of choice, you can be certain that it is built and tested in the same way, and from the same codebase, as all the others.

The AdoptOpenJDK community has had over 6 million downloads to date, so it’s clear that many people agree with their approach.


Switching to the IBM-supported offering from AdoptOpenJDK is easy, and gives you the option to greatly improve performance and serviceability

Using AdoptOpenJDK with Eclipse OpenJ9 in place of the Oracle Java SE offering is straightforward. If you opt for the OpenJ9 JVM, instead of HotSpot, you may be surprised to see that your runtime footprint is substantially reduced by 60%, while startup time is improved by 40% (great for cloud bills!) — all with no impact to your throughput. For more details, read the blog “OpenJDK with Eclipse OpenJ9: No worries, just improvements“.


It’s clear that the Java community is working together to ensure that Java remains open and freely available. Here are the key points to take away:

  • The AdoptOpenJDK community provides Java runtimes that are always free to run, have long support life times, and are regularly updated.
  • The AdoptOpenJDK community is backed by many companies, including IBM and Microsoft, and believes that it is in all of our interests to keep Java free.
  • IBM’s commitment to the AdoptOpenJDK initiative is such that its own Java offerings are based off of the AdoptOpenJDK binaries.
  • Switching to AdoptOpenJDK is easy, and the OpenJ9 option gives you greatly improved performance and serviceability.
  • IBM provides commercial support for AdoptOpenJDK, for those who need more than the regular free security updates.

Next steps

Download a binary of OpenJDK with OpenJ9 today. If Docker is more your style, then pull one of the OpenJDK with OpenJ9 Docker images: adoptopenjdk/openjdk8-openj9

If your corporate policies require an enterprise-grade support contract for software, check out the IBM’s support offering for OpenJDK.