Java is a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language with a low number of implementation dependencies. It is a general-purpose programming language designed to allow programmers to write once and run anywhere (WORA), which means that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without requiring a recompilation. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode, which can run on any Java virtual machine (JVM), regardless of underlying computer architecture. Java’s syntax is similar to that of C and C++, but it has fewer low-level facilities than either of them. The Java runtime includes dynamic features (such as reflection and runtime).
Sun Microsystems introduced Java as a programming language and computing platform in 1995. From humble beginnings, it has grown to power a large portion of today’s digital world by providing a dependable platform on which many services and applications are built. Java is still used in the development of new, innovative products and digital services for the future.
Many applications, and even some websites, will not function unless Java is installed. This website, Java.com, is intended for consumers who need Java for desktop applications – specifically, applications targeting Java 8. Developers and users who want to learn Java programming should go to the dev.java website instead, while business users should go to oracle.com/java.
Java 17 is the most recent version as of October 2021. The current long-term support (LTS) versions of Java are 8, 11, and 17. Oracle released the last zero-cost public update for the legacy version Java 8 LTS for commercial use in January 2019, but it will continue to support Java 8 with public updates for personal use indefinitely. Other vendors have started to offer free builds of OpenJDK 8 and 11, which are still receiving security and other updates.
Oracle (and others) strongly advise uninstalling outdated and unsupported versions of Java due to serious risks associated with unresolved security issues.  Oracle advises users to upgrade to a supported version, such as one of the LTS versions, as soon as possible (8, 11, 17).
Is Java free to download?
Yes, Java is free to download for personal use. Get the latest version at java.com.
Java is also free for development: developers can find all the development kits and other useful tools at https://www.oracle.com/javadownload/.