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The Sources

The NetBeans source code is available under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

The source code is available in a CVS repository. All development of NetBeans happens using the CVS server on this site, and development proposals and decisions happen on the public mailing lists.

You can get to the sources in several ways.

  • Through CVS - see the CVS page for details;
  • Download an archived snapshot from the downloads page; click All NetBeans products - including sources and select version, release type and date.
  • Browse them online

If you are interested in making a build from sources, see the building/installation pages.

So what exactly is here?

What is available here is the entire source tree and history of the NetBeans IDE. Generally, there is a "stable" branch and a "development branch." The development branch is where ongoing development happens - it will be more or less stable depending on what point in the release cycle it is.

For a a description of the physical organization of the sources in the CVS repository, see the CVS Branches and Labels doc.

Is what's here the complete source? Is there anything that isn't here?

There are some things that can't be here for legal reasons. There are a few parts of the NetBeans IDE that are third party software, or fall under a license that doesn't allow their sources to be made public here.

Examples of items in question include:

  • Java Compiler - The Java parser in NetBeans is a wrapper around the Java language compiler (javac). The javac sources are available under the GPL v2 license from the OpenJDK site. NB 5.x and earlier versions use a previous version of the javac compiler that was under a more restrictive Sun BCL license.
  • XML Parsers (Xerces, Crimson, Xalan, DOM, SAX, JAXP, ...) - used throughout the IDE for XML parsing and manipulation.
  • JavaHelp Runtime library 2.x - the IDE uses JavaHelp to display online documentation. The extra binaries distribution may also include the JavaHelp development-time library to rebuild search databases.
  • Apache Ant 1.6.x - a Java-based build tool that NetBeans build system depends on.
  • JUnit 3.8.x - a testing framework used to run unit tests in NetBeans.
  • Tomcat 5.x.x - an embedded servlet container for Java Servlet and JSP development.
  • JSP Standard Tag Library (JSTL)

A given release of NetBeans may have more or fewer non-CDDL-licensed extra files in it. Ask on the nbdev list to be sure.


See the getting involved page.