How To Fix a Broken NetBeans under Linux

Yesterday something awful happened to my NetBeans IDE (version 7.3 PHP Linux x64 under Ubuntu 12.4 LTS) – it started to do all kinds of weird stuff, along with few visual bugs it also froze on code completion and hanged while preparing an SVN commit. All of a sudden it wasn’t possible to work any more and of course there were quite a few urgent things that I had to do with it.

So I quickly tried to fix it:

  • Killed all processes, restarted NetBeans few times, logged out/in, restarted the system
  • Reinstalled NetBeans, reinstalled it without saving any settings, installed newer version (7.3.1), tried latest beta
  • Started it with all the smart parameters that I could google
  • Installed few alternatives, didn’t have much time to play with these though

None of the things above fixed the problem which is somewhat strange – it’s not every day that you find cross-version bugs that just come out of the blue and wouldn’t go away. So after installing PHPStorm and seeing its warning about Java I got another idea about the root of the problem – NetBeans as well as other IDEs uses Java, that under Linux comes in two flavors: OpenJDK and Oracle Java (well, there are other options but these are not that relevant).

At the moment I had OpenJDK and I think it was just updated (yeah I might have clicked “update” button) causing all the weird bugs. Since the problem had little to do with the software itself, it could not be fixed by fixing the software. Download and install of NetBeans with Oracle Java solved the problem for me so if you have similar problems you might want to give it a try.