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JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

11 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Oct 20, 2009 4:16 PM by James Watson

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Frank Sommers

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Registered: Jan, 2002

JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 1:06 AM
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JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA, one of the leading Java IDEs, has pioneered features such as extensive refactoring support, integration with libraries, and highly sophisticated code completion. JetBrains announced today that will make available IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, a full-featured Java, Scala, and Groovy IDE under the Apache 2.0 license. In this interview with Artima, JetBrains' Dmitry Jemerov discusses what motivated JetBrains to open-source IntelliJ, and how this move will benefit Java developers:

IntelliJ IDEA 9 will be available in two editions: A Community Edition, and the Ultimate Edition. The Community Edition is free and open-source. You can download the binaries right now, and the source code is available as well. The Community Edition includes all that you need for core Java development: testing support, build system support, version control system integration. And it includes Groovy and the Scala plugins as well.

The Ultimate Edition is, essentially, what was IntelliJ IDEA before: it has all the Web development support, enterprise development framework support, Java EE, Spring, Hibernate, all the application servers are there, the commercial version control integration, and so on. The pricing for the Ultimate Edition remains the same as it was before. Going forward, both editions will be developed in parallel.

We released the code for the Community Edition under the Apache 2.0 license. That means that you can build other tools on top of our codebase. One of the components of that codebase is the IntelliJ Platform, which is the foundation for our entire line of Java-based IDE tools. That includes RubyMine, MPS, and our Web Development IDE, which has yet to get a final name. We will also have a number of additional products based on this platform.... The Platform is a framework for building IDEs—it's not designed for building general-purpose applications. For example, if you wanted to build an IDE for Erlang or Haskell, then you might want to do that on top of the IntelliJ Platform.

One of the big reasons for open-sourcing the Community Edition is that the availability of the source code will mean that it is now much easier to build plugins or add-ons to IntelliJ IDEA. That's what we expect to see happen in the coming years: We expect to see plugins for tool integration, library integration, all those things we can't build ourselves, but can be built by the community...

We believe by removing the price, we are removing a big barrier to the adoption of IntelliJ. We want to expand our market share quite a bit with this move, to get a lot of users who are now able to get IntelliJ and see if it really works for them.

What do you think of JetBrains' decision to open source IntelliJ?


Adrian Milliner

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Nickname: goron59
Registered: Dec, 2008

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 2:23 AM
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I just started in a new team where Eclipse is dominant.

I asked a few people why Eclipse and why not IDEA ? The answers were split between "Eclipse is free!" and "I've never used IDEA - what is it?"

So open sourcing it certainly could help adoption.

I even found people who were saying that C# development is better/easier than Java because the former has Resharper and the latter only Eclipse!

Emil Kirschner

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Nickname: entzik
Registered: Aug, 2007

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 5:08 AM
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this news just made my day!

Zsolt Kúti

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Nickname: kuti
Registered: Oct, 2009

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 8:03 AM
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Great decision!!

When collecting ideas for version 8, I suggested them to open their API for platform development (e.g. to base a product development on it, just as in Eclipse and NB).
This step, however, is much better! :-)

Cedric Beust

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Registered: Feb, 2004

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 1:49 PM
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I'm pretty pessimistic about this decision. Commercial software becoming open source is historically a pretty bad sign.

I posted more thoughts here:

http://beust.com/weblog/archives/000520.html

--
Cedric

John Franey

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Nickname: jfraney
Registered: Dec, 2007

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 16, 2009 9:30 PM
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I'm no expert on these things, but I agree with you.

The success of any open source project is wholly dependent on the community that supports it. The code doesn't write itself. Obviously, jetbrains thinks this move will be good for their financial prospects but in order to pull it off, they will have to be open to facilitating some sort of community of contributors.

I'd also like to point out a market that eclipse has a lock on and jetbrains could not at this time: custom plugins for internal use. I do not think this market is observable. However, I think that eclipse with its plugin architecture has been a platform to support custom tools for several years. In this regard eclipse had a lead in front of netbeans and also in intellij. My guess is that jetbrains wants to play in this space but can only do so by opening the system for developers other than their own.

