Java, today, is one of the most popular programming languages used to create Web applications and platforms. Designed for flexibility, it allows developers to write code that could be executed on any system, irrespective of the platform or architecture. At its core is the Java Development Kit (JDK) – the other two are Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and Java Runtime Environment (JRE). Programmers who are new to Java, often confuse JDK with JRE. For better understanding, the distinction is as follows,
- JDK is a combination of tools for developing Java-based software, whereas JRE is a collection of tools for running Java code.
- JRE can be leveraged as a standalone component to run Java programs. However, the JDK would require a JRE because Java programs are also a part of developing them.
JDK was earlier referred to as Software Development Kit (or SDK). They’re both the same. But confusion around the Java SDK and Java JDK started because of two reasons – (1) Java rolled out new versions every six months, and (2) Oracle changed the support model for JDK.
Oracle now distributes two JDK builds – Oracle Open JDK and Oracle JDK. Oracle JDK comes free if you are only developing and testing, but you need to pay when you use it for production. However, Open JDK is free for any environment.
Let’s look at differences between Oracle JDK and Open JDK in detail
Oracle JDK, developed by Oracle, contains a complete JRE, the so-called private runtime. It provides more tools than the standalone JRE and other components needed for developing Java applications.
- Oracle JDK provides long term support for its releases and rolls out releases every three years.
- Oracle JDK is licensed under the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement.
- When using Oracle’s platform, users need to understand some licensing implications. Oracle had earlier announced that public updates for Oracle Java SE 8, which were released after January 2019, would be unavailable for business, commercial, or production use without a commercial license.
- Oracle JDK is much better regarding JVM performance and responsiveness. The focus is more on stability due to the importance it gives to its enterprise customers
- Oracle JDK has Flight Recorder, Java Mission Control, Application Class-Data Sharing features
- It also has more Garbage Collection (GC) options and better renderers.
Open JDK, developed by Oracle, OpenJDK & Java Community, is an open-source implementation of the Java SE platform. Major Linux distributions such as Fedora, Ubuntu, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, provide Open JDK as default Java SE implementation.
- Unlike Oracle JDK, Open JDK is released every six months. And it supports the changes to a release only until the next version is released.
- Open JDK has the GNU (General Public License) and is licensed under the GPL v2 license. The significant advantage is that Open JDK is an entirely open-source kit and users can leverage it freely.
- Open JDK provides high performance because it was developed on top of Oracle JDK.
- Due to Open JDK’s frequent releases to support additional performances, it might lead to instability.
- Open JDK has fewer GC options and has slower graphics renderer options because of its distribution which contains its own renderers.
- Open JDK community users outperform the features released by Oracle JDK to improve the performance.
- OpenJDK has the Font Renderer feature.
Oracle JDK vs. Open JDK: How to pick one?
Both development kits are used to develop stand-alone Java applications, web applications, and graphical user interfaces. But the key difference lies with the licensing. The licensing factor significantly affects additional tool integrations and implementations in the Oracle JDK. But the rapid feature releases from Open JDK, Java community, as well as contributions from other tech-giants puts the Open JDK on edge – focusing more on performance than stability.
Open JDK has more room for scalability, performance assurance, other tools as well as third-party feature integration and implementation. It can also be fine-tuned per the requirements of JVM with the sole purpose of upping the performance. But stability in this scenario is often an after-thought, putting reliability at risk.
If you want to go for performance, choose Open JDK. However, we recommend choosing Oracle JDK for stability – a reason why Oracle JDK audience comprises all enterprise users.