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NetBeans is Open Source

The NetBeans project is an open-source project. What this means is:

  • The NetBeans Platform and IDE are free for commercial and non- commercial use.
  • The source code to both are available to anyone, to reuse as they see fit, under the terms of the license
  • Development of the Platform and IDE happen in public. Decisions are made on public mailing lists, by consensus.
  • Individuals or companies may contribute code to the project; participation is open to anyone who wishes to participate.

With the exception of content that explicitly specifies the license under which it is made available, the software and other content on this site is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License, which complies with the Open Source Definition . Any third-party binaries included in /external/ directories in the source tree, are licensed under their own terms and conditions.

Why Open Source?

There are many reasons to choose the open-source approach to creating software. This approach can be variably described as:
  • A set of best practices for geographically distributed software development.
  • A way of making sure software meets the needs of its users by ensuring those users can participate in its creation.
  • A way of ensuring that users of software are able to modify it to meet their needs, and that no single entity can act against the interests of the project or the community.
  • A way to create software that helps to ensure high quality by peer review and social dynamics (the "many eyeballs" concept).
  • A way to create software that avoids the hierarchy and organizational politics than can make some commercial development efforts less efficient.

There are many more possible descriptions, ranging from the practical to the religious. The more important question is, does it work? After three years of existence, with participation from thousands of individuals and hundreds of companies (some of which have built their business on the software created here), we believe the answer is an unqualified "yes." But the best way to test this answer is to get involved in the NetBeans community and discover the benefits for yourself.