Oracle and the New Java Subscription Frontier

Posted by: Seth Posted date:

By Chris Dworetzky

While not without its hitches, the tech world was relatively silent when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in early 2010. However, over time, many Sun applications began adopting a new monetization strategy. The Solaris operating system, for example, converted to a paid support mode within a year of Sun’s acquisition. It was only a matter of time until the same happened to what was arguably Sun’s magnum opus: the Java runtime environment.

Enter the Java SE subscription

For a few years now, Oracle has aggressively monetizing Java, mainly with success. This monetization has been done primarily by taking features that were previously available for free and then hiding them behind an enterprise license, known as a Java SE Subscription, in future releases.

This new change was done, for example, with the Java Usage Tracker feature, which was previously free but converted to a subscription-required function with little notice in 2017. Organizations that previously used this feature to track invocations of desktop-based Java applications for free were now targets of Oracle’s auditing process. This change happened because many organizations were suddenly no longer in compliance when they upgraded to a version which required this feature to have a subscription. The enterprise JRE installer changed to a paid-only feature in 2016, much to the surprise of many IT professionals who were previously using it for free.

It isn’t just features like the enterprise installer that IT leaders have to start looking out for. These changes only impacted a segment of the enterprise Java market, and many organizations continued to use Java for free by avoiding subscription-only features. However, as of 2019, this has now become effectively impossible.

What’s happened recently that I should be concerned about?

Effective January of this year, Oracle has made a series of changes to the Java Runtime Environment support lifecycle. The significant affecting difference is that a paid, per-seat Java SE subscription for all enterprise customers using Java 8 or lower in order who want security updates. The last version of the Java Runtime Environment that is not affected by this change is Java 8 Update 192, released in December 2018.

Worse, most customers get locked into using these versions since Java 8 is the last version of the Java Runtime Environment to support Java applets. Updating to the latest version of Java and then running Java applets is enough for your organization to get audited by Oracle. The worst part? Many IT leaders won’t know that this is coming until it’s too late. However, you can be different.

How can I navigate the world of Java auditing?

It’s clear that in today’s world, you need a partner that lives and breathes it. At Browsium, we’ve been doing this for close to ten years, and we’ve helped countless organizations get a handle on the technical debt created by their web applications.

Browsium Proton is an application we created to help customers find detailed information about web applications in use. When it comes to desktop applications, you may see that you have all the tools you need to find out which apps are in use and installed across the entire organization. Can these tools tell you which web applications are in use? More importantly, and especially crucial with Oracle’s recent changes to their Java support structure, can you quickly find out which web applications have a Java requirement?

Browsium Proton can help you find this and more. Using our rich telemetry, we empower our customers to learn all there is to know about the web applications deployed to their environment. You can see the exact web pages that have requirements external to the browser and use that information to plan accordingly – in this case, before external vendors come knocking.

Before Oracle audits you, you need to audit yourself.

Proton can help.

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