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Apache NetBeans is a Top-Level Project

April 24, 2019

The Apache Software Foundation has made Apache NetBeans a Top-Level Project (TLP).

Apache NetBeans is an Open Source development environment, tooling platform, and application framework that enables Java programmers to build desktop, mobile, and Web applications. The project was originally developed as part of a student project in 1996, was acquired and open-sourced by Sun Microsystems in 2000, and became part of Oracle when it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. NetBeans was submitted to the Apache Incubator in October 2016.

"Being part of the ASF means that NetBeans is now not only free and Open Source software: it is also, uniquely, and for the first time, part of a foundation specifically focused on enabling open governance," said Geertjan Wielenga, Vice President of Apache NetBeans. "Every contributor to the project now has equal say over the roadmap and direction of NetBeans. That is a new and historic step and the community has been ready for this for a very long time. Thanks to the strong stewardship of NetBeans in Sun Microsystems and Oracle, Apache NetBeans is now ready for the next phase in its development and we welcome everyone to participate as equals as we move forward."

Apache NetBeans 11.0 was released on 4 April 2019, and is the project’s third major release since entering the Apache Incubator. The project has most recently won the 2018 Duke's Choice Award, a well established industry award in the Java ecosystem.

"'Have a patch for NetBeans? Then create a pull request for Apache NetBeans!' I love how that sounds," said Jaroslav Tulach, original founder and architect of NetBeans. "I am really glad the transition has gone so well and that 'my NetBeans' has turned into a full-featured project at The Apache Software Foundation."

"From the moment that I first evaluated NetBeans for use in my courses at Dawson College and Concordia University, I recognized that it was a unique tool. In the years that followed, it has never disappointed me as the best tool for education. Now, I am even more excited about using it as it becomes a top-level project in the Apache Software Foundation," said Ken Fogel, Chairperson of Computer Science Technology at Dawson College, Montreal. "A lot of amazing developers from around the world have contributed to making NetBeans a first-class tool worthy of being under The Apache Software Foundation. Now, more than ever, its continued evolution will be faster, more responsive to the needs of the development community, and ever more open to the participation of the community. I am proud to have had a very small part in its development and I am excited to see how it will grow and evolve going forward."

By becoming an Apache project, NetBeans is benefiting from being enabled to receive more contributions from around the world. 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 NetBeans with it being part of the ASF than as part of a commercial enterprise. At the same time, individual contributors from Oracle continue to work on Apache NetBeans in its new home, as part of the worldwide community of individual contributors, both self-employed as well as from other organizations.

"Apache is the perfect home for NetBeans, allowing its long tail of historic contributors to stay involved while also launching another stage in its evolution for newcomers," said Simon Phipps, current President of the Open Source Initiative. "As a member of the new Apache NetBeans Project Management Committee, I look forward to helping in any way I can and I encourage the whole Java family to do so too."

"I've used NetBeans since I first started learning Java over 15 years ago," said Neil C. Smith, creator of PraxisLIVE. "It remains my tool of choice. It's great to be part of the Apache community and helping it to thrive. But NetBeans is more than just a development environment, it's also a powerful platform for building other business and development tools. It forms the backbone of PraxisLIVE, which I have created and continue developing on top of Apache NetBeans, powering a hybrid visual Smalltalk-like IDE for the underlying live programmable Java actor system".

"I am an avid NetBeans user, since my first experience in about 2008. The most important aspect is, quoting Java EE guru Adam Bien: ‘It always works’," said Pieter van den Hombergh, lecturer at Fontys Venlo University of Applied Sciences. "This is particularly important in my job and to my audience: I teach Java, as well as, occasionally, PHP. Now that NetBeans has gone through the hard work of the transfer from Oracle to Apache, I am glad to see it increasingly becoming complete again. I am certain to enjoy using the up to date version with Java 11+, JUnit 5 integration, and all the other goodies, either built-in or provided by the many useful plugins."

"The flip side of freedom is responsibility," added Wielenga. "Now that the community finally has what’s its been asking for for so many years, it needs to step up and take ownership of Apache NetBeans. Each and every user of Apache NetBeans now has the ability to ask themselves where they can best fit in to drive the project forward -- from evaluating bugs, to reviewing pull requests, to tweaking the documentation, to verifying tutorials, to helping answer questions on the mailing lists, or sharing tips and insights on Twitter. Lack of Java knowledge and even lack of programming knowledge is no excuse; there’s really something to do for everyone with any skill or interest level. There is no need nor excuse to stand on the sidelines anymore -- NetBeans is now yours, exactly as much as you want it to be."

Catch Apache NetBeans in action at conferences all over the world. Users are welcome to set up and host their own Apache NetBeans events, such as the annual Apache NetBeans Day UK, which will be held 27 September 2019, in London.

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