NetBeans has been around since 1996, starting out as a student project and wandering from Sun Microsystems to Oracle before being submitted into the Apache Incubator in October 2016. Last year the IDE even won the Duke’s Choice Award, honouring the project’s innovational power using Java technology.
Aside from being a development environment, NetBeans is also used as an application framework and tooling platform. The most recent major release, version 11.0, was announced only earlier this month.
SkyWalking on the other hand was only developed in 2015, joining the Apache Incubator in 2017. The project can help with tracing, service mesh telemetry analysis, metric aggregation, and visualisation for distributed systems. Well-known users include Alibaba and Huawei.
Apache NetBeans VP Geertjan Wielenga summarised the meaning for his community in a canned statement as follows “Every contributor to the project now has equal say over the roadmap and direction of NetBeans. That is a new and historic step and the community has been ready for this for a very long time.”
To him, however, the new status means more responsibility as well: “Now that the community finally has what it’s been asking for for so many years, it needs to step up and take ownership of Apache NetBeans. Each and every user of Apache NetBeans now has the ability to ask themselves where they can best fit in to drive the project forward – from evaluating bugs, to reviewing pull requests, to tweaking the documentation, to verifying tutorials, to helping answer questions on the mailing lists, or sharing tips and insights on Twitter. Lack of Java knowledge and even lack of programming knowledge is no excuse; there’s really something to do for everyone with any skill or interest level.”
In general the top-level status means the full endorsement of the Apache Software Foundation. It is supposed to improve the project’s visibility and help it gain more traction when it comes to usage and contributions. Projects that have made their way through the incubator have proven to have a stable infrastructure, communications, and decision making process in place.