netbeans 9 rc1 is here, and it’s very good

It’s been a long time coming. Netbeans, which is now a part of the Apache Foundation, announced Netbeans 9 RC1 back on May 28 (go to to stay abreast of Netbeans’ news and to download the latest releases).

RC1 downloads as a zip file, which I was able to unzip onto my MBP. That leaves the complete application sitting in a netbeans folder. Step into netbeans/bin and execute the netbeans shell script to bring up Netbeans 9. No problems, no issues. I like the fact it doesn’t require an installer and frankly hope they keep it this way. It even found my older Netbeans 8.2 installation configuration and, miracle of miracles, found and loaded my Darcula (that’s spelled correctly, by the way) LAF plugin. Darcula is working just fine as you can see in the screen shot. All of this is working with Java 10.0.1. The project loaded above builds and executes just fine under Java 10.

I said earlier that Netbeans 9 has been a long time coming. That’s because it was originally slated to be released the same time Java 9 was released back in September 2017. Here we are mid-2018, a good nine months after the initially planned release date. I know a lot of effort went in to making this happen, what with the shift out from Oracle and to Apache, which required additional effort to remove all copyright notices from all the source files (I was a lurker to the ongoing process). They finally finished to the point where they are releasing a near-final Netbeans 9. Of course, if you were following along, you could pull a copy of the Netbeans source and build it yourself, which I did a number of times just to observe the progress. Netbeans 9 is now reaching an official release point.

I’m very happy to see Netbeans at this stage, and I know it will be officially released Real Soon Now. What will transpire after the official Netbeans 9 release is anyone’s guess. Once again Oracle has roiled the community with its change to how their Java is licensed and paid for; they want business use to be subscription based. Although individual seats appear low cost, multiply that across a large enterprise and the costs literally add up very quickly. The only way out would be open source Java, specifically OpenJDK, which I took a look at when I installed Linux Mint 19. Linux Mint 19 comes with OpenJDK 10. I’ve already found dissatisfaction with OpenJDK 10; JavaFX is a separate package, openjfx, and even though I installed that via apt, my pre-built JavaFX applications still fail to run because of issues with JavaFX under OpenJDK/OpenJFX. No, I won’t install Oracle Java on Linux Mint 19. I have, instead, installed Google’s Go. For UI work I’ll look at Javascript/Typescript tied to a Go HTTP RESTful framework. That’s an outgrowth of my work with Go on the Raspberry Pi, which I’ve written about elsewhere.

The group behind the release of Netbeans 9 is to be commended for their hard work and dedication. They did a superb job from what I’ve been able to see so far. For those that intend to continue working with Java, have been waiting for Netbeans 9, and plan to move to Java 11, Netbeans 9 is an excellent tool.