Oracle Berkeley DB Licensing Information

Oracle employs a dual licensing model that offers customers a choice of either our open source license or a commercial license. Our open source license is OSI-certified and permits use of Berkeley DB in open source projects or in applications that are not distributed to third parties. Our commercial license permits closed-source distribution of an application to third parties and provides business assurance.

This model gives customers significant benefits:

Open Source License

  • Huge user community
  • Very high code quality
  • Easier debugging and integration
  • Easy download and trial
  • No escrow issues
  • Freedom from vendor lock-in

Commercial License

  • Application source code stays private
  • Legal assurances, warranties and indemnification
  • Full-time, dedicated development team provides ongoing maintenance and development, documentation, testing
  • Single vendor to hold accountable

Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB Java Edition and Berkeley DB XML are open source products. The complete source code, documentation, and files required to build the library on a large number of operating systems and hardware platforms are available for download from Oracle Technology Network.

The our open source license permits you to use Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB Java Edition or Berkeley DB XML at no charge under the condition that if you use the software in an application you redistribute, the complete source code for your application must be available and freely redistributable under reasonable conditions. If you do not want to release the source code for your application, you may purchase a license from Oracle. For pricing information, or if you have further questions on licensing, please contact us at

    Licensing Questions and Answers

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  • What does "redistribute" mean?

    The term "redistribution" in the Open Source License means your application is distributed to one or more third parties. Giving an application to customers, even in alpha or beta releases, is redistribution. Giving contractors, affiliates, parent organizations or subsidiaries, business partners or support vendors a copy of the application is generally redistribution.

    The following are not redistribution:

    • Building an application for use internal to your organization, deployed and managed on your company servers.
    • Off-site backups or other software archival procedures.

    If you have questions about whether your use of Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB Java Edition or Berkeley DB XML constitutes redistribution, please contact us at

  • Does it matter if I charge money for my software?

    Whether or not you charge money for your application does not matter. The only test is if you redistribute it.

  • What must I release as open source?

    Under the open source license, you must release the complete source code for the application that uses Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB Java Edition or Berkeley DB XML. You do not need to release the source code for components that are generally installed on the operating system on which your application runs, such as system header files or libraries.

  • What open source license should I use?

    Oracle recognizes the common open source licenses, including the GPL and the BSD license, as open source licenses. In general, licenses recognized by meet the Oracle requirements of "freely redistributable under reasonable conditions."

    Of course, releasing an application which includes Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB Java Edition or Berkeley DB XML under an open source license does not change the requirements of our open source license, and the Berkeley DB source code remains subject to the terms of the open source license governing its use and redistribution. Our open source license is compatible with the GPL, so GPL'ed software can incorporate Berkeley DB, Berkeley DB XML or Berkeley DB Java Edition without violating the terms of either license.