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InfoQ Homepage News Oracle Announced Plans for the Future of Sun’s Products, but Raised Concerns about NetBeans

Oracle Announced Plans for the Future of Sun’s Products, but Raised Concerns about NetBeans

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Oracle has released an FAQ that describes its plans for the future of popular Sun technologies like GlassFish, NetBeans, MySQL and more.  In some cases Oracle’s announcement is unclear and raises concerns about product viability.

The announcement makes clear that the Oracle will continue to invest in Sun hardware, in Solaris, SPARC, GlassFish and OpenOffice.

There are some things on the other hand that will be merging like Oracle’s Enterprise Manager and Sun Ops Center that are expected to combine in order to deliver acomplete top-down application and systems management environment.

Similarly Sun’s Identity Management and SOA products are expected to be integrated into the Oracle Fusion Middleware product family. Oracle’s actual statement on this issue seems too vague for Gartner’s analyst Earl Perkins:

I read the pdf, and it is tied up in discussions about technical and application architecture, not the disposition of products, the markets which they will serve, and the configurations of those solutions. it merely says something that would be intuitively obvious in almost all acquistions: we’re going to realize efficiencies of scale by having two groups of people that use to do different things become one group of people do those different things. there is also no timeframe on when this vision will be realized, whether it’s before the end of this year or this decade. Other than that, it’s pretty clear. :-/. And if this is an answer, why do we keep getting clients coming to us asking us the same type of questions over and over that aren’t be answered with this?

Likewise Oracle’s statement about NetBeans is unclear and doesn’t guarantee that the company will continue to invest in this IDE:

Oracle has a strong track record of demonstrating commitment to choice for Java developers. As such, NetBeans is expected to provide an additional open source option and complement to the two free tools Oracle already offers for enterprise Java development: Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. While Oracle JDeveloper remains Oracle’s strategic development tool for the broad portfolio of Oracle Fusion Middleware products and for Oracle’s next generation of enterprise applications, developers will be able to use whichever free tool they are most comfortable with for pure Java and Java EE development:  JDeveloper, Enterprise Pack for Eclipse, or NetBeans.

Tor Norbye, a principal engineer at Sun Microsystems and former member of the NetBeans teams thinks that Sun’s IDE can be a valuable asset for Oracle, but also expressed hope that it will continue to get funded [audio link]:

… I think NetBeans is the best IDE out there. I really hope that it continues to be a viable choice. Right now it’s as good as anything else, but of course 5 years down the road, if Oracle doesn’t invest in it and the community doesn’t step up, it could fall behind and I hope that won’t happen.

Similarly Fabrizio Giudici seems to think that the Oracle statement carries little information about its plans for NetBeans:

Sounds good at first glance, but after you read it you discover that... basically there's zero information. :-) While JDeveloper remains strategic, NetBeans “is expected to provide another option”, but there's no indication on whether Oracle is going to invest on it or not.

So, my opinion is that no decision on NetBeans has been taken. In the meantime, the best thing the NetBeans community can do is to be vocal about the best IDE and Platform around!

Charles Ditzel is even more pessimistic and suggests that Oracle has missed its opportunity to profit from the NetBenas platform:

What should have happened, Oracle should not have missed a beat and should have announced work on Oracle plugins for NetBeans and active Oracle support of NetBeans. This type of announcement would have brought a large and some-what skeptical NetBeans community much closer to Oracle.  It would have been a big win for Oracle.  NetBeans will continue to grow either way - but Oracle has missed a big chance to really change perceptions and at the same time move their tools to another level.  What JDeveloper lacks is buzz, a wealth of community developed plugins, a wealth of support for other languages  and a very, very  large community.   And of course it does not offer a platform in the NetBeans and Eclipse sense of the word.

This is a huge missed opportunity for Oracle.

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Community comments

  • Clarification of my quote

    by Tor Norbye,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Since I was quoted in this article I just want to clarify that I'm not concerned -- my sentence had two if's and one "could". This was intended as a what-if, and as I stated earlier in the discussion, all the signs point towards Oracle keeping up Sun's investments and expanding market opportunities, not cost savings and redundancy reduction.

  • 2002-era

    by Michael Neale,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Netbeans last went quiet in 2002 IIRC - the community did not pick it up then. I think netbeans has a great user community, but isn't as developed as the eclipse community in terms of building the platform and plugins itself.

  • What about JCAPS

    by ashok shetty,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    While the article is mostly centered around products meaningful to developers, enterprises would be more worried about investments they have made in Sun Middleware. There is no clear direction on JCAPS. Will Oracle retire it? If not, how will it stay under the same roof with Oracle BPM/ESB?

  • Just look at the past...

    by Pedro Jimenez,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Here are inalienable truths:

    • - Oracle is litigation paranoid. They will almost always err on the side of caution in pretty much everything they do. It's almost like a bunch of lawyers started a software company.

    • - Products are managed by people. The people that are there will be sure to defend their turf, and being already there gives them a huge political advantage. This has been the case with companies acquired in the past, just look at the product stack from BEA or Peoplesoft, for instance. Of the three Java IDEs named I would argue that JDeveloper is the least popular, but the person running JDeveloper has a good chance to kill NetBeans.

    • - Oracle will take their sweet time and flip flop on products that they don't really care about; so only time will tell, best not to hold your breath. Compared to other competitors, I would say their support for their developer community is relatively weak.

    But hey, they do make a great database...

  • Raise your voice ?

    by Sven H.,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    How and Where ?

    Oracle is a huge corporation and they are following corporate policies and strategies (given by no.1). They know Netbeans is better, but they dont care (imho). You think they care if 10.000 emails by developer dropping in asking to keep it alive ?
    Sweettalk now, kill it later, or better, release it to the community on sourceforge (or similar) where it will die because too big to manage its development in the current speed.
    Oracle makes revenue not friends. Will Oracle become the Microsoft of the Java World ? Spawning JDeveloper version for $$$ for enterprise use and the charity free version for your standalone swing application ?

    PS: We are looping around with this topic for months because there is no proper and clear information available.


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