Java

Demystifying Oracle Java – A Comphrensive Guide

Java

Demystifying Oracle Java – A Comphrensive Guide

Oracle Java, a cornerstone in the world of programming, has been a game-changer since its inception. It has revolutionized how we develop and deploy applications, making it a vital tool for programmers worldwide.

This article will explore Oracle Java’s depths, origins, key features, and comparison with OpenJDK.

Here are some statistics about Java as of 2023:

  • Java is used by 4.7% of all the websites whose server-side programming language is known.
  • The most popular Long Term Support (LTS) version is Java 11, used by 56% of applications, followed by Java 8 at 33%.
  • Java appears in every 1 in 5 searches (20.03%) across African countries, making it the most popular language in that region.
  • Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Java.
  • Just under half of the active developers worldwide (49%) reported using Java, an increase from 39% in Q3 2020.
  • According to estimates, more than 12 million IT engineers use Java.
  • Despite the already ubiquitous use of Java, 40% of respondents in a survey plan to increase Java usage further.
  • Several million people are learning Java annually, and the number of developers who know Java is expected to increase in 2023.

Origin and Development of Oracle Java

Origin and Development of Oracle Java

Oracle Java, initially released by Sun Microsystems in 1995, has since evolved into a robust platform under Oracle’s stewardship.

It was designed with the philosophy of “Write Once, Run Anywhere,” which means compiled Java code can run on all platforms supporting Java without recompilation.

This cross-platform compatibility has made it a popular choice among developers.

Key Features and Uses of Oracle Java

Oracle Java has many features that make it a versatile tool for developers. Here are some of its key features:

  1. Platform Independent: Java code can run on any device with a Java Runtime Environment (JRE), making it platform-independent.
  2. Object-Oriented: Java is an object-oriented programming language that uses objects and classes, promoting flexibility and code reusability.
  3. Robust and Secure: Java provides a secure platform for developing and running applications. It has features like garbage collection and exception handling, which make it robust and secure.
  4. Multithreaded: Java supports multithreading, which allows multiple operations to run concurrently, improving the efficiency of applications.

Java is used in various domains, from web and application development to Big Data, Mobile Applications, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Its versatility and robustness have made it a go-to language for developers.

What is Java being Used for?

Java is a universal, object-oriented programming language used in many applications due to its robustness, security, and portability.

Here are some of the primary uses of Java:

  1. Web Applications: Java is widely used to develop web applications, including e-commerce websites, educational platforms, social networking sites, etc. Java provides numerous libraries and frameworks, such as Spring, Struts, and Hibernate, which simplify the creation of complex web applications.
  2. Enterprise Applications: Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) provides a robust platform for developing large-scale, distributed network and enterprise applications. These include banking applications, data processing systems, and more.
  3. Mobile Applications: Java is the primary language used for Android application development. Millions of apps on the Google Play Store are built using Java.
  4. Desktop GUI Applications: Java provides libraries like Swing and JavaFX for building graphical user interface (GUI) applications that run on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
  5. Big Data Technologies: Java is used in big data analytics and developing big data technologies. Hadoop, a famous big data technology, is written in Java.
  6. Scientific Applications: Java is used in scientific computing, including natural language processing, data analysis in various science fields, and for creating tools for scientific research.
  7. Internet of Things (IoT): Java’s portability makes it a popular choice for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It can program machines that perform various tasks, like temperature monitoring, health tracking, etc.
  8. Cloud-based Applications: Java is also used to develop cloud-based applications due to its scalability, maintainability, and ease of use.

Oracle Java vs OpenJDK

Oracle Java vs OpenJDK

Regarding Java development kits, two names often come up: Oracle Java and OpenJDK. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and choosing between them depends on the project’s needs.

Comparison between Oracle Java and OpenJDK

Oracle Java and OpenJDK are both implementations of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE).

They have a lot in common but also have some significant differences:

  1. Licensing: Oracle Java is licensed under the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement, whereas OpenJDK is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) with a linking exception.
  2. Updates: Oracle Java tends to have more frequent updates and longer support than OpenJDK. However, Oracle Java requires a commercial license for long-term support.
  3. Performance: Both Oracle Java and OpenJDK have similar performance characteristics. However, Oracle Java may include some additional enhancements.

Pros and Cons of Each

Oracle Java:

Pros:

  • Regular updates and patches.
  • Long-term support is available (with a commercial license).
  • It may include additional performance enhancements.

