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From Vizuri's Experts

[FAQ] Switching to OpenJDK from Oracle JDK as Free Support Ends

After January 2019, Oracle will end support for Oracle JDK 8 as they plan to discontinue updates for Java SE 8. Furthermore, users will require an Oracle support contract for use with production workloads for Java versions 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11. 

Long story short, Java will cease to be free for commercial development and production after the end of January. Oracle’s Java Virtual Machines (JDK versions) will remain free only for development, testing, prototyping, and demonstration. Production will trigger royalty fees. The support contracts needed to use any Oracle JDK moving forward can be priced out here. Not sure how this applies to you? Please get in touch and we can answer your questions. 

For those searching for alternative options, OpenJDK support is available through Red Hat. A Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or Middleware subscription will provide support for the following with no additional fees:

  • Dev and Prod for RHEL for any Java application
  • Dev and Prod for Red Hat Middleware on RHEL
  • Dev and Prod for Red Hat Middleware on Windows
  • Dev and Prod for OpenShift Container Platform for any Java application

Can I just stay on Oracle JDK 8 for free?

The short answer is yes, but it would be at great risk to the integrity of your workloads. Not only will Oracle be discontinuing performance-related updates, but they will also not be pushing through any security patches, leaving you vulnerable to a myriad of security issues. We highly recommend updating to a supported version, whether that be another version of Oracle JDK that you pay royalties to use, or to OpenJDK through one of Red Hat’s subscriptions.

I’m a current Red Hat customer. Will I need to do anything?

Red Hat provides OpenJDK support for any Java application running in Developer, QA Test, or Production for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows Desktop and Server operating systems running Red Hat JBoss Middleware.

According to this FAQ released by Red Hat:

“Certain Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Middleware subscriptions bundled Oracle Java SE software. If you purchased these Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Middleware subscriptions on or before November 30, 2017, you had access to this bundled Oracle Java SE software in the Oracle Java content set of your Red Hat Customer Portal account. After November 30, 2017, the Oracle Java SE software was no longer available for download from that location.”

If you have one of these subscriptions, you will need to either purchase ongoing support from Oracle moving forward or switch to OpenJDK for the support included in your subscription. We recommend switching over to OpenJDK for most cases, as you will avoid additional costs.

Refer to this for detailed information on migrating to OpenJDK from Oracle JDK on RHEL.

I’m not a current Red Hat customer but I want to switch to OpenJDK. What should I do?

Become a Red Hat customer. Red Hat offers support for OpenJDK through a variety of subscription options which are going to cost you less than staying with a supported version of Oracle JDK.

If you use a Windows operating system, Red Hat can provide support via a middleware subscription that can continue to run on Windows. If you want to continue using your current middleware, you can switch to RHEL and receive ongoing OpenJDK support through that avenue, as well. We’re happy to discuss your best options if you want to switch to OpenJDK.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your current Java application platform. As a Red Hat Premier Business Partner, Vizuri has a long track record for supporting applications on both OpenJDK and Oracle JDK.

Why can’t I just go with the free community version of OpenJDK?

We have all seen the security breaches in OpenSSL that have allowed attackers to steal proprietary information from companies. You do not want that to happen to you. Only the latest community versions of OpenJDK will be updated with no patching for previous releases. However, with Red Hat support, all versions will be patched. If you need long term support for a particular version, you can get that through a Red Hat subscription that includes OpenJDK.

Legacy systems don’t get frequent Java updates due to the dependency of the applications that run on it, so we encourage you to consider the feasibility of maintaining the most current version of Java in a prompt manner moving forward if you are leaning toward the community version of OpenJDK.  

Isn’t OpenJDK just more… Oracle?

You may have heard that OpenJDK is also an Oracle project, but that isn’t entirely true. Like everything else Red Hat offers, OpenJDK is an open source project, meaning that it is community-driven, and is released under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL 2 and 2+).

Sun Microsystems, the original owner of Java, was purchased by Oracle in 2010. Years before that, Red Hat worked to produce OpenJDK with Sun Microsystems and since then has been an active contributor in the OpenJDK community. Red Hat led OpenJDK 6 in 2013 through its end of life in 2016 and took over stewardship of OpenJDK 7 in 2015.

Will Red Hat have a General Availability release of JDK 11 (LTS)?

Yes, Red Hat released JDK 11 (LTS) for both RHEL and Windows on December 18, 2018.

Does Red Hat provide Flight Recorder with OpenJDK?

It is not provided with OpenJDK 8. It is provided with OpenJDK 11.

Are the code base of patches, updates, etc. the same between OpenJDK in RHEL and OpenJDK on Microsoft Windows?

Yes, aside from some RHEL or Windows-specifics implementations, the patches/updates are the same on both platforms.

Will updates be released simultaneously for OpenJDK on Microsoft Windows and OpenJDK on RHEL?

Yes, updates will be released simultaneously for both OpenJDK on RHEL and OpenJDK on Windows.

What Windows Desktop and Server operating systems are supported for Red Hat OpenJDK?

According to this article, Red Hat provides production support for OpenJDK 8 and 11 on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 when used with JBoss Middleware. No additional entitlement for OpenJDK is needed for users with a valid subscription for JBoss Middleware.

Red Hat provides development support for OpenJDK 8 and 11 on Windows 7, 8, and 10 through the Red Hat Developers site.

  • Development distributions are provided on the Red Hat Developers site for users without RHEL, JBoss Middleware, or OpenJDK entitlements from Red Hat.
  • Development support and distributions for users with RHEL, JBoss Middleware, or OpenJDK entitlements from Red Hat is provided on access.redhat.com.

Red Hat provides production support for OpenJDK 8 and 11 on Windows Desktops (7, 8, and 10) with an additional entitlement. Please get in touch with us for more information.

I'm still not sure what to do.

We want to support you through this change and help you avoid costly royalty and reinstatement fees. Need more information on your options or help with your move from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK? Ask us any time. We’ll be happy to help.

Ben-Johan van der Walt

Ben-Johan van der Walt is a Software Architect/Engineer with over 20 years of experience leading successful projects of various sizes and scopes. He is a seasoned professional, with outstanding project planning, execution, mentoring and support skills. He is always ready for a challenge.