Re: It was the EU who compelled Ms to make Ms.Net an open standard....
"apps fighting over bugs due to differing VB runtimes."
I pretty much gave up on VB after the switch to 3...
VB 1.0 was fun, had quirks, required some clever hacks, had it working pretty well
VB 2.0 broke most of those hacks, so I had to re-hack because it, too, was quirky
VB 3.0 as I recall had 32-bit-ness and was a worth while fix, but still too many things were broken from 1.0 and 2.0 [not as bad from 2 to 3 though]
After that I gave up on VB. *THEN* some bright-bulb decided ADO-ness and object-ness VB-style, followed by ".Not which appeared to be PATTERNED AFTER THAT HORRIBLE WAY OF DOING THINGS, combined with a bad interpretation of what makes a proper Java object.
VB was intened to be a really useful prototyping tool. People used it to create ACTUAL APPLICATIONS. Then "the plugins" were being sold for it, many (read: probably nearly all) of them *TRIVIAL* things that could be pounded out in a few hours by an experienced coder (read: me) that COULD find his own ass with a map, both hands, *OR* an electric ass finder (even one without GPS!).
but yeah - that invisible unfixable RUN-TIME that you HAD to ship with any VB application, that BROKE in newer versions of Windows, was *PATHETIC*.
On Windows, because it's almost necessary to ship binaries for install, I ALWAYS STATIC LINK EVERYTHING, from RUNTIME to MFC. *ALWAYS*.
On open source OS's, I just ship as source and build from source. You can always submit source packages (with dependencies configured) to package maintainers, and they'll probably do the rest.