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Gartner: Oracle probes orgs for Java compliance after new licensing terms

Big Red 'has a history of changing offerings' without allowing renewals of legacy products

Gartner is warning that Oracle "actively targets organizations" on Java compliance following the introduction of new contractual terms for the code.

In a research paper, the global tech analyst said both existing Oracle customers and those with no Oracle products were being targeted by Big Red after the software and hardware vendor introduced the new Java SE Universal Subscription.

In January, Oracle – which acquired Java with its $7.4 billion buyout of Sun Microsystems in 2009 – announced the new Java SE Universal Subscription as "a simple, low-cost monthly subscription that includes Java SE Licensing and Support for use on Desktops, Servers or Cloud deployments."

"Customers of the legacy Java SE Subscription products continue to receive all the original benefits and may renew under their existing terms and metrics," it said.

However, licensing compliance experts warned Oracle would pressure users onto the new model as time goes by. Some customers working with Palisade Compliance might see a tenfold increase in licensing Java, while an analysis on several other companies showed between 2x to 4x price increases, founder and CEO Craig Guarente told The Register.

Gartner agreed that Oracle "has a history of changing offerings and metrics across its entire product portfolio and generally not permitting long-term renewal and/or modifications to the legacy offerings."

The analyst said Oracle is targeting organizations on Java compliance and deploying its global Java licensing team to enforce, according to statements from its clients.

"While Oracle states that the new Java SE Universal Subscription will remove the need to count desktops and servers, it is not yet clear if the compliance-targeting will decrease. Given the broad scope of the employee metric, sourcing, product and vendor management leaders may need to justify employee counts to Oracle, just as they've been required to justify Named User Plus/Desktop quantities," Gartner said in a research note.

Gartner also said that while the 50,000 processors implied in the new licensing terms "seems generous," it is not yet clear if Oracle's use of the Oracle Partitioning Policy to enforce licensing requirements in soft-partitioned and virtualized environments come to an end.

"Oracle has emphasized strong growth rates in Java, and Gartner believes this is an incentive for continued monetization of Java compliance," Gartner said.

In Gartner's calculations of the cost of the Java licensing changes, the worst-case scenarios see costs more than double, while the best case might see costs fall by 94 percent.

The Register has asked Oracle to respond. ®

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