Java / Java licensing

Historical Java Licensing Costs

Historical Java Licensing Costs

  • 2019: Subscription-based licensing introduced.
    • Named User Plus: $1.75 per user/month.
    • Processor Licensing: $20 per processor/month.
  • 2023: Employee Metric License introduced.
    • $15 per employee/month.
  • Increase: Employee Metric License costs ~757% more than Named User Plus.

Introduction Historical Java Licensing Costs

Introduction Historical Java Licensing Costs

Understanding the historical trends in Java licensing costs is essential for businesses that use Java for software development.

Oracle’s licensing policies have evolved, impacting organizations’ financial planning and budgeting. This article explores the changes in Java licensing costs from 2019 to the introduction of the employee metric license in 2023.

Licensing Costs from 2019

Licensing Costs from 2019

2019 Licensing Model:

In 2019, Oracle transitioned Java to a subscription-based licensing model. The costs were based on two primary metrics: Named User Plus (NUP) and Processor licensing.

Named User Plus (NUP):

  • Cost: $1.75 per named user per month.
  • Usage: This model was suitable for environments where the number of individual users could be tracked accurately.

Processor Licensing:

  • Cost: $20 per processor per month.
  • Usage: Ideal for scenarios where tracking individual users was impractical, and the focus was on the processing power utilized.

Cost Implications for Businesses

Budgeting Challenges:

The shift to a subscription model required businesses to adjust their budgeting practices. Instead of a one-time purchase, organizations had to plan for ongoing, recurring costs.

This change emphasized accurately tracking and forecasting Java usage to avoid unexpected expenses.

Changes in 2023: Introduction of Employee Metric License

Changes in 2023: Introduction of Employee Metric License

Employee Metric License:

In 2023, Oracle introduced a new licensing model known as the Employee Metric License. This model simplified the licensing process by covering all employees, regardless of their actual use of Java.


  • Starting Price: $15 per employee per month.
  • Simplification: This model removed the need to track individual users or processors, offering a straightforward licensing approach.

Comparative Cost Analysis

Price Increase Calculation:

To understand the impact of the new Employee Metric License, we can compare the costs based on typical usage scenarios.

Named User Plus to Employee Metric:

  • Old Model (NUP): $1.75 per named user per month.
  • New Model (Employee): $15 per employee per month.

Percentage Increase:

To calculate the percentage increase in costs from the Named User Plus model to the Employee Metric model:

The new employee metric license represents a significant cost increase of approximately 757% compared to the Named User Plus model.

Implications for Businesses

Implications for Businesses

Financial Impact:

Introducing the Employee Metric License has led to substantially higher costs for organizations. This increase necessitates careful financial planning and may drive businesses to explore cost-saving measures or alternative JDK providers.

Simplified Compliance:

While the new model increases costs, it simplifies compliance and license management. Organizations no longer need to track individual user access or processor usage, reducing administrative overhead.

Strategic Adjustments:

Businesses must adjust their strategies to accommodate these higher costs. This may involve:

  • Evaluating Alternatives: Considering OpenJDK or other JDK providers to mitigate licensing expenses.
  • Optimizing Usage: Reviewing and optimizing Java usage within the organization to ensure that all licenses are necessary and cost-effective.


The historical trends in Java licensing costs highlight a significant shift in Oracle’s approach to monetizing Java.

Costs have increased substantially from the Named User Plus and Processor licensing models in 2019 to the Employee Metric License in 2023.

This evolution has profound implications for businesses, requiring careful financial planning and strategic adjustments to manage the higher expenses while ensuring compliance and optimizing Java usage.

By understanding these trends and their impact, organizations can better navigate the complexities of Java licensing in the modern software landscape.


  • 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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