NetBeans IDE 3.2

System Requirements
MS Windows, Solaris, Linux, OS/2, OpenVMS, MacOS X, other platforms
Startup Parameters
Upgrading from Previous Versions
Known Problems
When You Need Help
Welcome to NetBeans IDE version 3.2, a modular, standards-based integrated development environment (IDE), written in Java. It currently has support for Java, but its architecture lends itself to supporting other languages as well.

This README gives you the basic information to help you install and run the IDE.

System Requirements

MS Windows platforms


Minimum configuration: Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT with a P133 processor, 64 megabytes of RAM, and 40 megabytes of disk space.
Recommended configuration: Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT with a P300 processor and 128 Mbytes of RAM.
Optimal configuration: Microsoft Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT with a P300 processor and 192 Mbytes of RAM.

Note: If you have 64 Mbytes, you should set the configuration file (ide.cfg) startup flag to -Xmx48m.


NetBeans requires a Java 2-compatible JVM. The Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition, for the Windows environment is available for download from (v. 1.3 Production Release) and (v. 1.2.2_005).

Solaris platform


When running on the Solaris platform, you should have at least 40 Mbytes of free disk space.

Minimum configuration: SparcStation 5: 170 MHz, 128 Mbytes of RAM, 16 Mbytes.
Recommended configuration: UltraSPARC 5: 333 MHz, 256 Mbytes of RAM.
Optimal configuration: UltraSPARC 10: 440 MHz, 512 Mbytes of RAM.


NetBeans requires the Java 2 SDK, v. 1.3 for the Solaris environment. The latest SDK is available for download from

Linux platform

The Linux JVM is more resource-intensive, so Linux users may want to have a higher memory configuration.

The latest SDK is available for download from

OS/2 platform


Minimum, recommended and optimal hardware configuration should be similar to the MS Windows platform requirements.


The JDK for OS/2 ships with the operating system or it can be obtained at:

OpenVMS platform


Minimum configuration: OpenVMS 7.2-1 or later with at least a 500MHz Alpha processor, 128 megabytes of RAM, and 75,000 blocks of disk space.
Recommended configuration: OpenVMS 7.2-1 or later, 667MHz Alpha processor, 256 megabytes of RAM.


NetBeans requires a Java 2-compatible JVM. The Java 2 1.3.0 SDK, Standard Edition, for the OpenVMS Alpha environment is available for download from
The Java 2 FastVM 1.3.0-beta or later for the OpenVMS Alpha environment is also required and available at



At least 128MB RAM (the min required for MacOS X). 256MB is recommended.


  • The official release of Mac OS X (the public beta is not sufficient)
  • NetBeans 3.2 (Earlier versions do not work well)
  • The file dt.jar from any of Sun's JDK 1.3 distributions Solaris, Linux, or Windows. dt.jar from other, non-Sun, JDK 1.3 distributions may also work.
Please see the Installation section for information about specifics of MacOS X installation.

Other platforms

Since NetBeans is written in pure Java, it should run on any working implementation of Java(TM) 2 SDK, Standard Edition. People have reported success running the IDE on other platforms as well, but we don't have specific numbers to give you here.


For all platforms you can download the .zip or the .tar.gz archive file and unpack it on the hard disk using your favorite tool. Then you must customize the startup parameters to tell the IDE where to find the JDK. Please read the section below for details.

On Microsoft Windows platforms you can download and run an .exe point-and-click installer, which will guide you through the required steps.

On OpenVMS

  • Download the OpenVMS NetBeans self-extracting archive to your OpenVMS system. You may want to put this file into its own empty subdirectory since documentation and the actual installable kit will be created there.
  • Assure your default directory is set to the directory where the NetBeans archive was downloaded.
  • Execute the command: $ RUN kit_name
    Replace kit_name with the full name of the self-extracting archive which you just downloaded. The contents of the archive will now be extracted to your directory.
  • View the installation documentation which was created in the extraction process and follow the steps contained in the guide to complete the installation.

On MacOS X

  • Untar, unzip or use StuffitExpander to extract NetBeans. Note: unzip is part of developers tools, so it is not available in normal installation and don't forget to use gnutar instead of tar.
  • If you have root access on the machine, copy dt.jar to:
    and make a symbolic link from:
    to your copy of dt.jar in the Classes directory.
    To make a symbolic link, use the command ln -s target linkname, so from the directory ...1.3/Home/lib/ above issue the command ln -s ../../Classes/dt.jar . If you do not have root access, copy dt.jar to some directory you can access, let's say ~/Library/Java
  • To launch NetBeans open Terminal and go to the netbeans/bin directory. Check that has execute permissions, otherwise issue:
      chmod a+x
  • If you have the link to dt.jar in:
      [ ... ]Versions/1.3/Home/lib, start NetBeans in the standard look and feel with:
      ./ -jdkhome /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home
    If dt.jar is in ~/Library/Java use:
      ./ -jdkhome /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home -cp:a ~/Library/Java/dt.jar
    The -jdkhome switch can be omitted if you set the environment variable JAVA_PATH or JDK_HOME to:
    NetBeans can be started in Aqua look and feel using
      ./ -jdkhome /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home -ui -fontsize 10

    Note that settings are incompatible between Aqua and normal look and feel, therefore it is a good idea to have two different user directories if you want to test both normal and Aqua look and feel. Use the -userdir switch to set different user directories.

