'Visual Studio for Linux?' Tops Microsoft Q&A Site

There's no doubt about it: The top ask of Visual Studio users is to run the IDE on the Linux OS.

The latest evidence of that claim is that "Visual Studio for Linux?" has received the most votes among some 1,790 posts in the Visual Studio section of Microsoft's Q&A site.

Top Items on Microsoft Q&A Site
[Click on image for larger view.] Top Items on Microsoft Q&A Site (source: Microsoft).

Posted way back in late 2020 -- with comments continuing up to this month -- the question reads:

Since Microsoft & .NET Team is pushing so hard in the cross-platform solutions, will the Linux community see Visual Studio run on Linux? Since it is a great IDE with amazing tools, some of us are wondering will we see it on our preferred OS? I'm in love with the .NET, improvements and opportunities it gives. C# is my first and favourite language and I just can't get enough of it. Love everything. But I'm on Linux, as a platform of choice(Arch Linux, to be specific), and sometimes I miss the good tool VS. Yes, we have VSCode, but the performance isn't always there. And sometimes, it just isn't performing good enough or have enough features. There already is "Visual Studio for macOS", ported from the MonoDevelop. And since they just can't keep up with the real VS IDE, they left developing it. So, the decade old question remains. And since .NET 6 unifies all platforms, is there a chance we can see it ported? I'm sure there are a lot of people wishing it too.

That "decade-old question" continues to be basically ignored by Microsoft, with an employee responding:

According to your description, you would like to use the Visual Studio for Linux. But the Visual Studio IDE is only available for Windows. You could try to running a Virtual Machine with Windows.

In addition, for your requirement, it has been reported here: Visual Studio for Linux.

You can also add your comments in there to track the process, then we need to waiting for the response comes from the product team engineers. If there is any update, I will also add it here.

The link in the Microsoft response points to the company's Developer Community site for reporting problems and requesting new features. It provides further evidence that VS on Linux is the top request among developers, as "Visual Studio for Linux" is also the top item there among 178,774 Visual Studio feedback items. It has garnered 1,873 votes so far, far above the second item, "Color coded tabs in Visual Studio," with 1,118 votes at the time of this writing.

Top Items on Microsoft Developer Community Site
[Click on image for larger view.] Top Items on Microsoft Developer Community Site (source: Microsoft).

Posted even longer ago (October 2018), that request reads:

We need a lot of MS IDE for Linux, VSCode is very good for front end, but we have specific needs in the backend that only an IDE can supply. I do not understand why VS for mac already exists and for Linux nothing !!

Along with the 1,873 votes (they totaled 481 in December 2020), the request generated 303 comments, which are also still rolling in this month, nearly four years later.

One comment from last month reads:

I see this thread has been going on for 4 years and there's been no effort from microsoft to support linux developers. I use visual studio community every day and have been for over 5 years, but I don't think ms has any intention of porting vs to linux.

It's too bad though, because it's a great product, and it's too bad monodevelop is no longer maintained.

But on a different note, since there are so many developers working on linux, wouldn't it be better to bundle those forces and create a community project ourselves?

I'm already working with a few others to bring back monodevelop under a new name: DotDevelop. But it needs more developers to make it compatible with the latest linux versions and .net core versions.

Some of the comments on both sites propose the JetBrains Rider IDE as an alternative, along with many more suggesting using the open source-based Visual Studio Code editor and other options for use on the open source OS. The MonoDevelop IDE from the Xamarin folks also cropped up as an alternative.

That might be because running Visual Studio on Linux is basically impossible, at least according to multiple Developer Community users who posted comments like:

As I see, bringing the old Visual Studio to Linux is almost impossible. It is - like the windows - probably an enormous pile of rubbish code. They not just unable to port it to other systems - the VS for Mac is just an extended Monodevelop - but they can't even create a 64-bit version of it. It is, similar to the further development of Windows is a dead end, but probably nobody strong enough at Microsoft to say: Ok, we need to stop waste the resources to improve this steam-powered technology and start to develop a new IDE, based on VS Code or from scratch.


In fact, I think porting VS for Windows to Linux is just impossible. The best they can do is create a new IDE from scratch, and call it Visual Studio. In fact, they did it - except one minor change in the last step, because they called it Visual Studio Code.

An old Quora response purportedly from a Xamarin employee also casts doubt on the viability of VS on Linux:

Visual Studio is Windows IDE and because it uses a lot of win32 and COM and is written in c/c++ too (pretty huge chunks) and relies on WPF which relies on DirectX will (most likely) never run on something other than Windows.

Of course, Visual Studio for Mac (ironically stemming from Xamarin Studio) negates that last part.

For its part, Microsoft documentation says: "Visual Studio 2022 enables you to build and debug apps for Linux using C++, Python, and Node.js." Of course, that's a far cry from running the IDE natively on the Linux OS, as Microsoft has done for the macOS with its Visual Studio for Mac offering.

Other proposed solutions suggest emulation, virtual machines and other workarounds for VS on Linux, but nothing has emerged as a go-to solution. Perhaps nothing ever will.

The 2018 item on the Developer Community site is still marked "New," which means "the suggestion has been newly reported from you or someone else. No action has been taken on it yet. The front line will do some preliminary checks to make sure we can proceed further. Expect to hear from us in about five business days with our next steps."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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