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Background: Oracle has recently announced changes to the licensing policy and release cadence of Java software. How do these licensing changes affect the BMC products that use Java Standard Edition (SE)?  

 

For more information about the announcements related to Oracle Java licensing policy and release cadence, see the following articles:

https://blogs.oracle.com/java-platform-group/oracle-jdk-releases-for-java-11-and-later 

https://blogs.oracle.com/java-platform-group/update-and-faq-on-the-java-se-release-cadence

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/eol-135779.html
https://www.java.com/en/download/release_notice.jsp
https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2018/05/01/oracle-to-charge-for-java-from-jan-2019/

 

ANSWER:

Oracle Java Licensing Changes

Oracle recently announced a major change to their licensing policy and release cadence for Java SE (Standard Edition including both JDK and JRE).

Traditionally Oracle Java SE technologies (commonly referred as Java 6, Java 7, Java 8 etc) were available for production deployments without need for any licensing or support arrangements with Oracle (BCL licensing). Also, public updates to Java ensured that periodically Customers would be able to upgrade Java to a secured and updated version.

Oracle has moved Java SE to a Long-Term-Support (LTS) release model beginning with Java 11 ("18.9 LTS"). This Oracle JDK 11 (and higher versions in future) will be available to Oracle Customers under commercial support contracts (Long-Term-Support) for production deployments. Enterprises that prefer stability, so that they can run multiple large applications on a single shared Java release, can use the current long-term support release. Commercial support (Long-Term-Support) will be available for 5 years (+ 3 years extended support) after an LTS release and include periodic updates which may include security and performance fixes. Also, Enterprises can plan ahead to migrate from one long-term support release to the next, every three years.


Oracle has stated that customers can remain on the non-LTS release that is publicly available for 6 months; however, after 6 months the customers must upgrade to the latest release. Oracle will no longer provide public updates or security vulnerability updates for earlier releases. Customers who require more stability and cannot align to an upgrade cadence after every 6 months, can use the Commercial Premier Support that provides security vulnerability upgrades for earlier releases. Commercial Premier Support will be available for 5 years after an LTS release.

Use of Java within BMC Client Management

BMC Client Management currently includes Oracle Java (JRE) for some server processes and the Administration Console.

To minimize impact of this Oracle licensing change to Client Management Customers, the application now includes support for open-source builds of the Java Development Kit, an implementation of the Java SE Platform under the GNU General Public License – commonly referred as Open JDK builds.

This support for Open JDK in BMC Client Management is effective with patches and versions provided from the January 2019 releases.

Open JDK is open source and production ready alternative (11.0.1 onwards) for Oracle JDK. Similar to getting Oracle Java SE binaries for free in the past, Customers can simply continue doing so with OpenJDK builds available at http://jdk.java.net/

This open source distribution OpenJDK has releases scheduled every 6 months. Customers must upgrade Open JDK to the latest release every 6 months since Open JDK will no longer provide public updates for prior Open JDK releases (including security vulnerability updates).

BMC Client Management will ensure compatibility with latest Java versions by providing hotfixes. BMC will develop and deliver a replacement for Java Web Start, which will provide the same user experience for customers.

SaaS environments like Helix Client Management and Remedyforce Client Management will be updated by BMC Cloud Operations through planned maintenance updates. BMC will provide an update on how these changes will impact BMC products as soon as the update is available.

 

Important: Because OpenJDK is not supported on a 32-bit operating system, BCM Client Management can no longer be supported on a 32-bit master server.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Traditionally Open JDK lacked some features present in Oracle JDK. Will lack of these features/capability impact my BMC Client Management application?

Answer: Along with change in licensing and releases, Oracle also committed to make Open JDK and Oracle JDK ‘Functionally identical and interchangeable’ starting Java 11 (Reference - https://blogs.oracle.com/java-platform-group/oracle-jdk-releases-for-java-11-and-later). Same reference page also list small number of differences in these JDK builds that are continued even with Java 11.

Based on this assurance from Oracle and our lab test results, we have not seen any functional or performance impact when using Open JDK 11 for BMC Client Management deployment.

 

Question: There is no reference to support for Java 9 or Java 10 here? Can you clarify if these are supported for BMC Client Management deployments?

Answer: Java 9 or Java 10 are not supported for any version of BMC Client Management. These versions followed 6 month release cadence and are now superseded by Java 11.

 

Question: Can I continue to use Java 8 when using BMC Client Management? Why should I upgrade to a new Java version?

Answer: BMC Client Management will allow backward compatibility for applications running on Java 8. However also note that Oracle has announced end of public updates for Java SE 8 beginning January 2019 for Commercial Users. Only customers with Premier Support from Oracle will get updates to Java SE 8 from Oracle. For others, continued use of Java 8 beyond January 2019 may leave your system open for security vulnerabilities or performance issues among other things. More details here - https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/java-se-support-roadmap.html

 

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