Which free version of java can I use for production environments and or commercial purposes?

The Answer by Speakjava is correct and informative.

In addition, here is a flowchart I made to guide you in choosing a vendor for a Java implementation.

Flowchart guiding you in choosing a vendor for a Java 11 implementation

Or another way to view this: Your particular motivations or situation.

Motivations in choosing a vendor for Java

Oracle made a number of significant changes to how the Java platform is developed, distributed and updated at the same time as the launch of JDK 9.

The key facts to answer your questions are these:

  1. Oracle was using the Oracle Binary Code License (OBCL) for Java. This had field of use restrictions (you needed a commercial license for embedded use) but granted free use of the Oracle JDK for general purpose development and deployment.
  2. As of JDK 11, the license changed to the Oracle Technology Network License Agreement (OTNLA), which requires you to purchase a Java SE Subscription for use in commercial production. This license has also been applied to updates of JDK 8 since April (update 211/212).
  3. As of JDK 11, Oracle eliminated all functional differences between the Oracle JDK and a binary built purely from the OpenJDK source code. The important things no longer in the Oracle JDK 11 are the browser plugin, Java Web Start and JavaFX.
  4. You can continue to use any public Oracle binaries of JDK 7 (and earlier) in production without the need for a Java SE subscription, as the license is still the OBCL (it has not been changed retrospectively). You can also, as you say, use JDK 8 up to update 202 under the OBCL without cost.
  5. There are several options for continuing to use JDK 8 with updates for free. One of those is Zulu Community from Azul (who I work for). This is a free, TCK-tested binary with a couple of additional backported features (TLS 1.3 and Java Flight Recorder). Since this passes the TCK, from a functional perspective, it is identical to the Oracle JDK. Unless you are using Applets or Web Start your applications will work in the same way as with the Oracle JDK.
  6. If you want to move to JDK 11 (the current long-term support release, as defined by Oracle but followed by all other JDK providers), then you will need to choose one of the free distributions (like Zulu Community).

It is highly recommended to ensure your JDK is up to date and contains all relevant security patches. Continuing to use an older version could expose you to significant security exploits.

Licences OTN vs BCL

Oracle JDK 8 (aka 1.8) no longer uses BCL (Binary Code License). From April 16, 2019, Oracle JDK 8 uses the OTN (Oracle Technology Network) license, which requires you to create an Oracle account to download JDK 8 and payment!!

BCL = Oracle Binary Code License

  • You can use it, but you can't modify it
  • You agree not to sue Oracle if anything goes wrong
  • You can redistribute/publish it (so that you can sell products with Java embedded), but if you do, you agree to indemnify Oracle; so if someone sues you, you can't drag Oracle into it.

It's really just there to protect Oracle's intellectual property and to shield them from being sued when bugs are found.

source: https://www.quora.com/In-short-what-does-the-Oracle-Binary-Code-License-Agreement-for-Java-SE-actually-say-or-prohibit/answer/Jon-Harley

As a summary: FREE with risks and without any fault of Oracle

OTN = Oracle Technology Network License

As a summary: Opposite to BCL and FREE just for development in your laptop. For enterprises, you must PAY

FREE with risks: java 4,5,6 y 7

Oracle does not show any message related to license changes for java 4,5,6 y 7 downloads. So we can use them for development and production deployment, accepting issues and security problems.

  • Oracle downloads:
  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/java-archive-javase-v14-downloads.html
  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/java-archive-javase5-downloads.html
  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase-java-archive-javase6-downloads.html
  • https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/java-archive-downloads-javase7-521261.html

Legacy versions prior to 7, does not have and will not have any update. Maybe a sales contact could be a solution if your have a Legacy Systems running over this java old versions.

FREE with risks: java 8 update 202

Just Java SE 8 JDK 8u202 and earlier versions are free for development and production deployment. You can download it from:

  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase/javase8-archive-downloads.html

NOT FREE anymore but safe: java 8 update 221

Since the java 8 update at April 16, 2019 8u221, all versions and updates for (java 8,9,10,11,14) has no cost just for personal use and development purposes. Any other use, needs a Commercial License.

  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase/javase-jdk8-downloads.html latest update 251
  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase/javase8u211-later-archive-downloads.html previous updates (241,231,221,212,211)

FREE and safe : Open jdk 8

AdoptOpenJDK uses infrastructure, build and test scripts to produce prebuilt binaries from OpenJDK™ class libraries and a choice of either OpenJDK or the Eclipse OpenJ9 VM. All AdoptOpenJDK binaries and scripts are open source licensed and available for free. OpenJDK is a ORACLE initiative. More details here: https://adoptopenjdk.net/


From https://github.com/AdoptOpenJDK/openjdk8-upstream-binaries/releases/tag/jdk8u262-b10


apt-get install openjdk-8-jre (just run apps)
apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk (develop and run)

From https://openjdk.java.net/install/

FREE and safe : Zulu Community (java 6,7,8,11,13,14,15)

Zulu Community Downloads:

  • https://www.azul.com/downloads/zulu-community/?architecture=x86-64-bit&package=jdk

FREE and safe : OpenJDK (java 8,9,10,11,12,13,14)

  • https://jdk.java.net/archive/
  • https://openjdk.java.net/install/

Free and Open Source

The following implementations, listed in alphabetical order, are open source and free to use:

  • AdoptOpenJDK
  • Amazon Corretto
  • Azul Zulu
  • Bck2Brwsr
  • Codename One
  • DoppioJVM
  • Eclipse OpenJ9
  • GraalVM CE
  • HaikuVM
  • HotSpot
  • Jamiga
  • JamVM
  • Jelatine JVM
  • Jikes RVM (Jikes Research Virtual Machine)
  • JVM.go
  • leJOS
  • Maxine
  • Multi-OS Engine
  • RopeVM
  • uJVM

Source: https://www.baeldung.com/oracle-jdk-vs-openjdk

Proprietary Implementations

There are also copyrighted implementations:

  • Azul Zing JVM
  • CEE-J
  • Excelsior JET (Discontinued)
  • GraalVM EE
  • Imsys AB
  • JamaicaVM (aicas)
  • JBlend (Aplix)
  • MicroJvm (IS2T – Industrial Smart Software Technology)
  • OJVM
  • PTC Perc
  • Waratek CloudVM for Java

Source: https://www.baeldung.com/oracle-jdk-vs-openjdk

Oracle Java 9 y 10 : Bye bye

Oracle Java 9 y 10 has reached end of support.

  • https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jdk9-downloads-3848520.html
  • https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jdk10-downloads-4416644.html

More References

  • https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/overview/faqs-jsp-136696.html
  • https://www.oracle.com/downloads/licenses/javase-license1.html
  • https://openjdk.java.net/projects/jdk8/
  • https://www.oracle.com/java/technologies/javase/8u-relnotes.html
  • https://gist.github.com/jrichardsz/83db09163ca9a0db4c9cd4f91cbf0598/