Java has been free since 1995, but that could soon change. Read below to learn more about the upcoming changes.

What is a Java subscription?

Java SE Subscription is a simple, low-cost monthly subscription that includes Java SE Licensing and Support for use on Desktops, Servers or Cloud deployments

Who needs subscriptions?

The subscriptions will be available in July 2018
January 2019, Oracle will require a subscription for businesses to continue getting updates to Java SE 8
December 2020, Oracle will require a subscription for non-businesses to continue getting updates to Java SE 8

Why do I need a subscription?

The subscription provides access to tested and certified performance, stability, and security updates for Java SE, directly from Oracle.
If any applications installed on your system or web-based applications require the latest version of java to run you will need a subscription.

How can I tell if my application requires Java?

Every software vendor is different, reach out to your application vendor to find out.

What is included in a subscription?

Access to: My Oracle Support (MOS) 24×7
Access to the Advanced Management Console and Java Usage tracker applications to detect, collect, measure, and provide your compliance position.

How much does it cost?

Desktop pricing is $2.50 per user per month, or lower with tiered volume discounts. All systems currently not being used would need a license as well.
Server pricing starts at $25 per month per processor that uses the software.

The subscriptions can be annual from 1-3 years
http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/pricing/price-lists/java-se-subscription-pricelist-5028356.pdf

Java Version History
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_version_history