As a keen NetBeans user with no affiliation to Oracle or any vested interest (IDRsolutions – my company – pays my salary and I am free to choose whatever tools I want), I wanted to write an article looking at this and the questions raised.
What is NetBeans?
What is Apache?
The Apache Software foundation provides a clear and well-organised umbrella for Open Source projects with a clear governance model. Much of the Internet runs or relies on software from the Apache foundation.
Isn’t NetBeans already Open Source?
Yes. It was open-sourced by Sun and Oracle has continued to be Open-sourced. At the moment, it is very hard for other people outside Oracle to get involved and contribute. The Apache project provides a much better basis for developing NetBeans further and making it easy to get involved. Some people might also argue that too close a connection to Oracle is holding back NetBeans.
Does this mean Oracle is abandoning NetBeans?
NetBeans is clearly a critical project inside Oracle. You only have to look at the list of Oracle staff being committed to carrying on with NetBeans which includes a huge list of Oracle developers from multiple business units. Oracle is paying their salaries and wants them involved. What is exciting is the number of additional non-Oracle people now able to be involved.
If Oracle were ever to abandon NetBeans at some point, it gives NetBeans a much more viable future.
On the contrary, I see it as a sign that Oracle regards the success of NetBeans as critical and it is trying to give it a broader community and a greater chance of success.
A key indicator is whether the key NetBeans individuals at Oracle are all now quietly looking for jobs elsewhere or in favour of it. I can tell you they are very excited in both public and private conversations off the record…
Is there a down side?
There will be some considerable adjustment and it will take time to move across to the Apache project.
There was some speculation as to whether it made it easier for Oracle to abandon NetBeans. Oracle has never been afraid to kill off projects if it wanted to, and at the end of the day, it gives NetBeans a much wider framework. So I would say no.
Is this good new for NetBeans and its users?
But what do you think about the move?