Note: The most recent version of this document is available on-line.

NetBeans IDE - Release 3.3.1


1. Introduction
2. What's New In This Release
3. System Requirements
3.1 Hardware
3.2 Operating System
3.3 Software
4. Installation
5. The Launcher and Startup Parameters
6. Compatibility/Upgrading
7. Known Problems
8. Documentation
9. More Information
10. Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

Welcome to NetBeans IDE version 3.3.1, a modular, standards-based integrated development environment (IDE), written in Java. NetBeans is not just an IDE. NetBeans is :

  • An open source IDE written in the JavaTM programming language.
  • A tools platform into which other tools and functionality can be seamlessly integrated by writing and incorporating modules.
  • An application core which can be used as a generic framework to build any kind of application.

Read more about NetBeans ...

2. What's New In This Release

NetBeans IDE 3.3.1 is a bug fix release of NetBeans 3.3. It contains about 550 new bug fixes. The complete list of fixed bugs can be found in IssueZilla using this query.

NetBeans IDE 3.3 release contains a lot of new features. The The complete list of new features implemented in this release is available in the IDE's installation folder in the CHANGES.html file.

3. System Requirements

Since NetBeans is written in pure Java, it should run on any working implementation of Java(TM) 2 SDK, Standard Edition.

3.1 Hardware

The hardware requirements are similar for all platforms, but it may differ slightly for some cases. The recommended configuration for running NetBeans IDE is:
  • Disk space: 40 Mbytes
  • Memory: 128 (Windows platforms) - 256 Mbytes (most other operating systems)
  • Processor: PII/300, UltraSPARC II/450 (Solaris), 500MHz Alpha (Open VMS) or equivalent
Note: If your system's memory is lower than the above recommendation, you should set a lower maximum heap size in the bin/ide.cfg file. For example, if your system has 64 Mbytes of memory, you can change the -J-Xmx96m parameter to -Xmx48m.

3.2 Operating System

Any operating system supporting Java(TM) 2 SDK, Standard Edition. Below is a list of platforms that the NetBeans IDE can run on. If you know about any other platform, please let us know.
  • Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, ME
  • Solaris 8
  • Linux - any distribution
  • OS/2
  • Open VMS 7.2-1 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.1.1
  • HP-UX

3.3 Software

NetBeans requires a Java 2-compatible JVM. Download the latest version of the appropriate JDK (1.3.x) from the following sites: NetBeans IDE also runs on JavaTM 2 SDK, Standard Edition, v. 1.4.0 (currently Beta 3). Download this version of the J2SE SDK from

If you are running on a Microsoft Windows system, please note that the runide.exe installer does not detect beta versions of the JDK. You can set the -jdkhome jdk_home_dir parameter in the ide.cfg file if you want to use a different JDK than the one detected by the installer. See The Launcher and Startup Parameters for more information.

4. Installation

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 SDK. Please read the The Launcher and Startup Parameters section for details.

On Microsoft Windows platforms you can download and run an .exe point-and-click installer that guides 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 Mac OS X

  • Untar, unzip to extract NetBeans. Note: unzip is part of developers tools, so it is not available in normal installation, don't forget to use gnutar instead of tar. Using StuffitExpander to extract NetBeans can cause problems with truncated filenames for NetBeans 3.3. For more info see Bad expansion of .tar.gz on Mac OS X
  • To launch NetBeans open Terminal application and go to the netbeans/bin directory.
  • Start NetBeans in the standard look and feel using following command
      ./ -jdkhome /Library/Java/Home
    The -jdkhome switch can be omitted if you set the environment variable JAVA_PATH or JDK_HOME to /Library/Java/Home
  • NetBeans can be started in Aqua look and feel using
      ./ -jdkhome /Library/Java/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.


