Proposal Calls for Moving NetBeans Stewardship from Oracle to Apache

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 16, 2016

When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems back in 2010, many questions swirled about what might happen to the many prominent open source projects that Sun had stewarded. For example, the fate of the OpenOffice suite of productivity applications hung in the balance, and now there is talk of retiring OpenOffice.

In the latest example of a former Sun project getting farmed away, there is a proposal to move NetBeans, the open source Java IDE that originated at Sun, to the Apache Software Foundation. Some of the original masterminds behind NetBeans endorse the proposal.

The proposal is posted in the Apache wiki, and it notes: "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."

Java founder James Gosling has endorsed the idea.

According to the proposal:

"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. 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."

"NetBeans has approximately 1.5 million active users around the world, in extremely diverse structures and organizations. NetBeans is used by teachers and instructors at schools and universities to teach Java and other languages. It is used by students as an educational tool. It is used by large organizations who base their software on the application framework beneath NetBeans. It is used by web developers for creating web sites and by developers using a range of tools, languages, and technologies to be productive and efficient software developers."

 InfoWorld has run the following juicy quote from Gosling: "Oracle didn't single out NetBeans for neglect, they neglect everything."

Indeed, a number of promising open source projects have been jettisoned from Oracle since the Sun acquisition. There could be good payoffs from Apache stewardship of NetBeans. Many Apache projects have been supported by tooling in NetBeans over the years, such as Apache Ant and Apache Maven. A number of Apache projects are also used by NetBeans, such as Apache Commons and friends.