So I'm new to both freelance development and software licensing. However, I still managed to convince a company to let me develop a small piece of software for them (woohoo!).

The company runs JRE 8 so I need to develop in SDK 8. However, I'm having a little trouble understanding exactly how the OTN License Agreement for Java SE works. Per Oracle's website:

This license permits personal use, development, testing, prototyping, demonstrating and some other uses at no cost

It allows for development but I know there's a difference between development and production, but I'm not sure exactly what that difference is or how either is legally defined.

So, if I'm going to develop and build (i.e. compile) my code using Oracle's JDK 8 and then sell a license to my client, do I need to buy a license from Oracle to do that? Or is it only the end user who must have a license?

No matter what, I would be fine using OpenJDK since it is GPL w/ Classpath, correct? Would I be better off just using OpenJDK anyways so I don't have to worry about any of this?

  • 1
    You and your customers would be much better of using the supported Java 11. Jul 1, 2019 at 22:16
  • Sure, my customer can, and should, use a supported JRE for their business operations but that is up to them. As a developer, I don't really need to develop in Java 11 or have LTS because all future Java versions should be backwards compatible with my binaries. In fact, I cannot develop in 11 even if I desired to since my customer still uses 8 and I have no control over them, so that is wholly unhelpful. I'm asking if the OTN license for 8 permits me to develop and sell closed source software.
    – Jack
    Jul 2, 2019 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


You can use either one and it doesn't matter. Take minecraft for example. The microsoft/mojang company has earned billions of dollars in revenue using the Oracle JDK 8, without paying a cent to oracle.

I would honestly use Oracle's JDK 8 because it's faster performance-wise. The main difference is OpenJDK updates more.

Hope this helps!

edit: Also, congrats on getting a job for a company! Hopefully it all goes well.

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