Oracle JDK vs OpenJDK: Deciphering the Best JDK for You

Confused between Oracle JDK vs OpenJDK? In this detailed comparison guide, we will explore the differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK to help you make an informed decision when choosing the right JDK for your Java projects.


In the realm of Java development, two prominent players have long been at the forefront: Oracle JDK and OpenJDK. These Java Development Kits (JDKs) provide the necessary tools and libraries to build, compile, and run Java applications. However, what sets them apart? Which one should you choose for your Java development endeavors? In this article, we’ll dive deep into the intricacies of Oracle JDK and OpenJDK, examining their features, differences, and benefits. While they share many similarities, including their core functionality and compatibility with the Java programming language, there are key distinctions that can influence your selection process. Let’s explore these differences in detail.

Oracle JDK: The Battle-Tested Choice

When it comes to Java, Oracle has played a pivotal role in its development and stewardship. Oracle JDK, or Java SE Development Kit, is Oracle’s official distribution of Java Development Kit. It is known for its robustness, reliability, and comprehensive feature set. Oracle JDK provides developers with a full-fledged JDK, including a complete Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and additional tools.

The Power of Oracle JDK

Oracle JDK boasts a myriad of features that make it a go-to choice for many developers. Some of its notable attributes include:

  1. Commercial Support: Oracle JDK provides enterprise-grade support and maintenance, ensuring timely bug fixes, security patches, and updates. This level of support can be crucial for organizations with mission-critical Java applications.
  2. Enhanced Performance: With proprietary optimizations, Oracle JDK often delivers improved performance compared to its open-source counterpart. This can be especially advantageous for resource-intensive applications or scenarios where maximum efficiency is paramount.
  3. Advanced Tools: Oracle JDK offers a range of advanced tools that simplify Java development, including the renowned Java Flight Recorder (JFR) for in-depth application monitoring and analysis, and Java Mission Control (JMC) for performance tuning.
  4. Long-Term Support (LTS): Oracle provides extended support and maintenance for specific versions of the Oracle JDK, referred to as Long-Term Support (LTS) releases. This ensures stability and backward compatibility for organizations with long development cycles and strict version control requirements.

OpenJDK: The Open-Source Alternative

On the other side of the spectrum, we have OpenJDK, an open-source implementation of the Java Development Kit which has gained immense popularity within the Java community. Developed collaboratively by a vibrant community of contributors, OpenJDK prides itself on its transparency, community-driven development, and extensive support for open standards. OpenJDK aims to be feature-compatible with Oracle JDK and serves as the basis for other JDK distributions.

The Versatility of OpenJDK

Despite its open-source nature, OpenJDK doesn’t fall short in terms of capabilities. Let’s explore some of its key strengths:

  1. Open Source Philosophy: OpenJDK embodies the spirit of open source, allowing developers to contribute, review, and enhance the platform. This fosters a vibrant ecosystem, with continuous improvements driven by community engagement.
  2. Standard Reference Implementation: OpenJDK serves as the reference implementation of the Java Development Kit, ensuring compatibility and adherence to Java standards. This makes it a reliable choice for developers looking for stability and conformity.
  3. Community Support: While OpenJDK doesn’t provide commercial support directly, its open nature encourages community-driven assistance through forums, mailing lists, and collaborative platforms. The Java community’s collective expertise can be invaluable when troubleshooting issues or seeking guidance.

Oracle JDK vs OpenJDK

1. Licensing

One of the significant differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK lies in their licensing models. Oracle JDK follows a commercial licensing model, where users need to purchase a license for commercial usage and production environments. OpenJDK, being open source, is generally free to use and distribute under the GNU General Public License (GPL) or similar licenses.

Oracle provides free downloads of Oracle JDK for personal and non-commercial use, including development, testing, and individual use. It’s important to review the licensing terms and conditions provided by Oracle for the specific version you are using to ensure compliance with their licensing policies, as licensing terms can change over time.