Cons:

  • Requires a commercial license for long-term support.
  • The licensing terms can be restrictive compared to OpenJDK.

OpenJDK:

Pros:

  • Open-source and free to use.
  • The codebase is virtually identical to Oracle Java.

Cons:

  • Updates and patches may not be as frequent as in Oracle Java.
  • Long-term support may not be available.

In conclusion, choosing Oracle Java and OpenJDK depends on your needs and constraints. Both are capable platforms that offer robust features for Java development.

Oracle Java and OpenJDK: A Deeper Dive

Oracle Java and OpenJDK: A Deeper Dive

Oracle Java

Oracle Java, also known as Oracle JDK, is a product of Oracle Corporation. It results from an extensive, meticulous development process that ensures high performance and security.

Oracle Java is often used in commercial and enterprise environments, where stability and support are paramount.

Oracle offers updates to Java every three months, with bug fixes and security patches to ensure optimal performance.

However, a commercial license is required to access these updates beyond the initial six months of a major release.

This commercial license also provides additional enterprise management and monitoring tools, making it a suitable choice for businesses.

OpenJDK

On the other hand, OpenJDK is an open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition. It is free to use and modify, making it a popular choice among individual developers and open-source projects.

OpenJDK is developed and supported by a vibrant community of volunteer programmers and organizations, including Oracle.

While it may not have the same frequency of updates as Oracle Java, it is still a robust and reliable platform for Java development.

The open-source nature of OpenJDK allows developers to contribute to its development, fostering innovation and rapid improvement.

However, it’s worth noting that long-term support (LTS) for OpenJDK is typically shorter than for Oracle Java, with most versions supported for about three years.

Java Long-Term Support (LTS)

Java Long-Term Support (LTS) denotes versions of the Java programming language provided with extended support from Oracle. LTS versions are typically released every three years.

They are designed to provide a stable and secure platform for enterprises and other users who require long-term stability in their software environments.

The LTS designation means that updates for these versions, including security patches and bug fixes, will be provided longer than non-LTS versions.

This extended support period allows organizations to maintain their software systems without frequent upgrades, which can be disruptive and costly.

For example, Java 8 and Java 11 are LTS versions, and they continue to receive updates even though newer versions of Java have been released.

This long-term support makes LTS versions preferred for businesses and large-scale software projects requiring a stable and reliable programming environment.

It’s important to note that while Oracle provides commercial support for LTS versions, the wider Java community also provides support through OpenJDK, an open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition.

This means that even if Oracle’s support for an LTS version ends, users can still receive updates and support from the community.

Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE)

Oracle Java Runtime Environment

The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is a software package provided by Oracle that contains what is required to run a Java program.

It includes the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), core classes, and supporting libraries. The JRE is a runtime environment in which Java bytecode can be executed.

The JRE allows end-users to run Java applications on their systems. It does not contain tools for development like compilers or debuggers.

When you download and install the JRE, you’re essentially installing the Java platform onto your computer, which allows you to run Java applications.

Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK)

The Java Development Kit (JDK) is a software development environment provided by Oracle for developing Java applications and applets.

It includes the JRE, an interpreter/loader (java), a compiler (javac), an archiver (jar), a documentation generator (javadoc), and other tools needed in Java development.

In simple terms, the JDK is a superset of the JRE. It contains everything the JRE has, plus tools such as the compilers and debuggers necessary for developing Java applications.

Developers use the JDK’s tools and utilities to create, debug, and monitor Java applications. Once a Java application has been developed, it can be run on any JRE system installed.

In summary, if you’re just interested in running Java programs, you would only need the JRE. However, if you’re a developer and want to create Java applications, you would need the JDK.

Oracle’s Decision to Stop Providing a Separate JRE

Oracle, the company that maintains Java, made a significant change starting with Java 11: they stopped providing a separate

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Java SE. This decision was part of a larger shift in how Java is developed and distributed.

