back to article Microsoft woos open sourcers with Visual Studio 2010

Microsoft has invited the open-source community to build plug-ins for Visual Studio 2010, and has improved database support to help build partner backing for its planned integrated development environment (IDE). The general manager for Microsoft's Visual Studio told The Reg he'd like to see open-source developers contribute …


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  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    It is not a matter of animosity

    The first barrier to entry is I do not use an IDE. Point and click makes sense for drawing pictures and a few other tasks. Programming is mostly typing, so moving a hand all the way to the mouse and then back to the keyboard is time consuming compared to simply typing the name of the command I want. Without a large collection of flexible command line tools, I would at some point die the death of a thousand mouseclicks.

    The next barrier is lack of confidence in their code. I ran into serious problems with every commercial compiler I used until I switched to gcc. There are documented bugs in gcc, but so far they have been so obscure that I have not encountered them personally. The impression I get from Microsoft is that if dozens of people report a bug in their software, the bug will not be documented for months. Plenty of people will have to track down the problem themselves the hard way instead of just doing a quick web search.

    The problem with using any tool to create software is that everyone else who wants to modify the software needs that tool. Using anything but free open source software creates a barrier to entry that excludes people from contributing to my projects. It also creates a lock-in: I would become dependant on Microsoft to maintain existing projects.

    Free open source tools can create code for Linux, BSD, Mac, Windows and embedded systems. I do not have confidence that Microsoft has or will maintain support for any target but the current version of Windows.

    The only legal problems with licensing are of Microsoft's own choosing. They wrote the code, so they get to pick the license. If they pick a license that prevents me from fixing bugs in their software and distributing the results for free then I have no interest in their product.

  2. Homer
    Paris Hilton

    Why should I help Microsoft's monopoly?

    What exactly would be my motive for volunteering my time and skills to benefit Microsoft?

    Will anyone actually be stupid enough to take up this "irresistible" offer?

    Heck, I wouldn't contribute anything to these gangsters even if they *paid* me ... but for *free* - they're delusional.

    Paris, because even *she's* not /that/ stupid.

  3. Roger Williams

    I don't get it

    Why would any OSS developer spend his time and resources on a plugin that only works on a closed IDE (which he has to pay for), which in turn is used to develop software for a closed OS (which he has to pay for) -- and then give that plugin away for free?

    I see the win for Microsoft, but why is anyone going to develop anything for Visual Studio for free, instead of developing for (say) Eclipse or some other part of the OSS community? Sticky gold stars only go so far as a motivational aid...

  4. raving angry loony

    P.T. Barnum

    Ya know, I'm convinced Microsoft will actually manage to find a few idiots to help it along with this effort. After all, it's probably somewhat accurate that there's one (naive idiot) born every minute, so at least a few of those must be stupid enough to play along with Microsoft's latest scam.

  5. Tim Bates
    Thumb Down

    Reading between the lines:

    I sounds like MS are trying to cheap out and get everyone else to implement the new features people asked for, and/or have given up trying to understand the customers and would like the customers to just do the work for them so it's done right.

    It's also a bit much to expect people to want to write open source plugins for a massively expensive closed source development environment that only runs on a massively expensive closed source operating system. MS seem to not quite get the point I think.

  6. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Java IDE next?

    I like C#, I like Java, I like VS 2005/8.

    But Netbean et al? No thanks. Java is fine server side, but client side sucks. I can type faster than Netbeans IDE does intellisense.

    Someone let me develope Java in Visual Studio, deploying to Tomcat - I'll be happy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Microsoft has invited the open-source community to build plug-ins for Visual Studio 2010..."

    Is this the same Microsoft that put a stop to previous attempts at distributing open source add-ons for Visual Studio? Or am I mistaken?

  8. frymaster

    As the man says...

    Developers developers developers developers...

    Microsoft need to remember their business is driven by Active Directory networks and the developer ecosystem, with MS Office a close third. The more they remember that and the less they try to pander to the home market / lock down windows to prevent home pirates but end up breaking the thing, the better it'll be.

  9. Francis Fish

    So when are they going to port it to non-windows platforms?

