knowledge & insights

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Java Users

With the recent introduction of its new licensing metric, Java has become Oracle’s newest goose laying golden eggs. And true to Aesop’s fable, though Oracle’s reckless rush in recent months to exploit Java licensees may ultimately be the thing that kills its precious goose, there is a risk to your business now. While representing Java licensees across myriad businesses and industries, we have been able to identify the effective habits of Java users that, if employed, can help prevent your business from becoming a casualty as Oracle risks the slow strangulation of its goose de jour.

As our readers know, we have written extensively about how, since it introduced the new employee-based licensing model at the beginning of the year, Oracle has become increasingly aggressive with Java licensing, eclipsing the attention placed on Oracle’s portfolio of other programs. Indeed, we have published several blogs specifically signaling the perils of the new Java licensing metrics which mandates that even if your company runs Java on a single server or end-user device, you are obligated to buy a license for your whole enterprise employee population, which can potentially include your consultants and outsourcers.

As promised in last week’s blog, in order to assist Java users in navigating the current climate, we have identified the 7 habits of highly effective Java users:

  • Effective Java users know which licenses are in play by virtue of their Java use. While it may seem axiomatic to say that applicable licenses should be retained by your business, Java licensing has had so many incarnations since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009 that figuring out which licenses apply to your use is easier said than done. What is beyond cavil is that an appropriate due diligence be done to identify the full scope of your company’s governing Java licenses.
  • Effective Java users have realistic licensing goals and a negotiating strategy for how to get there. Whether your business is in the throes of an Oracle audit, or you are looking to revise your Java use, there is no substitute for knowing both your Java licensing estate and your adversary. Knowledge is power, and while negotiating with a notoriously recalcitrant Oracle, you will need all the power you can get to budge Oracle off of certain terms and conditions that may be unacceptable for your company.
  • Effective Java users do not ignore Oracle’s emails about their Java licensing. The surest way to invite a lawsuit (or at minimum, an audit) is to ignore Oracle’s emails. Trust us -- Oracle will not go away by ignoring them. Upon receipt of a communication from Oracle about your Java licensing, gather the necessary stakeholders and advisers and devise a structured plan for how to respond.
  • Effective Java users know when their employees are downloading Java. Oracle tracks your Java downloads, and you should, too. Indeed, it is downloads which often trigger Oracle audits and other inquiries.
  • Effective Java users have a plan if their intentions are to discontinue use of Java. Weaning your business off of Java requires not just identifying an appropriate ERP substitute but also figuring out your residual Java use and the inevitability of future inadvertent use. Once Oracle knows that you intend to put them in your rearview mirror, the dynamics surrounding any audit negotiations may change dramatically. Further, nothing deflates your company’s best intentions quite like being confronted with a list of previously unknown auto-updates and installations.
  • Effective Java users make no assumptions about being protected from an Oracle audit. Whether you find comfort from your software asset management tool or your status as an Oracle cloud customer, you may still be blindsided by the impact of an Oracle audit. Make no assumptions. There is no vaccine which fully protects you from the threat or impact of an Oracle audit.
  • Effective Java users know that pride goeth before a fall. Your business is what you know, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily understand the full scope of financial and legal exposure presented by your Java use. Don’t allow your pride to get in the way. Whether legal or technical, get the right advice on your Java use and licensing options to fully protect your business.

At the end of the day, managing your Java licensing can be reduced to the same good practices which you apply to each and every division, department and employee of your business. And when it comes to managing your Java estate and dealing with Oracle, you should remember that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Software licensors are known for vague contracts—they’ve made a business of it. 

Read the latest industry news.

Recommended Reading