  • Do not set your userdir to the same directory as IDE installation directory.
  • BadSerData exceptions may be thrown when upgrading from 3.2.x release that used jdk1.3.1 to the 3.3.1 release running on jdk1.4.0. In this case run 3.3.1 on jdk1.3.1 and perform imports of your projects. You can then safely switch to jdk1.4.0.

5. The Launcher and Startup Parameters

The IDE is run by a launcher. Launchers for several platforms are located in the bin subdirectory of the installation directory.

For UNIX, the Bourne shell script is the launcher.
For Microsoft Windows, use the runide.exe or the runidew.exe executable. runide.exe is a Microsoft Windows console application. When you run runide.exe, a console opens on the desktop with stderr and stdout output from the NetBeans IDE. You can type Ctrl-Break to get the thread dump, or type Ctrl-C to quit the whole program. runidew.exe is the executable for running the NetBeans IDE as a window application without a console.
For OS/2 runideos2.cmd is the launcher.
For OpenVMS is the launcher.

The launcher loads the JVM, 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 you have used the Update Center.

You can pass startup parameters to the launcher using the ${IDE_HOME>/bin/ide.cfg file. The launcher tries to read this file before it starts parsing the command line options. You can break the options into multiple lines.

The following options are available:

print descriptions of common startup parameters

-jdkhome jdk_home_dir
use the specified version of the Java(TM) 2 SDK instead of the default SDK. By default on Windows systems, the loader looks into the Windows registry and uses the latest SDK available.

use the classic JVM, instead of the default Java HotSpot Client VM.

-cp:p additional_classpath
prepends the specified classpath to 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 the 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}/nbuser33. On Microsoft Windows systems, the launcher asks the user to specify the userdir and stores the value in the registry for later use.

6. Compatibility/Upgrading

When you first run NetBeans IDE 3.3.1, you can import the settings that you used in a previous installation of the IDE. These settings include project-specific settings and global options. If you choose not to import settings from a previous release, the IDE begins with a set of default settings. The Import Wizard guides you through the choices.

You can import settings from NetBeans IDE v. 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 and 3.3. You can also import settings for Forte for Java v. 2.0 and 3.0.

In NetBeans IDE 3.2 and Forte for Java 3.0, you can find the user directory when running the software. Choose Help | About, and click the Detail tab.

Though it is possible to import settings from a previous IDE installation into NetBeans IDE 3.3, it is not possible to import settings from NetBeans IDE 3.3 into earlier IDE releases.

7. Known Problems

The following list includes the known high priority issues in NetBeans 3.3.1.

14130P2openideUnable to add files to the already created jar(-Content)
12557P2openideDeadlock while modifying just loaded source.
19217P2coreSizes of split maximized windows not remembered after restart
19686P3coreCannot shrink Output Window
19521P2coreMemory leak
19839P2formNullPointerException when closing NB after working with form
18101P3javacvsClassCastException on org.netbeans.modules.javacvs.caching.CvsCacheFile
19133P2scriptingUnable to make a simple examle with jdk1.3.1_02
12451P2uiActions from popup menu not fully visible
19506P2extbrowserStarting Netscape 6 from IDE has problems
19612P3extbrowserUnable to launch web browser when program is check stopped
19589P2webWAR stores linked directories/files in the wrong directory (the root)
11338P2httpservIDE refuses to exit

Note: The most recent list of known issues is available on-line.

8. Documentation

Documentation is provided for the NetBeans IDE in the form of online help. To access all of the available online help, choose Help | Contents.

The online help is not complete for the NetBeans IDE 3.3.1. Updates to the online help may be provided periodically in the Update Center or as part of any subsequent update releases.

You can adjust the font sizes and colors in the online help by changing a single cascading style sheet. Go to /docs/org/netbeans/modules/usersguide and edit or replace the ide.css file.

9. More Information

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 open source project, you can get access to the source code, bug tracking system, and so on at

More information about NetBeans IDE, Release 3.3.1 is available at

10. Acknowledgements

This product includes software developed by the Apache Software Foundation (
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