Oracle has changed the licensing on their version of Java, so you might see new terms and conditions when you upgrade Java. This was not unexpected, so we have a number of options prepared for you right now.

Several years ago Oracle announced that they would shift Java to a dual licensing model. First, Java itself has been open source licensed under the GPL for many years. This is one of the reasons it is the most used language on the planet, used in countless web applications, powering the Android phone operating system and much more. Companies feel they can trust the eco-system to be around a long time and to be very well supported.

Oracle still want to make money from it however, so they are bundling their own version of Java with some small but important differences from the open source version. First they are charging a AU$43.40 annual subscription to continue using their version after the 1 January 2019. Recent updates have shown this alert Java license but this has been the case for a little while now.

Secondly, the open source version of Java doesn’t include webstart. This is the neat technology which upgrades onCourse automatically when we release new versions. It has some intellectual property restrictions which meant it cannot be released as open source.

Oracle have said that non-commercial users can continue using their Oracle installations for free. Whether education or not-for-profit use comes under this category we don’t know. Oracle might be keeping it intentionally vague particularly in this early transition period. So your choices right now are:

1. Don’t upgrade Java beyond update 8.211

Since you aren’t running a Java as a server, the security implications aren’t very severe in the short term.

2. Pay Oracle

AU$43.40 per year per workstations gives you support and clarity.

3. Use our standalone onCourse

Downloads from here are the same onCourse but with a bundled Java 11 which has no licensing restrictions at all. We take care of all that for you. The downside is that you’ll have to manually upgrade this application as we release new versions of onCourse.

4. Ignore the warnings

If you decide that you come under the non-commercial usage requirements, then just keep doing what you do today.

In the slightly longer term, our plan is that by the end of 2019 we aim to have the ability to use onCourse completely within your browser with no client application at all. We’ll continue to ship the standalone client application for people who prefer that (and there will be some nice UI things we can’t do in a browser). You can connect to your existing application like this: (replace the ‘demo’ with your own instance key) but right now there will be parts of the application not available. That’s what we are working on now.