Here are some reasons behind this decision:

  1. Simplification of Java’s Development and Deployment: By eliminating the distinction between the JDK and JRE, Oracle simplified the development and deployment process of Java applications. Developers now create applications with the JDK and can use the jlink Tool (introduced in Java 9) to create a runtime environment that only includes the necessary components to run their specific application. This results in a smaller, more efficient runtime environment tailored for the application.
  2. Java’s Six-Month Release Cadence: Starting with Java 9, Oracle moved to a six-month release cycle for Java. This faster pace made maintaining separate JDK and JRE distributions more complex and resource-intensive.
  3. Encouraging Developers to Stay Up-to-Date: By providing the JDK as the standard distribution, Oracle encourages developers to stay current with the latest version of Java. This helps ensure developers benefit from the latest features and security updates.
  4. Commercial Support and Licensing Changes: Oracle also changed its support and licensing models. With Java 11, Oracle only provides long-term support (LTS) for the JDK’s commercial (paid) version. Users who do not wish to pay for support can use the latest JDK version, updated every six months, or use an OpenJDK build from another provider.

Java Versions per release date

  1. JDK 1.0 (January 23, 1996): The first version of Java introduced the Java programming language.
  2. JDK 1.1 (February 19, 1997): Introduced inner classes, JavaBeans, JDBC, RMI, and reflection.
  3. J2SE 1.2 (December 8, 1998): Introduced the Swing graphical API, a JIT compiler, Java plug-in, Java IDL, and the Collections framework.
  4. J2SE 1.3 (May 8, 2000): Introduced HotSpot JVM, RMI with CORBA compatibility, Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI), Java Platform Debugger Architecture (JPDA), and JavaSound.
  5. J2SE 1.4 (February 6, 2002): Introduced assert keyword, regular expressions, exception chaining, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) support, non-blocking I/O (NIO), logging API, Image I/O API, integrated security and cryptography extensions, and Java Web Start.
  6. Java SE 5 (September 30, 2004): Introduced generics, metadata (annotations), autoboxing/unboxing, enumerations, varargs, enhanced for each loop, improved execution semantics for multi-threaded Java programs, and static imports.
  7. Java SE 6 (December 11, 2006): Introduced scripting language support, dramatic performance improvements for the core platform and Swing, improved web service support through JAX-WS, JDBC 4.0 support, Java Compiler API, upgrade of JAXB to version 2.0, and support for pluggable annotations.
  8. Java SE 7 (July 28, 2011): Introduced JVM support for dynamic languages, compressed 64-bit pointers, small language changes like strings in switch, automatic resource management in try-statement, improved type inference for generic instance creation, simplified varargs method declaration, binary integer literals, allowing underscores in numeric literals, catching multiple exception types and rethrowing exceptions with improved type checking, concurrency utilities, new file I/O library, Timsort for sorting collections and arrays of objects, library-level support for elliptic curve cryptography algorithms, and an XRender pipeline for Java 2D.
  9. Java SE 8 (March 18, 2014): Introduced lambda expressions and default methods, Project Nashorn, annotation on Java types, unsigned integer arithmetic, repeating annotations, Date and time API, statically-linked JNI libraries, launch JavaFX applications, and removal of the permanent generation.
  10. Java SE 9 (September 21, 2017): Introduced modularization of the JDK under Project Jigsaw, variable handles, milling Project Coin, jshell: The Java Shell, compact strings, HiDPI graphics, more concurrency updates, XML catalogs, jlink: The Java Linker, and ahead-of-time compilation.
  11. Java SE 10 (March 20, 2018): Introduced local-variable type inference, consolidation of the JDK Forest into a single repository, garbage-collector interface, parallel full GC for G1, application class-data sharing, thread-local handshakes, removal of the native-header generation tool (javah), additional Unicode language-tag extensions, heap allocation on alternative memory devices, experimental Java-based JIT compiler, root certificates, and time-based release versioning.
