In an announcement on the NetBeans homepage, Oracle has proposed contributing the NetBeans IDE to the Apache Incubator to be known as Apache NetBeans. NetBeans was acquired by Sun Microsystems and made open source over fifteen years ago, and the announcement claims 1.5 million active users.
Even though it was already an open source project, the move should allow for increased contribution and collaboration with outside developers to improve the product, while taking Oracle off the hook for any potential neglect. Part of the NetBeans.org statement reads:
"Oracle is relinquishing its control of NetBeans and introducing it to Apache's widely accepted governance model, which will provide new opportunities to the NetBeans community and stimulate further code contributions."
The proposed move to Apache is similar to how Oracle had solved a previous product redundancy (Oracle already has an IDE, JDeveloper) after the Sun acquisition, when they donated OpenOffice to Apache
The proposal on the Incubator's wiki lists such Java luminaries as James Gosling, Kirk Pepperdine, Martijn Verburg, and Bruno Souza as contributors. The list also includes over 20 Oracle employees.
There is an active public mailing list thread which is mainly focused on project mentors and hosting issues at this point. A Reddit thread on /r/programming has a mix of optimism (plug-ins to compete with Eclipse) and fear (muddled interface), and it's notable that Oracle's Geertjan Wielenga is active in the discussion.
There are lots of interesting questions raised by the move. Is NetBeans the next OpenOffice or will the community rally around it? With the criticisms of Oracle's lack of Java activity, does this signify Oracle moving away from Java? What other products might follow?