Oracle no more — NetBeans is moving to Apache
Symbol of the house and stick the key in the keyhole image via Shutterstock
Call it Apache NetBeans! NetBeans is moving to Apache, but it will continue to focus on the areas it has focused on while sponsored by Sun Microsystems and Oracle. Individual contributors from Oracle are likely to continue contributing to NetBeans, together with individual contributors from other organizations, as well as self-employed individual contributors.
The next steps are to “establish a new home for an already fully functioning project and to open up the governance model so as to simplify and streamline contributions from the community.”
Even though Oracle will hand over 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, according to the proposal description.
Why is NetBeans moving to Apache?
Even though NetBeans is already open source, moving it to a neutral place like Apache, with its strong governance model, is likely to lead to an increase in the number of contributions from various organizations. NetBeans has decided to move to Apache “to expand the diversity of contributors and to increase the level of meritocracy in NetBeans.” The core developers will come from a range of organizations, including Oracle, which will continue its investment in NetBeans.
It is also stated that “Oracle owns trademark registrations for the NetBeans mark in the U.S. and EU, and would donate those, including the name ‘NetBeans’ and the ‘netbeans.org’ domain, to the Apache Foundation, along with other artifacts, including the U.S. copyright registrations related to NetBeans. The trademark and copyright transfers would be detailed in separate documents.”
Where does NetBeans go from here?
As the proposal points out, some of the challenges include the following: orphaned products, inexperience with open source, homogenous developers (the NetBeans community around the world is extremely diverse and heterogeneous in relation to geography and backgrounds of developers), reliance on salaried developers, relationships with other Apache products and an excessive fascination with the Apache brand.
As far as the reliance on salaried developers is concerned, most of the contributors are likely to be paid to work in the Java ecosystem, while others will come from organizations where they are paid to work with other languages and technologies. However, it is unlikely that the developers will go very far outside the Java ecosystem since Java skills are needed to develop most parts of NetBeans.
The initial source is in Mercurial at hg.netbeans.org and will be moved, with assistance from Apache infra team, to Apache Git.