Differences Between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK

Differences Between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK

Java, an omnipresent programming language in the software industry, has entrenched itself in countless applications and systems. When developing Java applications on Linux, one critical decision emerges: the choice of a Java Development Kit (JDK). Two prominent options stand before developers—Oracle JDK and OpenJDK. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into these JDKs, highlighting their distinctions, licensing considerations, installation processes, and performance attributes. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to select the right JDK for your Linux environment.

Table of Contents

Understanding Java Development Kits (JDKs)

What is a JDK?

A JDK, or Java Development Kit, serves as the foundation for Java application development. It encompasses a wide range of tools, including the Java Compiler (javac), Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and Java Runtime Environment (JRE), essential for creating, compiling, and running Java applications.

The Role of JDK in Java Development

The JDK plays a pivotal role in the Java development process. It ensures that your code is compiled, executed, and tested correctly by providing all the necessary tools and libraries.

Why the Choice of JDK Matters on Linux

Linux is a preferred platform for many developers due to its robustness and versatility. Choosing the right JDK for your Linux environment is crucial for optimal performance, compatibility, and licensing compliance.

Oracle JDK for Linux

Overview of Oracle JDK

Oracle JDK, developed and maintained by Oracle Corporation, is one of the most widely recognized Java development kits. It is available for multiple platforms, including Linux, and offers a comprehensive set of tools and features.

Features and Benefits

Performance Enhancements

Oracle JDK is known for its performance improvements, making it an excellent choice for applications with high-performance demands. It includes enhancements like Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation and advanced garbage collection algorithms.

Advanced Tools and Utilities

Developers using Oracle JDK gain access to a suite of advanced tools, such as Java Mission Control and Java Flight Recorder, which facilitate application profiling, debugging, and monitoring.

Commercial Support

Oracle offers commercial support plans for Oracle JDK, ensuring timely updates, bug fixes, and security patches. This support is crucial for enterprises with mission-critical applications.

Licensing Considerations

Recent Changes in Oracle JDK Licensing

In recent years, Oracle altered its licensing model for Oracle JDK. It transitioned from a free-to-use model to a subscription-based one for certain use cases.

Subscription-Based Model

Under the new model, organizations must subscribe to Oracle JDK to receive updates, security patches, and ongoing support. Failure to do so may leave applications vulnerable.

Installation Process for Oracle JDK on Linux

  1. Download Oracle JDK: Visit the official Oracle JDK website and download the Linux version compatible with your system architecture.
  2. Extract the Archive: Use terminal commands to extract the downloaded archive to a preferred installation directory, often /usr/local/.
  3. Set Environment Variables: Configure the JAVA_HOME and PATH environment variables to point to the Oracle JDK installation directory.
  4. Test the Installation: Run java -version to verify that Oracle JDK is correctly installed on your Linux system.

OpenJDK for Linux

Introduction to OpenJDK

OpenJDK, the open-source counterpart of Oracle JDK, is a community-driven project sponsored by organizations like Red Hat and AdoptOpenJDK. It aims to provide a free, open, and standardized Java platform.

Features and Advantages

Open-Source Nature

OpenJDK is fully open-source, making it an ideal choice for projects that prioritize transparency and community collaboration.

Community-Driven Development

The development of OpenJDK is led by a diverse community of contributors, ensuring continuous improvement and innovation.

Compatibility with Java Standards

OpenJDK adheres to Java standards, ensuring compatibility with Java specifications and minimizing compatibility issues.

Licensing and Cost Considerations

GPL-Based Licensing

OpenJDK uses the GNU General Public License (GPL), which allows developers to use, modify, and distribute it freely without any licensing fees.

No-Cost Nature

One of the primary advantages of OpenJDK is its cost-effectiveness. It is available at no cost, making it a suitable choice for organizations looking to minimize expenses.

