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Oracle happy to let Apache Foundation adopt NetBeans

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Java devs suddenly cried out in terror

The Apache Software Foundation is considering a proposal to take custody of Java development environment NetBeans.

The IDE allows development in Java and in other languages and runs operating systems that can fire up a JVM. As the Foundation explains in its proposal, “NetBeans has approximately 1.5 million active users around the world, in extremely diverse structures and organizations.” Students, teachers, “large organizations who base their software on the application framework beneath NetBeans” and many others use the tool.

But the Foundation points out that “NetBeans has been run by Oracle, with the majority of code contributions coming from Oracle.”

Moving the project to the Foundation is therefore seen as a way “to expand the diversity of contributors and to increase the level of meritocracy in NetBeans.”

The Foundation seems to be betting that things can't get worse with the potential for more contributors that would come with its stewardship. The proposal therefore says that “... 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.”

Which sounds a bit like an attempt heading off the notion Oracle is bailing from NetBeans and, by extension, expressing a loss of interest in all Java.

Apache anticipates some problems getting current NetBeaners to work with its licences, but the learning curve shouldn't be too steep because the tool has been open source since Sun decided to change its licence way back in the year 2000. Oracle now uses the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1 for the tool.

The thread discussing the proposal is mostly positive towards the idea, with much discussion considering the effort required to make Apache’s oversight work.

But one developer evangelist of The Register's acquaintance, who prefers we don't use his name, said his starting point for considering the move to Apache is “Oracle's sordid history of acquiring then neglecting open source tech (remember MySQL?)”.

Kate Carruthers, chief data officer at the University of New South Wales, said “I'm worried that anyone is still using java to be honest. But this seems like a better option than Oracle's neglect.”

“I think it’s a healthy enough project to not suffer the same fate as Apache OpenOffice,” open source developer and advocate Jeff Waugh told El Reg. “It’s well regarded. Apache doesn’t have much of a rep for building user interfaces / products, but they do for developer tools.”

And here's another opinion.

What do you think? Down there to the right: comments. Write one, why don't you? ®

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