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Sun's NetBeans to support C, C++

Preview version of add-on gives lets programmers build software with popular languages besides Java

Sun Microsystems has begun a major change to the scope of programming projects that can be undertaken with its NetBeans developer tools, launching a project that lets programmers use the C and C++ programming languages instead of just Java. The server and software company on Tuesday announced a preview version of a plug-in to support the widely used languages and signaled that more languages will be supported in the future.

NetBeans competes with Eclipse, an open-source project begun by IBM that has wide backing, already supports C and C++ and is the subject of a conference this week in Santa Clara, Calif. Sun, although it didn't mention Eclipse by name in its announcement, asserted that "developers were unhappy with the current offerings in the marketplace for an open, multilanguage, multiplatform, native development environment" and that NetBeans will fill the void.