Startup Parameters

The IDE is run by a launcher. There are several variants of it for Microsoft Windows and UNIX platforms. The launchers are placed in the bin subdirectory of the installation directory.

For UNIX, the Bourne shell script is the launcher.
For Microsoft Windows,.EXE executables, runide.exe and runidew.exe, are the launchers. (The runide.exe is Microsoft Windows console applications. When run, a console opens on the desktop with stderr and stdout output from the Java program. You can type Ctrl-Break to get the thread dump, or type Ctrl-C to quit the whole program. The file, runidew.exe is window application. Otherwise it works exactly the same way. This is similar to java.exe and javaw.exe.)
For OS/2 runideos2.cmd is the launcher.
For OpenVMS is the launcher.

The launcher loads the JVM (1.2 or compatible), builds the IDE's classpath, passes it along with some default parameters to the JVM, and lets the JVM launch the Java application. It also restarts the IDE after an auto update. You can specify additional options:

prints usage
-jdkhome jdk_home_dir
use the specified JDK version instead of the default one. By default the loader looks into the Windows registry and uses the latest JDK available.

explitcitly specifies the JVM variant to be used

-cp:p additional_classpath
prepends the specified classpath onto the IDE's classpath

-cp:a additional_classpath
-cp additional_classpath
appends the specified classpath to the IDE's classpath

passes specified flags directly to the JVM

-ui UI_class_name
use a given class as the IDE's LookAndFeel
-fontsize size
use a given size in points as the font size for the IDE user interface
-locale language[:country[:variant]]
use specified locale
-userdir userdir
explicitly specifies the userdir which is the location where user settings are stored. If this option is not used on UNIX the location is ${HOME}/nbuser32, on Windows the launcher will asks the user to specify the userdir and stores the value in the registry for later use.

On UNIX you can modify the shell scripts yourserlf to suit your needs.

On Microsoft Windows options can also be put in the file ${IDE_HOME>/bin/ide.cfg. The .EXE launcher tries to read this file before it starts parsing the command line options. In the ide.cfg file you can break the options into multiple lines.

Upgrading from Previous Versions

You can use the Settings Import Wizard which is launched automatically on th first start of the IDE to import settings from NetBeans 3.1.

If you used multiuser installation for previous version of the IDE please use the -userdir userdir switch described in the Startup Parameters section to point the launcher to your user directory. This will import your settings automatically.

Known Problems

  • If the JAXP 1.0 is installed in your jre/lib/ext directory the IDE will not work well because of the clash with XML parser used in the IDE.
  • If you use JDK 1.2.x the JNDI module will be disabled. The reason is that the 1.2.x JDK does not contain the JNDI. The JNDI reference implementation can be downloaded at:
  • After upgrade the new version of IDE doesn't know about previous user directory, so correct mounting of "(userdir)/Development" directory is not possible. User is notified and has to mount this directory again in NB 3.2.
  • On MacOS X
    • Expand sign in tree view is not drawn correctly in normal L&F.
    • Debugging is very slow.
    • MDI does not work in Aqua L&F.
    • Windows are not redrawn after window maximizing and after Netbeans hide/unhide.
    • Hint Use Meta-Click to simulate right mouse click.
    • Hint Live window resizing can be disabled on slower machines with the following option
  • RedHat 7.1 contains updated versions of glibc and libpthread libraries tailored to a specific processor type. Those libraries cause java VMs from Sun and IBM (and maybe others) to hang up or crash. You can do one of the following:
    1. Edit the wrapper script that launches java VM. It's named $jdk_home/bin/java - or simply type
      pico ‘which java‘
      Add a statement
      export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5
      at the beginning of the script (after the leading comments)
    2. Edit $netbeans_root/bin/ and add the above statement at the beginning of the script

When You Need Help

The What's New document, in the installation directory, contains the list of new features and information especially useful to users who upgrade from an older version of the IDE. To browse the online help documentation, run the IDE, go to the Help menu and choose Contents.

There is extensive information on the NetBeans project website, Included on the website are a FAQ and instructions on how to subscribe to mailing lists where you can post questions, comments, or help others.

As NetBeans is an OpenSource project you can get access to the source code, bug tracking system etc. on

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