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Further clarity on Oracle Java per-employee licensing

January 30, 2023BY AJ Witt

Further details have emerged regarding the impact of Oracle’s change to Java licensing announced in January 2023. For a reminder of that change see our article written in conjunction with Oracle Course Leader Richard Spithoven.

Oracle have now updated their FAQ regarding the change which can be accessed here. Updates of note include:

Existing licensees can renew NUP/Processor licenses

Customers with existing agreements for Named User Plus (NUP) or Processor licenses may continue to renew under their existing terms and metrics. However, Oracle also advises that customers should contact sales if they want to increase quantities, and it remains to be seen under which terms and metrics that will be possible.

Long-term Service (LTS) versions

Oracle’s standard approach to Java versioning is to provide two updates per year – i.e. a 6 month release cadence. Subscribers can also elect to commit to an LTS branch which Oracle guarantees will receive updates for 8 years. An ongoing subscription is required to continue to use the LTS branch, just as it is for any other Java SE Universal subscription.

Platform doesn’t matter

The FAQ includes a question regarding use of Java in containerized environments such as Docker. Oracle’s response to this FAQ illustrates their thinking behind employee-based licensing – namely that per employee licensing means that where Java is deployed – be that on premises, in virtualized environments, in containers, or in public or private clouds – is irrelevant when it comes to calculating license requirements. One subscription for every employee, including those at third parties supporting your business operations, is what is required.


Now the dust has somewhat settled on this news there are two key takeaways:

  1. Oracle sales have already activated based on these changes and are targeting customers based on download data. If your organization intends to migrate away from Oracle Java it’s vital that this is communicated across your organization now. A single download and install of Oracle Java is enough to expose your organization to a large and unexpected bill.
  2. Whilst existing licensees can remain on their existing terms and metrics it will be vital to keep track of usage in order to ensure compliance in an audit. It isn’t clear whether existing customers will be able to increase NUP or Processor quantities at renewal – clearly these are no longer available to buy openly – so a non-compliance could result in an enforced switch to per-employee licensing. It is also vital that existing agreements under the old metrics are renewed in a timely manner, as an expired subscription may also mean an enforced switch to per-employee licensing.

For more on Oracle Java licensing see our Oracle training courses and regular live updates, provided by Oracle expert Richard Spithoven.