IBM FAQ to Oracle’s Java Products Commercial Licensing

Oracle has announced that starting in January 2019 they will implement new pricing for Oracle’s Java™ products for commercial use. Their commercial Java products includes the Oracle Java™ Developer Kit (JDK), Java™ Runtime Environment (JRE) and related commercial features.  As an IBM customer, you should be aware of this change and understand how it may impact you. This FAQ answers many of questions you may have and recommendations for alternative solutions.

If you are a current IBM customer using an IBM product that includes an Oracle JDK, IBM’s Java Software Developer Kit (SDK) and/or IBM’s or Oracle’s JRE under the Licensed IBM Product, then you are using the JDK/SDK and JRE under the IBM product license and not under Oracle’s license. In this scenario the Oracle commercial pricing will not be applicable to the IBM product. However, if your organization is using Oracle’s Java commercially under the Oracle license, then your organization could incur additional fees from Oracle.

We recommend you read this FAQ for more information and if you have more questions, contact your IBM account representative.

Oracle’s Announcement to charge for Oracle’s JDKs/JREs

Oracle announced that, starting in 2019, commercial use of the Java SE JREs will require a paid commercial license. Is IBM making any similar changes concerning use of its free-to-use Java SDKs/JREs, available for download from developerWorks?

No, developerWorks hosts free, unsupported Java SDKs / JREs.

When is this going to happen?

Oracle’s stated date is January 2019.

Here is a summary of how this will differ from today:

Java binary Vendor Free for personal use Free commercial use Free security updates Support contract option
IBM SDK for Java v8 IBM Yes Yes Yes Yes1
OpenJDK+OpenJ9 v8 Adopt Yes Yes Yes2 Yes3
Oracle Java SE v8 (pre Jan 2019) Oracle Yes Yes Yes Yes
Oracle Java SE v8 (post Jan 2019) Oracle Yes No No Yes


In essence this means that from January 2019 there will no longer be any free security updates provided by Oracle to Java Version 8. Furthermore, if you are using Oracle licensed Java products in a commercial environment then you may incur a license cost.

I’m an IBM customer using the JDK, SDK and/or JRE. What if I’m approached by Oracle?

If I’m using the JDK, SDK and/or JRE included in an IBM product (i.e. it is installed with the product and is maintained by IBM Product installation managers), am I subject to Oracle’s change in licensing for commercial use today or beyond January 2019?

No, IBM customers have a continued right to use these Java technology components at no additional cost under the terms of the IBM product license. IBM has a comprehensive agreement with Oracle that gives IBM rights to bundle Java technology with IBM products and Oracle’s commercial pricing for their Java products will have no effect on the IBM customer using Java products under the IBM product license. There is no requirement to contact Oracle for licensing or support of Java products in these cases.

Note that the Java products supplied with the IBM product can only be used for the purpose of using the IBM product and should not be used for other program or application development.

Would I be subject to auditing by Oracle for additional Java pricing – even if I’m using the Java JDK, SDK, JRE under and within the terms of an IBM Product license?

Oracle hasn’t provided details on how it intends to enforce its new support model. And although you are in compliance with the IBM Product license, Oracle could attempt to initiate audits of companies it suspects are using Java products commercially under their licenses.

If audited, is there a chance that I could be charged by Oracle- even if I’m using the Java JDK, SDK, JRE under and within the terms of an IBM Product license?

No. However, Oracle hasn’t provided details on how it intends to enforce its new support model. But as long as you are using the Java JDK, SDK, and/or JRE only under and within the terms of an IBM Product license, then all commercial rights to use these Java technology components are already covered and it would be inappropriate for Oracle to charge you.

What if Oracle tries to charge us for using Java products under the IBM Product license?

You should contact your local IBM representative for assistance.

Platforms affected by Oracle’s announcement:

What Platforms are affected by Oracle’s announcement?

Platforms affected include: Solaris, Windows, Linux, and MacOS. However, if you, or your business are licensing Java technology components on those platforms under the IBM Product license there is no requirement to contact Oracle for licensing or support.

Will IBM SDKs/JREs remain free to install on its currently supported platforms?

Yes. IBM SDKs/JREs will remain available for many platforms from developerWorks and will continue to be available to IBM customers with entitlements to IBM software that bundle Java SDKs/JREs. This includes Java SDKs/JREs shipped for IBM operating systems, e.g. AIX, z/OS, IBM i (OS/400), or IBM products, e.g. WAS, MQ, IIB, DB2, etc.

If I’m using an Oracle product on an IBM System (Linux on Z, Linux on Power, AIX) that requires Java SDKs/JREs, will Oracle’s policy change impact me?

No, SDKs/JREs for IBM Systems are provided with IBM Products and from IBM on developerWorks. In addition, OpenJDK with OpenJ9 builds for these platforms are available at AdoptOpenJDK. Oracle’s policy change has no impact on any of the above.

What if I’m using the JDKs/JREs directly from Oracle?

What if I’m using an IBM Product that does not include but requires a system JRE be obtained, and I’ve downloaded it directly from Oracle and under their license? Am I affected?

Yes, if you downloaded your Java SE binary from and are using it in any of your products, devices, or platforms for commercial purposes, or within your business then you are affected by this announcement.

IBM recommends you choose an equivalent IBM JRE, or a Java build of an open-source JRE (based on OpenJDK) such as OpenJDK with Eclipse OpenJ9 (see AdoptOpenJDK), which will remain free-to-use for commercial purposes.

If you want support, IBM can provide a cost effective option through our IBM Runtimes for Business offering, which includes Java application monitoring and management.

Java Support:

Does IBM sell support for Java SDKs/JREs?

Yes. Customers that want 24×7 support for Java can purchase the IBM Runtimes for Business offering. This provides support for OpenJDK + OpenJ9 binaries available from the AdoptOpenJDK community. The OpenJ9 VM is IBM’s open source version of the JVM used in the IBM SDK for Java and which is integral to many IBM products that customers deploy to run their enterprise Java workloads today. The IBM Runtimes for Business offering does not include support for Oracle Java nor does it include support for OpenJDK with Hotspot.

Can I buy support for SDKs/JREs from IBM?

Yes. Support for the SDKs/JREs is included as part of the installation of an IBM Product is included in the support entitlement for the IBM operating system or other IBM product that includes it. If support for SDKs/JREs outside of these use cases is needed, IBM sells the IBM Runtimes for Business offering, which provides support for OpenJDK+OpenJ9 Java binaries available from AdoptOpenJDK. For more information, see the Marketplace page.

How much does IBM Runtimes for Business cost?

IBM provides a very cost effective support contract, please see the Marketplace page or speak to your IBM Account Representative.

How is IBM supporting the Java community?

IBM has a long-standing commitment to Java technology and the Java community. You can read about our latest commitment in the blog post: IBM Supporting the Java Community.

Who can I contact for more details?

Please contact or your account representatives/advocates for inquiries concerning any additional details not included in the above.