Patrick Wright

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Nickname: pdoubleya
Registered: Jun, 2005

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 17, 2009 10:24 AM
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Personally, I think this is a great move. I agree with Jess Holle's view: JetBrains' challenge is to get more people to look at the tool and actually try it out. At work I've regularly promoted IDEA but have made no headway getting people to try it, basically because it cost money. At the same time, I mostly hear gnashing of teeth from everyone I work with about Eclipse (I was only gnashing my teeth during the IDEA 7 period, now thankfully receding from memory). I'm sure I can now get a more than a few people who will take a look, and that's IMO an important goal: it's about expanding the _potential_ market for sales.

I'm not worried about the lack of web and JEE features. I work on backends, services with no UI and so don't need these features much at all, and I have a bunch of colleagues in the same boat. Actually, part of our team working a lot with Groovy right now and IDEA's Groovy support is pretty darn good. I think the Community Edition is actually a good IDE in and of itself.

Besides, IDEA has a pretty decent ecosystem of plugins, including a number of older ones for different web frameworks and web servers; if these get dusted off the Community edition will be more well-rounded. But someone has to take up the effort.

I think the focus should on how we build out a community plugin system with more cross-IDE plugins. If you're building a plugin to control Tomcat, or report on Hudson jobs, or search for and list Jira tasks, a good chunk of your work has nothing to do with the IDE. I'd really like to hear from people who have ported plugins to more than one IDE, or actively maintain them. I would guess that the stuff that tends to be IDE-specific has to do with the bits that are closer to the editor, the parser-support APIs, and the UI in general. There may be a whole range of plugins where we can share great deal of infrastructure that is not IDE-specific.

Lastly, I would add that this is a very, very generous donation from JetBrains to the community. There must be an enormous amount of effort, time and money that went into developing that code. They are to be commended for that gift, heartily.

And, regardless, I will continue to support them with my wallet as long as they keep on writing rocking tools.

Timothy Twelves

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Nickname: tim12s
Registered: Oct, 2009

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 19, 2009 4:31 AM
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I think you hit the nail on the head...

This was more about making the platform attractive for 3rd party corporate extension than it is about fostering open-source enhancement of the IntelliJ IDEA codebase.

There are many integrated tools that use Eclipse as a platform and these are not available within the IntelliJ.

Open Sourcing the base should hopefully give corporates another platform that they can invest in for 3-5 years without fear of the code/platform being unavailable or changing due to corporate changes, etc..

-Tim

James Watson

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Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 19, 2009 12:34 PM
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> I'm pretty pessimistic about this decision. Commercial
> software becoming open source is historically a pretty bad
> sign.
>
> I posted more thoughts here:
>
> http://beust.com/weblog/archives/000520.html
>
> --
> Cedric

"I can't think of a single example where a struggling commercial software suddenly started regaining market share when they went open source. Can you?"

What about Eclipse?

Frank Sommers

Posts: 2642
Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 19, 2009 6:05 PM
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> "I can't think of a single example where a struggling
> commercial software suddenly started regaining market
> share when they went open source. Can you?"
>
> What about Eclipse?

And what about OpenOffice? It used to be called StarOffice. I remember paying for it for use on my SparcStation 20 back in the days.

Vincent O'Sullivan

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Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 20, 2009 7:37 AM
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> And what about OpenOffice? It used to be called
> StarOffice. I remember paying for it for use on my
> SparcStation 20 back in the days.

I don't think that the success of OpenOffice is due to the fact that it is Open Source so much as due to the facts that it is a) free and b) heavily subsidised by a large corporation that both promotes and maintains it.

Even if that's not the case, it's impossible to separate the factors out sufficiently to reliably say how much, if any, of the product's success is due to the free availability of its source code.

James Watson

Posts: 2024
Nickname: watson
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: JetBrains Open Sources IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Posted: Oct 20, 2009 4:16 PM
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> I don't think that the success of OpenOffice is due to the
> fact that it is Open Source so much as due to the facts
> that it is a) free and b) heavily subsidised by a large
> corporation that both promotes and maintains it.
>
> Even if that's not the case, it's impossible to separate
> the factors out sufficiently to reliably say how much, if
> any, of the product's success is due to the free
> availability of its source code.

That's a good point. I definitely think that getting the software for free is a much bigger factor than getting the source. I think it might work for IDEA because there are a lot of smart people that think a lot of the tool and will want to look at the code and some may want contribute to it.

The initial success of Eclipse had to do with it being free. But over time, it's become a platform and that makes it dangerous to the existence of other IDEs despite continuing to suck in certain ways. Where I work we have RAD licenses (I don't want to talk about it) and I use Eclipse instead partly because the plugins I use don't work with RAD.

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