2. Release Cycle and Updates

Oracle JDK follows a release cycle where feature releases are made available every six months. These feature releases introduce significant enhancements, new features, and improvements to the Java platform. Additionally, Oracle provides updates for these feature releases, which include bug fixes and security patches.

Open JDK follows the same release cycle as Oracle JDK. It also releases feature updates every six months, aligning with the Java SE release cadence. These feature updates bring new features, enhancements, and improvements to the Open JDK platform. Open JDK also provides updates for bug fixes and security patches.

3. LTS (Long-Term Support) Support

Oracle JDK offers LTS (Long-Term Support) for specific versions. Starting from JDK 11, Oracle designates LTS releases approximately every three years. These LTS versions receive extended support, including updates, bug fixes, and security patches for a longer duration compared to non-LTS releases. Examples of Oracle JDK LTS versions include JDK 8, JDK 11, JDK 17, and JDK 21.

Open JDK also provides LTS support for specific versions. Open JDK distributions, such as AdoptOpenJDK and Amazon Corretto, offer LTS versions that align with Oracle JDK’s LTS releases. These LTS versions of Open JDK receive similar long-term support, including updates, bug fixes, and security patches for an extended period.

Both Oracle JDK and Open JDK offer LTS support for certain versions, ensuring long-term stability, updates, and security patches. However, it’s important to note that the availability of LTS support may vary depending on the specific distribution of Open JDK.

4. Commercial Support

Oracle provides commercial support options for Oracle JDK, offering additional benefits such as extended support, bug fixes, and timely security patches. In contrast, OpenJDK primarily relies on community support, although some vendors and organizations may offer commercial support for specific distributions of OpenJDK.

5. Security Updates

Oracle JDK and OpenJDK have different approaches to security updates. Oracle JDK often provides timely security patches and updates, including backports for older versions, especially for commercially supported releases. OpenJDK’s security updates heavily rely on community involvement and the timely identification and resolution of security vulnerabilities.

6. Community Involvement

OpenJDK boasts a strong community involvement and collaboration model, with contributions from individuals organizations, and companies across the globe. The community-driven nature of OpenJDK encourages transparency, innovation, and the ability to influence the direction of the platform. Oracle JDK, while it also welcomes community involvement, is primarily developed and maintained by Oracle Corporation.

7. Performance Comparison

When it comes to performance, both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK offer similar levels of performance for most applications. However, certain performance optimizations or improvements may be specific to one implementation or the other. It is advisable to conduct benchmarking and performance testing based on your specific use case to determine which JDK performs better in your scenario.

8. Cost Considerations

Cost considerations can also influence the decision between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK. Oracle JDK, being a commercial offering, may involve licensing costs for certain usage scenarios. The cost of commercial support and extended maintenance should also be taken into account when considering Oracle JDK for enterprise-level projects.

OpenJDK, being open source, is generally free to use and distribute. However, it’s important to note that certain distributions of OpenJDK or specific support offerings may involve costs, depending on the vendor or organization providing them. Evaluate your project’s budget and requirements to determine the most cost-effective option.

Which JDK Should You Choose?

Now that we have examined the differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK, the question remains: which JDK should you choose for your Java development projects? The answer depends on various factors, including your specific requirements, licensing considerations, support needs, and community engagement preferences.

Choose Oracle JDK If:

  • You require commercial support and long-term maintenance for your Java applications.
  • Your organization prioritizes performance optimizations and proprietary features.
  • You are using an older version of Java that is still supported under Oracle’s Long-Term Support (LTS) program.
  • Budget constraints are not a major concern for your project.

Choose OpenJDK If:

  • You prefer an open-source solution that aligns with the principles of transparency and community-driven development.
  • Commercial support is not a critical requirement for your project.
  • Licensing costs are a concern, and you want to leverage a free and open-source JDK.
  • You value frequent updates, bug fixes, and access to the latest features.

