Should I obtain a licence from Oracle before developing Java software? I'm in the preliminary planning stages of developing a server on top of the the Hadoop/Java platforms.

I'm not much at all worried about the Hadoop side, but the "process" for developing on top of the Java VM is somewhat ambiguous. I was in the process of setting up the JVM on FreeBSD, when I saw that we are only licensed to use it for "personal use".

So I thought hmm, what's the situation over in Linux Land? It was even more ambiguous there, and I wasted about an hour on Usenet looking for the answer.

Let me clarify my question. I don't care about OpenJDK and much less so interested in fighting Oracle in court (no relation), I'm interested more in Oracle's policy towards "Indie" Java developers and by "Indie" I mean a small house of developers under a sole-proprietorship/llc. with no legal team.

To be even extra clear, I want to stay on Oracle's good side so if/when my product becomes a success that I don't have to give up the majority of my revenue, or worse, incorporate for quick cash or worse, file bankruptcy and throw away 10 years of work/maintenance.

I'm sorry but their legal license is full of double-talk and ambiguous "legal" terms that could mean pretty much anything. I apologize again if this is common knowledge, I come from a C/C++ background and have only been considering Java recently now that the it's becoming the definitive language for distributed computing.


1 Answer 1


From what I know and checked it with links below, development of software for Java and installing JVM, using and distributing don't need any special license. There is some list of commercial features, but I don't think you need those.

If you would like to change something in JVM or classes of JDK then it would be different matter but I do not consider it "java software development" but JVM or runtime development, you don't want to build competing virtual machine? Don't change binary code of JVM, don't change sun, oracle, java packages in JDK and you should be OK.

  • Licensing and Distribution FAQs at www.java.com

    This page provides answers to some frequently asked questions about Java software distribution and Java software license...

  • Java SE Products page at oracle.com


    Oracle Binary Code License Agreement for the JAVA SE Platform Products (PDF)...

  • BCL for Java SE page at oracle.com

    Oracle Binary Code License Agreement for the Java SE Platform Products and JavaFX...

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