Java licensing

7 Java License Compliance Issues You Should Be Aware Of

Introduction Java License Compliance Issues

Navigating the intricacies of Java license compliance can be a complex task for many businesses.

Understanding the potential pitfalls is crucial to avoid unexpected costs and ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies.

This article will highlight seven common Java license compliance issues businesses often encounter.

1. Upgrading Java Version or Security Patch

If you’ve upgraded to a new Java version or applied a security patch, you may now be subject to the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) License Agreement.

If you’re using Java for commercial purposes, this could trigger licensing requirements that you weren’t previously subject to. It’s essential to understand the implications of the OTN License Agreement before upgrading or patching Java.

2. Use of Java Commercial Features on Older Versions

Using Java Commercial Features on older versions of Java can also trigger a license requirement.

These features are not covered under the standard Java license and require a separate license if used. If you’ve used these features without the appropriate license, you could violate Oracle’s licensing policies.

3. Use of Older Java Versions on Dedicated Solutions

You could violate Oracle’s licensing policies if you’re using older versions of Java on dedicated solutions that fall outside of the “general purpose computing” text in the Binary Code License (BCL) agreement.

It’s essential to understand the terms of the BCL agreement and ensure that your use of Java aligns with these terms.

4. Misunderstanding Oracle Named User Plus Licensing

Oracle Named User Plus licensing requires you to count the users actively using Java and any user with access to any device using Java. Misunderstanding this requirement can lead to under-licensing and potential compliance issues.

5. Misinterpretation of Java Employee Metric

If you’ve purchased Java under the employee metric, it’s crucial to understand the “employee definition” provided by Oracle.

This definition typically includes contractors; failing to include them in your count can lead to under-licensing.

6. Use of Java on VMware

If you’re using Java on VMware, you must license every physical host, not just the hosts where Java runs. This is a common misunderstanding that can lead to significant compliance issues.

7. Misunderstanding Test and Development Licensing

While specific test and development activities are free under Oracle’s licensing policies, this does not apply to all test and development activities.

The free license only applies to testing and development for “Your Applications” and does not include third-party applications. Misunderstanding this distinction can lead to unexpected licensing requirements.


Understanding and navigating Java license compliance can be complex, but knowing these common issues can help you avoid unexpected costs and ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies.

Always consult a licensing expert or legal counsel to ensure you fully comply with your Java licensing obligations.

Contact us if you need expert help managing Java.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.