  12. Java SE 11 (September 25, 2018): This version introduced the following features:
    • Dynamic class-file constants (JEP 309)
    • Epsilon: A No-Op Garbage Collector (JEP 318)
    • HTTP Client (Standard) (JEP 321)
    • Local-Variable Syntax for Lambda Parameters (JEP 323)
    • Key Agreement with Curve25519 and Curve448 (JEP 324)
    • Unicode 10 (JEP 327)
    • Flight Recorder (JEP 328)
    • ChaCha20 and Poly1305 Cryptographic Algorithms (JEP 329)
    • Launch Single-File Source-Code Programs (JEP 330)
    • Low-Overhead Heap Profiling (JEP 331)
    • Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 (JEP 332)
    • ZGC: A Scalable Low-Latency Garbage Collector (Experimental) (JEP 333)
    • Deprecate the Nashorn JavaScript Engine (JEP 335)
    • Deprecate the Pack200 Tools and API (JEP 336)
  13. Java SE 12 (March 19, 2019): This version introduced the following features:
    • Shenandoah: A Low-Pause-Time Garbage Collector (Experimental) (JEP 189)
    • Microbenchmark Suite (JEP 230)
    • Switch Expressions (Preview) (JEP 325)
    • JVM Constants API (JEP 334)
    • One AArch64 Port, Not Two (JEP 340)
    • Default CDS Archives (JEP 341)
    • Abortable Mixed Collections for G1 (JEP 344)
    • Promptly Return Unused Committed Memory from G1 (JEP 346)
  14. Java SE 13 (September 17, 2019): This version introduced the following features:
    • Dynamic CDS Archives (JEP 350)
    • ZGC: Uncommit Unused Memory (JEP 351)
    • Reimplement the Legacy Socket API (JEP 353)
    • Switch Expressions (Preview) (JEP 354)
    • Text Blocks (Preview) (JEP 355)
  15. Java SE 14 (March 17, 2020): This version introduced the following features:
    • Pattern Matching for instanceof (Preview) (JEP 305)
    • Non-Volatile Mapped Byte Buffers (JEP 352)
    • Helpful NullPointerExceptions (JEP 358)
    • Records (Preview) (JEP 359)
    • Switch Expressions (Standard) (JEP 361)
    • Deprecate the Solaris and SPARC Ports (JEP 362)
    • Remove the Concurrent Mark Sweep (CMS) Garbage Collector (JEP 363)
    • ZGC on macOS (JEP 364)
    • ZGC on Windows (JEP 365)
    • Deprecate the ParallelScavenge + SerialOld GC Combination (JEP 366)
    • Packaging Tool (Incubator) (JEP 367)
    • NUMA-Aware Memory Allocation for G1 (JEP 345)
    • JFR Event Streaming (JEP 349)
    • Foreign-Memory Access API (Incubator) (JEP 370)
  16. Java SE 15 (September 15, 2020): This version introduced the following features:
    • Sealed Classes (Preview) (JEP 360)
    • Pattern Matching for instanceof (Second Preview) (JEP)
  17. Java SE 15 (September 15, 2020): This version introduced the following features:
    • Sealed Classes (Preview) (JEP 360)
    • Pattern Matching for instanceof (Second Preview) (JEP 375)
    • Records (Second Preview) (JEP 384)
    • Text Blocks (Standard) (JEP 378)
    • ZGC: A Scalable Low-Latency Garbage Collector (Production) (JEP 377)
    • Edwards-Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (EdDSA) (JEP 339)
    • Hidden Classes (JEP 371)
    • Remove the Nashorn JavaScript Engine (JEP 372)
    • Reimplement the Legacy DatagramSocket API (JEP 373)
    • Foreign-Memory Access API (Second Incubator) (JEP 383)
    • Disable and Deprecate Biased Locking (JEP 374)
    • Shenandoah: A Low-Pause-Time Garbage Collector (Production) (JEP 379)
  18. Java SE 16 (March 16, 2021): This version introduced the following features:
    • Sealed Classes (Second Preview) (JEP 397)
    • Pattern Matching for instanceof (Standard) (JEP 394)
    • Records (Standard) (JEP 395)
    • Foreign-Memory Access API (Third Incubator) (JEP 393)
    • Packaging Tool (JEP 392)
    • Strongly Encapsulate JDK Internals (JEP 396)
    • Elastic Metaspace (JEP 387)
    • ZGC: Concurrent Thread-Stack Processing (JEP 376)
    • Unix-Domain Socket Channels (JEP 380)
    • Vector API (Incubator) (JEP 338)
  19. Java SE 19: Released on 20th September 2022.
  20. Java SE 20: Released on 21st March 2023.
  21. Java SE 21 (LTS): Expected release in September 2023.

