NetBeans Community Growth, Revisited

People often ask me for quantitative data about the growth of NetBeans. Probably the best way to measure the growth of NetBeans community are the Update Center visits. Each IDE has a unique ID and connects to the update center on startup to get updates. We can measure these users (except for those behind firewalls, restrictive proxies or those who disable the update functionality). We make sure to measure only active users (if you don't use NetBeans and don't connect to the update center anymore, we won't track you - hence the drop off during summer months). More info about the tracking is in my last blog entry on this topic.

Here is the most recent graph:

Unique update center visitors

We've been tracking the unique update center visits for quite a while, so we can make some observations:
  • The numbers are growing, from 63.063 in Nov 2004 to 261.341 in Oct 2006
  • There are dropoffs during summer months when many people go on vacations
  • After every release the numbers get another boost - they start to grow rapidly again
  • Most people migrate to newer versions of NetBeans within several months
  • The graph finishes \*before\* the release of NetBeans 5.5, so we can expect even more rapid growth than in last 3 months on the graph
  • The numbers are by no means complete numbers of people in the NetBeans community. According to Evans Data Corporation study the estimated number of NetBeans users is about 900.000 worldwide - the difference can be explained by the fact that some people are behind firewalls, turn off their update center or don't use the IDE all the time (we only track them when they currently use the IDE).
  • What's important is not the exact number of users but the slope of the curve. By monitoring this data we get very good feedback about the success of NetBeans releases.
Some other interesting numbers:
  • Number of downloads of NetBeans since it was opensourced: 11.5 million
  • Number of hits on during Oct 2006: 57 million
  • Unique subscribers to all NetBeans mailing lists: 520.000
Thanks to all people from the NetBeans community for their continuous support!

Hello, I like very much the videos. It's much easier for me to use Netbeans and all its features. Thanks

Posted by guest on listopad 12, 2006 at 01:58 odp. CET #

You're welcome! Feel free to suggest additional topic for the flash demos if you don't understand how to use any of the features... I'll record them.

Posted by Roumen on listopad 12, 2006 at 02:10 odp. CET #

When will Eclipse release comparable statistics? I would like to know how successful their community is, my sense is their slope isn't so attractive.

Posted by Bandit Tousdale on listopad 12, 2006 at 05:47 odp. CET #

Number of NB-users: 250 000
Number of Java-devs: something like 3 to 5 millions (according to Sun 4.5 millions)

4.5 millions / 250 000 = 5,5 %

Huh? Only one out of twenty Java-devs uses NetBeans?

Eclipse reports having 10times more downloads then Netbeans. That means Eclipse (probably) has 10times more users then Netbeans has.

Posted by Momo on listopad 13, 2006 at 03:41 dop. CET #

Hi Momo, thanks for your comments, as usual :) As I wrote in my post, we are not tracking all NetBeans users. According to Evans data corp. study NetBeans has around 900.000 users. That is about 25%-30% of all Java Developers and you can see where it is heading according ot the curve (it is growing).

As for Eclipse downloads, if Eclipse has 10times more users it means that Eclipse has over 115 million downloads? Interesting. Also, note that Eclipse tracks every download of all their projects.

Everyone can choose who to believe, I just make sure we publish the relevant (and trustable) data.

Posted by Roumen on listopad 13, 2006 at 05:25 dop. CET #

> Hi Momo, thanks for your comments, as usual :)

Little Momo loves you Roumen and Roumen loves little Momo. And thanks for Open-Sourcing Java! Now Netbeans will be part of Debian, Gnome will be written in Java and Miguel will join Google.

> Everyone can choose who to believe

Exactly. And choosing Evans is always a good catch. Bill Gates loves Evans Data Corporation too. Evans always gives you the results that you expected and that you paied for.

By the way: many Java-devs are using two different IDE's: one IDE at work and one IDE at home. Tracking the IP does not make sense if a Java-dev uses the same IDE both at work and at home i.e. for doing some hobby-projects.

But who the heck cares.... thanks again to everybody for opensourcing Java (TM).

Posted by Momo on listopad 14, 2006 at 12:07 dop. CET #

As I said before, exact number is not important, the slope is important ;) Yes opensourcing of java is a very good thing!

Posted by Roumen on listopad 14, 2006 at 12:20 dop. CET #

Ah, Netbeans questioning Eclipse download numbers again (;1807760168). Please see here: Some points: When Eclipse talks about downloads, they only talk about the JDK, not other projects. Eclipse had 1.5 Mio. downloads of the Eclipse 3.2 Java SDK for Windowsfrom July 1 till October 22 on the Eclipse main page only (it was released on June 28th). This doesn't include Eclipse partners, the update manager (which, since the Callisto release, can download the JDK as well) and all the products build on top of Eclipse - don't know about mirrors, though. Eclipse having 10 times as many users doesn't require 10 times as many downloads from the Eclipse site. Unlike Netbeans, there are a hundreds of products built on top of Eclipse so every IBM WebSphere Studio / Rational Developer, SAP Netweaver, BEA Workshop, MyEclipse user is as an Eclipse user as well. On top of that, Eclipse is wide-spread in non-Java tools (PHP, Adobe Flex, C/C++, Embedded, Nokia). Sun is invited to check out (no pun intended) the Eclipse download stats scripts - they are in CVS (see the article).

Posted by Karsten Silz on listopad 14, 2006 at 05:50 odp. CET #

Ok, thanks for the info. I am a bit surprised that Eclipse has 115 millions of downloads, that's what 11.5M \* 10 is... but ok. I am questioning Eclipse's numbers because Eclipse foundation keeps questioning our numbers :)

Posted by Roumen on listopad 14, 2006 at 06:31 odp. CET #

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Roman Strobl


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