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Oracle changing java license

asked 2018-07-25 00:44:26 +0100

LKeithJordan gravatar image

updated 2018-10-29 00:11:36 +0100

UPDATE: @hjek and @Mike Kaganski, my apologies for not answering sooner. It's been hectic and I frankly forgot about this question until recently. I wound up removing Oracle and replacing it with OpenJDK (which I now find both of you reference). LO Base with Firebird seems to open and run just fine based solely on a quick test.

BTW, @hjek, I'm using LO with both Windows and Linux operating systems. I have a particular 3rd-party app that seemed to require Java 8 and the way I read the Oracle license posting it seemed to indicate that Java 8 and subsequent versions would eventually require a commercial license for "business, commercial, or production use."

To me, the whole idea of FLOSS software is to avoid licenses such as the one provided by Oracle, so I was trying to determine my path for the future.

I noticed, @Mike Kaganski, your observation that LO Base should run without Oracle or OpenJDK. I knew TDF was working to remove old Java code from LO, but I thought for now you still had to select a JRE to use LO Base in particular. I'll check that out when I get a chance.

Thanks to both of you for your replies and insight. I would love to give both of you the check mark, but since I can't, I upvoted your answers. I gave @Mike Kaganski the check mark because I believe his answer was more closely aligned to the specific concerns I expressed in my question.

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I was recently prompted to update Java on my machine. During the process, I was notified that Oracle is changing the Java license.

I didn't see specific definitions for the terms "home use" and "commercial use" -- but it appears Oracle may be about to start charging for commercial use of Java. I just did a little research and found this InfoWorld post and this Java Licensing FAQs page from Oracle.

Based on what I read, I believe a commercial Java license will only be needed if you distribute Java with your product to a third party. In other words, you can distribute a LO Calc or Base application as it runs on your machine and require any third-party recipient of your work to have their own copy of LO and Java -- you just can't distribute your work to a third party in any form that requires distribution of Java as well. (See my questions below.)

Three questions:

  1. Has anyone else seen this notice?
  2. Am I interpreting the Java license FAQs correctly concerning commercial use?
  3. Has The Documents Foundation released any timetable for total removal of Java from LibreOffice?
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For reference: BCL for Java SE. Please note the "SUPPLEMENTAL LICENSE TERMS" which clarify terms related to redistribution (which is not prohibited AFAICT). Further documentation (including description of commercial features) is available at Java SE Documentation site.

Mike Kaganski gravatar imageMike Kaganski ( 2018-07-25 07:42:29 +0100 )edit

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answered 2018-07-25 12:23:31 +0100

Mike Kaganski gravatar image

Answer to #1: yes and yes.

My point of view regarding #2 is in the answers to questions linked above.

Answer to #3 is possibly in this question.

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answered 2018-07-25 13:57:22 +0100

hjek gravatar image

updated 2018-07-25 23:26:06 +0100

In the InfoWorld article you link to, it appears that this additionally restricted license is only for version 8 of Java SE:

In an undated bulletin about the revision, Oracle said public updates for Java SE 8 released after January 2019 will not be available for business, commercial, or production use without a commercial license. However, public updates for Java SE 8 will be available for individual, personal use through at least the end of 2020.

Java versions 9 and 10 are out, so why not use those? They work with LibreOffice.

Anyway, if you're running Java on Windows, you're most likely running Oracle's distribution of Java which is already restricted and non-free (hence the Ask Jeeves adware you might have installed with it):

Sun (now part of Oracle) has relicensed most of its Java platform reference implementation under the GNU General Public License, and there is now a free development environment for Java. Thus, the Java language as such is no longer a trap.

You must be careful, however, because not every Java platform is free. Sun continues distributing an executable Java platform which is nonfree, and other companies do so too.

The free environment for Java is called IcedTea; the source code Sun freed is included in that. So that is the one you should use. Many GNU/Linux distributions come with IcedTea, but some include nonfree Java platforms. (Note, added 10/2015: The free implementation of Java is known as OpenJDK in many GNU/Linux distributions.)

Therefore this licensing issue only applies to of Oracle's distribution of Java SE, which has been non-free the whole time anyway. It does not apply to the OpenJDK which is fully free software.

Apparently OpenJDK is available for Windows, although if you're concerned about restrictions on what you are allowed to do with the software you use, you shouldn't be running Windows anyway.

I don't see how Oracle charging for updates for an old proprietary version of Java should have anything to do with LibreOffice.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Asked: 2018-07-25 00:44:26 +0100

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Last updated: Oct 29 '18