The Future of Java Development

The world of Java development is dynamic and ever-evolving. Oracle Java and OpenJDK continue to adapt and improve with new technologies and methodologies.

Oracle has shifted to a six-month release cycle for Java, ensuring faster access to new features. Meanwhile, OpenJDK continues to thrive as an open-source project, with contributions from a global community of developers.

Regardless of your chosen platform, one thing is sure: Java continues to be a vital tool in software development. Its versatility, robustness, and wide range of applications make it a language that will continue to shape the future of programming.

Azul and Amazon Java Distributions

Azul and Amazon Java Distributions

Azul Systems

Azul Systems is a company that provides alternative distributions of the Java platform.

Their flagship product, Zulu, is a certified OpenJDK build that fully complies with the Java SE standard.

Zulu is available for a wide range of platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it comes in various configurations to meet the needs of different types of users.

Azul Systems also offers Zing, a Java runtime designed for enterprise-class workloads and fully compatible with the Java SE standard.

Zing is designed to eliminate performance issues related to garbage collection in Java applications, making it suitable for high-performance, low-latency applications.

Amazon Corretto

Amazon Corretto is a no-cost, multiplatform, production-ready distribution of the Open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK). Corretto comes with long-term support from Amazon, providing performance enhancements and security fixes.

Amazon Corretto is designed to deliver the same performance level as the standard OpenJDK but with additional benefits such as improved serviceability and monitoring.

It’s used internally at Amazon for many services and is provided to the public to use in their Java applications.

In summary, Azul and Amazon provide alternative distributions of Java that offer benefits such as long-term support, performance enhancements, and additional features. These distributions offer users more options when choosing a Java application runtime.

Oracle JDK vs OpenJDK vs Azul vs Amazon

  1. Oracle JDK: This is the standard and official Java Development Kit provided by Oracle. It includes tools for developing, debugging, and monitoring Java applications. Starting from Java 11, Oracle offers updates to Oracle JDK for free only for six months until the next release. For long-term support (LTS), you need to buy a commercial subscription.
  2. Azul Zulu: This is a distribution of OpenJDK provided by Azul Systems. It fully complies with the Java SE standard and offers various configurations for user needs. Azul provides updates, including security patches, for a longer period than Oracle’s free updates.
  3. Amazon Corretto: This is Amazon’s distribution of OpenJDK. It is free and has long-term Amazon support, including performance enhancements and security fixes. Amazon Corretto is designed to provide consistent performance and is used extensively within Amazon’s services.

In essence, all three are distributions of Java, and they all conform to the Java SE standard, meaning that applications developed with one should run on the others.

The main differences lie in support, updates, and performance enhancements. Oracle JDK requires a commercial subscription for long-term support, while Azul Zulu and Amazon Corretto offer long-term support for free.


OpenJDK
Oracle JDKAzul ZuluAmazon Corretto
SourceOpen-source project sponsored by OracleProvided by OracleProvided by Azul SystemsProvided by Amazon
CostFreeFree for personal use and development, commercial license needed for long-term supportFreeFree
Long-Term Support (LTS)Depends on the communityAvailable with a commercial licenseAvailable for freeAvailable for free
Updates and PatchesCommunity-drivenProvided by Oracle (free updates for 6 months, then requires a commercial license)Provided by Azul SystemsProvided by Amazon
Performance EnhancementsStandard OpenJDK performanceSome enhancements provided by OracleSome enhancements provided by AzulSome enhancements provided by Amazon
Used Internally ByVarious organizationsOracleAzul SystemsAmazon
Additional FeaturesNoneSome Oracle-specific tools and utilitiesConfigurations for different user needsConsistent performance, better serviceability, and monitoring

FAQ on Oracle Java

What is Oracle Java used for?

Oracle Java is a programming language and development platform for creating applications running on various hardware and software environments. It is widely used in enterprise-scale applications, web and mobile applications, games, and more.

Is Oracle Java different from Java?

Oracle Java refers to the Java development platform provided by Oracle Corporation. Java, on the other hand, is a general-purpose programming language. Oracle Java is essentially a specific implementation and distribution of the Java platform.

Is Oracle JRE Java?

Yes, the Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is a part of Oracle Java. It provides the libraries, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and other components necessary to run applications written in the Java programming language.

Is Oracle Java safe to use?

Yes, Oracle Java is safe to use. Oracle Corporation, one of the leading technology companies, developed and maintained it. Oracle provides regular updates to fix any security issues and enhance the performance of Java.

How do I download Oracle Java?

Oracle Java can be downloaded from the official Oracle website. It provides different versions of Java, and you can choose the one that suits your requirements.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve explored the origins, key features, and uses of Oracle Java. We’ve also delved into the differences between Oracle Java and OpenJDK, highlighting their unique characteristics and offerings.

Whether you choose Oracle Java or OpenJDK, both platforms offer a robust and versatile environment for Java development. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and constraints.

Remember, the world of Java development is dynamic and ever-evolving. Stay curious, keep learning, and be happy coding!

Author

  • 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, improving organizational efficiency.

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