Microsoft cracks open Visual Studio to Linux C++ coders

Plug in. Go, go, go

BUILD2016 Microsoft’s love of Linux is extending to its flagship Visual Studio suite.

Redmond has released for download an extension it has developed that lets you roll C++ code for Linux servers, desktops and devices.

Visual Studio will copy and remote build source and launch the application with a debugger. There’s added support in the project system for architectures like ARM.

The extension only supports remote builds, with Microsoft citing dependencies on the presence of certain tools – openssh-server, g++, gdb, gdbserver.

The plug-in comes with three templates – Blink for IoT for devices such as Raspberry Pi, Console Application, and Empty to add source and configure.

Visual Studio is the default IDE for the vast majority of Microsoft programmers.

It has cemented its hold, in part, thanks to the environment's ease of use – an ease of use Microsoft will no doubt hope finds favour among penguins.

Downloadable plug-ins are Microsoft’s favoured approach to working with Linux as they permit the proprietary software maker to embrace open source without getting too close.

In 2009 Microsoft blessed the release of plug-ins from Novell that allowed you to build, debug, test and port applications using C# in Visual Studio 2005 to Linux, Unix, and OS X.

Like C++, the C# extension meant integration with Visual Studio’s trademark menus and tools.

Historically, the firm has resisted packaging open-source code and components, lest it expose itself to liability down the line in terms of some licence violation claim.

Microsoft’s C++ for Linux plug-in was slipped out at BUILD, where Microsoft said it would bring the Linux Bash shell command line to Windows 10, running as a native Ubuntu binary on a Windows subsystem. It follows the recent commitment to put SQL Server 2016 on Linux, too. ®

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