It seems, after a bunch of good beta and RC releases, by now they finally did it: NetBeans 6.0 has been released on December 3, 2007. Which is a good thing, as NetBeans contains quite a set of features that should be of quite some interest to developers not only limited to using the Java language, but of course mainly to those, and especially in situations in which you might want to have a tool for rapid application development in a well-integrated environment (in example building JEE applications using the glassfish application server or the OpenESBenterprise service bus implementation). There are quite some good things to be pointed out about NetBeans 6.0, including a rich set of pre-packed features, the ever-growing list of 3rd-party – plugins, a fairly well-organized collection of official tutorials and articles or the ability to get a free DVD media kit containing an up-to-date set of NetBeans and Java software along with documentation and all you need to get started. Having a new on-line release of NetBeans magazine available also is a good thing, and I am surely curious to know what, as a developer community, will all be about once it’s finished. But, no matter what reasons, in my opinion one point stands out of all these: So far, NetBeans 6.0 is the first Java IDE ever to be released using a GPL license, thus being “free-as-in-free-speech” software, which is surely a good thing and might push forth adoption of NetBeans being a development environment common to folks into both Java and GNU/Free Software. Anyway, thanks to all the NetBeans people for a fairly good release. 🙂