Version history :

  • v3, Thursday 21 February 2013 : update for NetBeans 7.3.0
  • v2, Tuesday 15 January 2013 : update for NetBeans 7.2.1 and added a note about JDK7 usage
  • v1, Friday 20 April 2012 : original version, for NetBeans 7.1.1

Step 1 : checkout the NetBeans 7.3.0 FCS sources from Mercurial repository

  1. download and install a Mercurial client. You can find command-line and GUI programs at
  2. go the the directory that will contain the NetBeans sources and check out the URL.
    You can do it with the command-line : hg clone It will download NetBeans sources and the Mercurial change-set : expect a few GB of free space.
  3. now, we have all NetBeans releases sources. We need to switch to NetBeans 7.3.0 sources only, not the latest version (something like NetBeans DEV).
  4. go into the releases directory and launch the Mercurial command : hg checkout release73_fcs.

TIP : how do I know the release73_fcs tag ? Go to and look at the tag section : you have a list of the latest tags. release73_fcs means NetBeans version 7.3.0, First Customer Shipment (FCS).

Step 2 : build NetBeans with an existing IDE

You can now start your existing NetBeans IDE and load the nbbuild project. The displayed project name will be NetBeans Build System :


Nota : the error badge is normal. It will disappear when building the IDE.

Now, you only have to do two actions, via the contextual menu (right-click on the project) :

  1. launch the Build action. It will be fast and won't generate any error.
  2. launch the Build IDE (no ZIP file) action. It will take a long time, depending on your computer performances.
    If you encounter any build error, you can try the Clean and Build action, the retry Build IDE (no ZIP file).


You can now go to the releases/nbbuild/netbeans/ directory : in contains the built IDE. You'll find the Netbeans executables for Windows and Linux in the bin subdirectory. Don't forget to customize the etc/netbeans.conf file to set a JDK location, etc.

Alternative : build from the command line (added Saturday 20 October)

If you don't want to build the IDE thanks to an existing NetBeans version, you can simply use an Ant script.

If you are not familiar with Ant and/or the command line interface of your operating system :

  • download the latest Apache Ant binary distribution from Unzip it where you want.
  • go to the directory where you have checked out the NetBeans sources and open the command line prompt (for MS Windows users, this is the CMD program). You can write a BAT/SH script too (the following instructions are for Windows only, but they are easy to convert to Unix shells).
  • type and execute set "JAVA_HOME=C:\Java\jdk1.6.0" (where C:\java\jdk1.6.0 is your JDK path).
  • type and execute set "ANT_HOME=C:\Java\apache-ant" (where C:\java\apache-ant is the directory where you have unzipped the Ant software).
  • type and execute set "ANT_OPTS=-Xmx512m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m" to allow Ant script to use more memory (increase these values if you encounter an OutOfMemoryException error when you build the IDE).
  • type and execute set "PATH=%PATH%;%JAVA_HOME%\bin;%ANT_HOME%\bin" : it will add the Ant and JDK bin folders to your path, so you'll can call Ant and JDK executables easily.

Now, you can simply build your IDE :

  • type and execute ant (if you encounter an error message about your Java version, run and execute ant -Dpermit.jdk6.builds=true -Dnbjdk.home=C:/Java/jdk1.6.0).

Enjoy ;)

How to use JDK7 instead of JDK6 (added Tuesday 15 January)

NetBeans 7.x is designed to be built against JDK6, but you can bypass this constraint.

  • If you want to use JDK7 to build the IDE, simply replace ant -Dpermit.jdk6.builds=true -Dnbjdk.home=C:/Java/jdk1.6.0 by ant -Dpermit.jdk7.builds=true -Dnbjdk.home=C:/Java/jdk1.7.0 (adjust the JDK7's path if necessary).
  • To use JDK7 to build NetBeans modules (by opening and building projects from the IDE), simply create a file called into the releases/nbbuild/ directory. Edit this file to put this content:
    Without theses properties, compilation of NetBeans modules will fail with an error message that indicates you have to use JDK6.