Oracle unveils Java 17 under new licensing terms

Software giant Oracle has released the latest version of popular programming language Java 17, unveiling a host of performance, stability, and security updates.

New Java releases typically appear every six months, but Java 17 is a Long-Term Support (LTS) release, which will be supported for several years. The last LTS Java release was Java 11 released three years ago.

Starting with this release, however, Oracle is proposing to shorten the release cadence from three years to two by shipping the next LTS release, Java 21 in September 2023.

"One of the biggest challenges Java developers face today is that their organization only allows them to use the latest LTS release. By moving LTS releases to every two years, developers that are with conservative organizations now have more choice and access to the features that they love and want to use," noted Georges Saab, vice president of development, Java Platform Group, Oracle.

Under new terms

As with every new release Java 17 is littered with enhancements over its predecessor. The release incorporates over a dozen new JDK Enhancement Proposals (JEPs) since the last release, and the number goes to over 70 JEPs if compared to the last LTS release.

In the larger scheme of things, Oracle has tweaked the licensing terms of the popular programming language. Starting with this release, Oracle Java releases will be provided under a free-to-use license until a full year after the next LTS release.

Dr. Arnal Dayaratna, research vice president, Software Development at IDC reasons that the new licensing terms will allow for the free production use of Oracle Java for an extended time.

The proprietary Oracle Java is different from open source OpenJDK, which will continue to be under the General Public License (GPL) license.

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