Oracle Proposes NetBeans IDE as Apache Incubator Project

Oracle Corp. has proposed contributing the NetBeans IDE to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) via the Apache Incubator Project.

The open source project will be called Apache NetBeans, and will "continue to primarily focus on providing tools for the Java ecosystem, while also being focused on tools for other ecosystems, languages and technologies ..." wrote Geertjan Wielenga, who announced the move on the ASF's Incubator general discussion list.

The ASF Incubator Project is the official entry path for projects and code bases whose supporters want them to become part of the ASF. It's where those projects are vetted to make sure they comply with the ASF legal standards and their support communities adhere to the ASF's guiding principles.

Wielenga, a product manager and developer advocate for open source projects at Oracle, submitted the proposal to the ASF. He explained the rationale for the move: "Although NetBeans is already open source, moving it to a neutral place like Apache, with its strong governance model, is expected to help get more contributions from various organizations. For example, large companies are using NetBeans as an application framework to build internal or commercial applications and are much more likely to contribute to it once it moves to neutral Apache ground. At the same time, though Oracle will relinquish its control over NetBeans, individual contributors from Oracle are expected to continue contributing to NetBeans after it has been contributed to Apache, together with individual contributors from other organizations, as well as self-employed individual contributors."

This move will "give NetBeans constituents a greater voice in the project's direction and future success through the upcoming release of Java 9 and NetBeans 9 and beyond," he added. "Evolution within the Apache ecosystem will simplify and streamline the process of contributing code to NetBeans. It will also encourage participation in the continued growth of the communities benefiting from the versatility and stability that NetBeans provides."

The initial goal of the project is to get it approved by the ASF and "establish a new home for an already fully functioning project and to open the governance model so as to simplify and streamline contributions from the community."

Although so-called Apache NetBeans will be considered primarily a Java development tool, it will also continue to evolve its support of other languages and technologies, he said. With approximately 1.5 million active users, NetBeans continues to be a popular Java IDE. But it has grown beyond Java to support C/C++, Groovy, PHP, JavaScript and the HTML5 and CSS Web development standards.

NetBeans 8.1, released in 2015, came with a redesigned Profiler; added support for Java SE 8; and improved support for the Maven repository, the Java EE framework PrimeFaces, and the PHP and C/C++ languages. NetBeans 8.0, released in 2014, added support for enhanced code completion in AngularJS and KnockoutJS; integrated the Karma test runner for JavaScript and the Grunt task runner; provided new Web preview and Chrome Developer Tools integration; and supported developing on-device hybrid HTML5 applications for the iOS and Android platforms. It also introduced support for PrimeFaces and added some support for development for Java SE Embedded 8.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].