United States here. I have a client that I would like to build a small suite of Java 8+ applications for to be installed on their office desktops and servers. This requires the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed on all of those computers/servers as well.

Their IT department is telling me that installing Java will require a license & fees for the JRE.

Googling myself I have found a mixture of answers, none of which are definitive.

Some articles state that Java is and will continue to be totally free for commercial use, with the exception of certain optional add-ons like Mission Control and Flight Recorder.

Other articles state that as of January 2019, Java will require licenses for commercial use.

Other articles state that different rules will be applied to different versions of the JRE.

Which is it? If there are rules/conditions based on the versions, what are they?

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    This is not a legal question really but yes java is free for the end user. – Putvi Nov 13 '19 at 18:08
  • Thanks (+1) It's a licensing question, and licensing/IP is (I believe...maybe I'm wrong!) absolutely on topic here. Also @Putvi I appreciate you weighing in here, but do you have any definitive articles you could point me to? I can't go back to their IT department and say, "Hey guys, this dude named Putvi on StackExchange says its free, so it must be!" If you could give me more ammunition to work with it would be greatly appreciated! – hotmeatballsoup Nov 13 '19 at 18:10
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    IIRC if you want Oracle supported Java (commercially), you need a licensing agreement. Otherwise you need to switch to OpenJDK. If you just want the JRE for a business, it's pretty murky. I imagine Oracle will want you to pay. – pboss3010 Nov 13 '19 at 18:47
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because doesn't seem to be about free/open source software. – curiousdannii Nov 13 '19 at 22:53
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    Part of the answer is that there does exist a version of the JRE that is licensed under the GPL (OpenJDK), so questions about that version (and, by extension, at least some consideration of how it contrasts with a commercially-licensed version) seems on-topic, though this question doesn't make that FLOSS-specific context very apparent, and the extent to which this question can be answered within the on-topic bounds of this site is probably not the full scope of the question as written. – apsillers Nov 14 '19 at 0:16

There're several different JRE available with different licenses. Two most prominent are:

As for JDK, OpenJDK is still free and GPL. Oracle JDK does not look as free anymore (https://java.com/en/download/faq/distribution.xml).

So, if you stick to OpenJDK (there's no many reasons why you can't/shouldn't) - it would be free.

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  • so does that mean, to be free we need to use OpenJDK and Oracle JRE? Or does the OpenJKD have the JRE as well? – JackDev Mar 27 at 1:30
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    OpenJDK includes JRE as well – Alexander Pushkarev Mar 28 at 8:59
  • The Oracle license in your link states free usage for development purpose, but is you intend to use it in production, you should pay I think. It's still unclear for me if the JRE and JDK shares the same licensing policy, if yes, then JRE is paid for Oracle. – рüффп Aug 28 at 10:50
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    +1 for recommending OpenJDK which is free whatever version you use. We already switched all our systems from Oracle to OpenJDK and the switch was quite smooth. – рüффп Aug 28 at 10:55

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