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Questions about the free version of Oracle JDK

For the documents below,

BPR builds are commercially available to Oracle customers only.

That’s the question.

Can I use GA builds without BPR for free?

If possible, where can I find the information in the official document?


The short answers to your two questions are:

Question: Can I use GA builds without BPR for free?

Answer: It depends on what you want to use it for.

Question: Where can I find the information in the official document?

Answer: Oracle Java SE Licensing FAQ

In 2019, Oracle changed their licensing structure for Java Standard Edition (SE). Prior to this, Java SE could be used for any purpose without the need to purchase a license from Oracle. Currently, some uses of the product, including deployment into a production environment, require a paid-for license. Refer to the Oracle Java SE Licensing FAQ for details.

The good news is that before making this change, Oracle dedicated itself to better supporting the open source community by promising that their OpenJDK releases would be as similar as possible to the SE counterparts. Since Java 11, Oracle’s OpenJDK builds are essentially identical in function to the SE versions. The OpenJDK releases can be used for any purpose, free of charge.

There are a variety of other OpenJDK-based distributions out in the wild besides the one directly provided by Oracle. The one I highly recommend is Amazon’s Corretto JDK, available in a number of versions. This build is fully supported by Amazon. It is used by them internally for all of the Java infrastructure that backs their AWS services. Amazon promises regular security updates for any major version for at least 3 years. It is completely free, regardless of if you run it on AWS or elsewhere.

Per @BasilBourque, you might wish to check out Java Is Still Free, which explains the bigger JDK picture both in brief and in gory detail.

UPDATE: Yikes. I think I must be the “random authority on the internet” that the other answer speaks of. I don’t think I’ve implied that I have any particular “authority”, and I hope and expect that the information I provide will be taken like any other found on S.O., with an appropriate amount of skepticism per the stakes involved.

By all means, please don’t go doing anything that might get you in legal trouble based solely on what I have said above. I provide a pointer above to the Oracle docs, from which I first got the above information a few months back. But even with that in hand, I think it makes good sense for you to run any licensing questions by your lawyer if you happen to have one.