It’s worth noting that the choice between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK is not necessarily permanent. As the Java ecosystem evolves, the landscape may change, and new considerations may emerge. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly evaluate your options and make informed decisions based on the current state of the JDKs and your specific project needs.


Is Oracle JDK free to use?

No, Oracle JDK is not free to use for commercial purposes. Starting from Java 11, Oracle changed its licensing model, and commercial users are required to purchase a subscription from Oracle to receive extended support and updates for Oracle JDK. However, Oracle still provides free downloads of Oracle JDK for personal and non-commercial use, including development, testing, and individual use. It’s important to review the licensing terms and conditions provided by Oracle for the specific version you are using, as licensing terms can change over time.

Can I use OpenJDK for commercial purposes?

Absolutely! OpenJDK is free and can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes without any licensing restrictions.

Which JDK should I choose for enterprise-level projects?

Both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK are viable options for enterprise projects. The choice depends on your specific requirements, budget, and support preferences. If you prioritize extensive commercial support and advanced tools, Oracle JDK might be the right fit. Conversely, if you value openness, community collaboration, and cost-effectiveness, OpenJDK might be the right fit. It’s recommended to evaluate your project’s needs and weigh the pros and cons of each JDK before making a decision.

Are there any performance differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK?

In general, both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK offer similar performance since they share a common codebase. However, Oracle JDK may provide certain optimizations and performance enhancements that are not present in the OpenJDK builds. It’s essential to benchmark and test your application on both JDKs to determine any noticeable differences in your specific use case.

Can I switch from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK without any code modifications?

Yes, in most cases, switching from Oracle JDK to OpenJDK does not require any code modifications. OpenJDK aims to be feature-compatible with Oracle JDK, ensuring smooth compatibility during the transition.

Does Oracle JDK provide better commercial support compared to OpenJDK?

Yes, Oracle JDK offers commercial support options, including extended support, bug fixes, and security patches. OpenJDK primarily relies on community support, although some vendors and organizations may offer commercial support for specific distributions.

Are there any platform compatibility differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK?

Both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK provide support for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and various Linux distributions. However, it’s always recommended to check the compatibility of your target platform with the specific JDK distribution you choose.

Things to Consider

When deciding between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK, consider the following:

  • Licensing: Determine if your project requires commercial usage and evaluate the licensing implications of Oracle JDK’s subscription model.
  • Support: Assess your support requirements and consider the available options for both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK, including community support and third-party vendor offerings.
  • Features and Tools: Evaluate the specific features and tools you need for your Java development. Consider the unique offerings of each JDK, such as Oracle JDK’s JFR, Mission Control, and JavaFX, as well as the rich ecosystem of community-driven projects available with OpenJDK.
  • Long-Term Support: If your project requires stability and extended maintenance, consider OpenJDK’s LTS releases, which provide longer support and updates compared to non-LTS releases. Evaluate the duration of support and compatibility with your project’s lifecycle.
  • Community Support: Assess the level of community support available for both Oracle JDK and OpenJDK. Consider factors such as active forums, mailing lists, collaborative platforms, and the responsiveness of the community in addressing issues and providing assistance.
  • Compatibility: Determine the compatibility requirements of your project and verify that the JDK you choose aligns with your project’s dependencies, libraries, frameworks, and other tools. Ensure that your chosen JDK supports the target platforms and versions you intend to deploy on.
  • Industry Adoption: Consider the prevalence and adoption of each JDK within your industry or development community. Understanding the popularity and usage trends can provide insights into the overall support, availability of resources, and compatibility with industry standards.


Oracle JDK offers commercial licensing, long-term support, and timely security updates, making it suitable for enterprise-level applications. OpenJDK, as an open-source implementation, provides a transparent, community-driven approach and a broad ecosystem.

When choosing between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK, carefully assess your project’s requirements, compatibility needs, licensing costs, and the level of community involvement desired. Conduct performance testing and consider the availability of third-party tools and support options. By doing so, you can select the JDK that best aligns with your development goals and requirements, ultimately ensuring a successful Java development journey.

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