    I don't develop on Windows any more.

    Last time I used VS it ate the machine and installed a ton of services running SQL Server and other .Net stuff without even asking or explaining what it was doing. It's just a fancy editor with a ton of macros built in that integrates with these services once you've understood how to use it. So what?

    On Linux gedit is fully customisable with little bits of python code (most of which you can get from elsewhere so you don't have to write them yourself). One of my colleagues has managed to get it looking like his beloved TextMate. Emacs runs on all platforms including windows and is more customisable than any other editor I've ever used (but you need to buy the O'Reilly book to get anywhere with it IMO).

    I dunno, VS is heavy, slow and invasive, as is Windows. Mind you, so are most of the Java platforms too - but they don't install a load of crap that slow your boot down even more ...

    I installed Wubi so I can switch back to Windows if I have to, but very rarely do. The machine looked like it needed to be upgraded because it was so slow. It's like I've got a new machine. So why would I run windows and VS?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Just let me download it and I'll take a look. HANG ON. There's no Linux version??????

  11. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    I bet they do

    Let's see now. MS get...

    features added to their product, for free

    no features added to their competitors products (by the same people)

    all blame for the naffness of those features carried by someone else

    In fact, why not apply this principle to the whole MS product line. Microsoft could provide the base functionality (a blank piece of paper) and third parties could flesh out a requirements spec and sample implementation however they liked. Naturally, MS would retain all the IP rights. We could call it "Linux".


  12. Gerard Allwein


    Just as soon as Microsoft opens Visual Studio. No open, no dice.


  13. Roger Heathcote
    Gates Horns

    Hmm, I wonder...

    Are you allowed to write those plugins for the free version do you think?

    I don't know if this is "embrace, extend, extinguish" or just a way of getting some free added value for their expensive closed source IDE, either way I shaln't be contributing until they open source that ;-)

  14. Colin Barfoot

    there's a lot worse

    I've used Visual Studio for C++ for years and had very few problems with it. Eclipse is pleasant for Java but I'm guessing that Microsoft are worrying about the competition from Ganymede. At my last reccy Ganymede didn't manage to compile a simple "hello world" so that was the end of that. It is also a LOT more bloaty than VS.

    WPF is Visual Basic in C# and thus suffers from same poor design. It's also notably slower than the old GDI.

    I thought Microsoft were going to embrace lambda calculus in their databases. I'm hoping that they won't. Never let an academic establish standards. It would be like STL all over again.

    In spite of being no fan of Linux I find it hard to believe that MS will find any serious development support for this. What's more probable is a lot of CV fillers (students) producing buggy rubbish.

  15. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Sorry Billy and Steve....

    You will always be a wolf in sheep's clothing! You've stitched "us" up in the past and just because you made another nice promise to behave nicely in the playground, you are still Basher Bates the hated bully and you always will be!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Misinformed Comments

    "WPF is Visual Basic in C# and thus suffers from same poor design. It's also notably slower than the old GDI."

    Plain wrong.

    VS2008 is a great tool, yes it is pricey so linking it up with open source projects makes sense. The fact of the matter is that most open oource developers do very well by being a key technical lead in such projects (through consultancy, publications, reselling, etc.). It is often far more financially lucrative and rewarding than you'd expect when compared to other contract based work. It won't be idiots that sign up to such open source projects, it will be shrewd developers who'll end up earning more and paying less. The ignorant and ill informed will remain as they are.

  17. Niall

    @Andrew Baines/Java IDE next?

    You should try IntelliJ IDEA. It's simply the best IDE I've ever used.

    If you use it you'll never want to go back to eclipse/netbeans. It takes 1 keystroke in IDEA to do things that take 3 mouse clicks in the others. It just understands Java programming so well it suggests in the context of what you're doing what you might want to do next as the first option, so you can just hit Enter without taking your hands off the keyboard.

    It's Swing editor is crap though by the way- I still use Netbeans for designing Swing forms. But for everything most things IDEA is brilliant.

    You can try it free for 30 days then persuade your company to buy it for you :)

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