Current field-of-use restrictions defined in "Oracle Binary Code License Agreement for the Java SE Platform Products" prohibit its use in embedded systems.

"General Purpose Desktop Computers and Servers" means computers, including desktop and laptop computers, or servers, used for general computing functions under end user control (such as but not specifically limited to email, general purpose Internet browsing, and office suite productivity tools). The use of Software in systems and solutions that provide dedicated functionality (other than as mentioned above) or designed for use in embedded or function-specific software applications... are excluded from this definition and not licensed under this Agreement.

Do these restrictions also apply to OpenJDK and other possible implementations? Is the only way to use Java in such an environment to acquire a separate license from Oracle?

2 Answers 2


No, these restrictions do not apply to OpenJDK. They are only for the Oracle-branded binary installation packages of the JDK and JRE (which I think still include some code that is not in OpenJDK).

If you use OpenJDK, you are only bound by the OpenJDK's license, which is "GPL+linking exception".


OpenJDK is the official open source Reference Implementation (RI) for Java. Oracle's Java (the one that most people use) is a thin wrapper around that open source code with a Java(tm) label thrown over the top of it (confusing huh!).

There's no way around the restriction if you are using Oracle's Java but there is nothing stopping you from using OpenJDK directly (assuming you can build or find the appropriate binary).

  • 1
    That's interesting! If Oracle's Java indeed is only a thin wrapper around OpenJDK, how come I'm seeing so much doubt about it's suitability to production environments?
    – Muton
    Oct 17, 2013 at 9:04
  • There are still some components in the Oracle JDK that are different from the OpenJDK (I think font rendering and sound are parts of that), but I agree: they are few and not really all that important. Oct 17, 2013 at 9:04
  • 2
    @Muton: ignorance and inertia mostly. I personally know that the OpenJDK has been used in many, many production environments quite successfully. Oct 17, 2013 at 9:05
  • There is this OS made by a company in Seattle. It's hard to get non-Oracle OpenJDK for that. Oct 18, 2013 at 10:42

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