Installation Process for OpenJDK on Linux

  1. Package Manager Installation: Most Linux distributions provide OpenJDK packages that can be installed using the package manager. For example, on Ubuntu, you can use apt:

sudo apt install openjdk-11-jdk
  1. Manual Installation: Alternatively, you can download OpenJDK from the official website and install it manually using similar steps to Oracle JDK installation.

  2. Setting Environment Variables: Configure the JAVA_HOME and PATH environment variables, similar to Oracle JDK.
  3. Verification: Confirm the installation by running java -version.

Key Differences


Oracle JDK’s Commercial Licensing vs. OpenJDK’s GPL Licensing

Oracle JDK requires organizations to purchase a subscription for ongoing support, while OpenJDK’s GPL licensing is free and open-source.

Support and Updates

Oracle JDK’s Paid Support vs. OpenJDK’s Community-Driven Support

Oracle JDK offers commercial support with guaranteed updates, whereas OpenJDK relies on community support and may have a less predictable update schedule.

Features and Performance

Proprietary Features in Oracle JDK vs. Pure Open-Source Nature of OpenJDK

Oracle JDK includes some proprietary features that may enhance performance but are not available in OpenJDK. However, OpenJDK’s open-source nature allows for customization and transparency.

Performance Variations and Benchmarks

Performance benchmarks may reveal differences between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK in specific scenarios. Consider benchmarking your application to determine the best fit.

Version Consistency

Oracle JDK and OpenJDK Version Alignment

In recent years, Oracle has aligned Oracle JDK with OpenJDK, reducing discrepancies in versions.

Potential Differences in Updates and Patches

Although version alignment has improved consistency, there may still be variations in updates and patches between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK.

Choosing the Right JDK for Your Linux Environment

Factors to Consider

Licensing Requirements

Determine your organization’s licensing needs and budget constraints.

Support and Maintenance Needs

Assess the level of support and maintenance required for your application.

Performance Demands

Consider the performance requirements of your application and whether proprietary features are necessary.

Recommendations for Specific Use Cases

Enterprise Environments

  • For enterprises with strict support and licensing needs, Oracle JDK may be the preferred choice.
  • Consider OpenJDK if you have in-house expertise or can rely on the community for support.

Open-Source Projects

  • OpenJDK is an ideal choice for open-source projects, aligning with the principles of transparency and community collaboration.

Development and Testing Scenarios

  • During development and testing, OpenJDK may suffice, as it is cost-effective and provides most required features.

Installation and Configuration Tips

Step-by-Step Guide for Installing Oracle JDK on Linux

  1. Download Oracle JDK from the official website.
  2. Extract the archive to your preferred directory.
  3. Set JAVA_HOME and update the PATH variable.
  4. Verify the installation with java -version.

Step-by-Step Guide for Installing OpenJDK on Linux

  1. Use the package manager or download OpenJDK from the official website.
  2. Install OpenJDK and configure JAVA_HOME and PATH.
  3. Confirm the installation by running java -version.

Tips for Configuring and Managing JDKs on Linux

  • Use environment variables to switch between different JDKs if necessary.
  • Regularly check for updates and security patches for your chosen JDK.

Best Practices

Keeping JDKs Up to Date

  • Subscribe to updates and security notifications for your chosen JDK.
  • Establish a regular update schedule to ensure your Java environment stays secure and up-to-date.

Monitoring and Optimizing JDK Performance on Linux

  • Utilize performance monitoring tools like Java Mission Control and Java Flight Recorder for Oracle JDK.
  • For OpenJDK, consider open-source monitoring tools like Prometheus and Grafana.

Managing Licensing Compliance

  • Stay informed about changes in Oracle JDK’s licensing to avoid unexpected costs.
  • Keep records of your JDK usage to ensure compliance with licensing agreements.


In the ever-evolving landscape of Java development on Linux, the choice between Oracle JDK and OpenJDK carries significant implications for your projects. Understanding the nuances in licensing, support, features, and performance is essential to make an informed decision. By considering your specific use case and following best practices for installation, configuration, and management, you can harness the power of Java on Linux effectively.


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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