No. 1 Visual Studio IDE Feature Request: Linux

With the year's Visual Studio release train coming to an end with the new VS 2019 v16.9 Preview 2, I took a look at Microsoft's Developer Community site to see what top feature requests have been filed to perhaps peek at what's in store for next year.

In the "IDE" section of the "Visual Studio" section of that site, the No. 1 feature request -- as measured by community votes -- is "Visual Studio for Linux."

Filed sometime before October 2018 by Lincoln Zocateli, the post, marked "Under Review," says:

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 !! I really hope this is corrected.

It has garnered 481 votes to top the list, along with a leading 124 comments, the latest coming less than a month ago.

Visual Studio for Linux
[Click on image for larger view.] Visual Studio for Linux (source: Microsoft).

In contrast, the No. 2 item on the list -- actually detailing a fixed problem: premature solution closings -- shows only 126 votes.

Note that Microsoft's old mechanism to solicit developer feedback, User Voice, was migrated to the new Developer Community site around October 2018 and apparently some votes didn't survive the transfer, as some Developer Community posts claim that the Linux support feature request garnered well over 6,000 votes on the old User Voice site.

Of course, there's plenty of lively discussion among the comments that did survive, ranging from suggesting something similar to VS for Mac (which someone pointed out is based on MonoDevelop, not .NET Core), to flatly denying it will ever happen, to suggesting alternatives like Avalonia and JetBrains Rider.

Here's a sampling of some of the comments:

  • Nothing else even comes close to the quality of VS anywhere. In Linux, your options are pretty limited to the likes of horrible Eclipse. I think the platform could use a lot more MS in it and VS + .NET Core are the way to go. However, since they will be busy with the Core, I doubt they would spend any resources on stuff like VS.

    The main reasons I migrated back to Windows, frankly was no reliable support for .NET, no VS, and no Office. I really do hope they do begin to offer their products on Linux as well. It would only hugely boost their OPEN presence and reputation.

    VS > Anything-Out-There, .NET >> JVM, C# >> Java, F# >> Scala, ... I just wished they had waw better policy for promoting them. A lot of hype around big data and data science, yet anywhere you look you see JVM and Python. Even when they come up with something (MBrace for F#/C#), they just don't promote it.

    BTW 1 - Installing stuff on a VM loaded on a base OS does not make sense as it just eats away a lot of resources ...

    BTW 2 - MonoDevelop and Mono are totally unreliable and they are not the same as .NET/VS on Mac.

  • Why would anyone want to use Visual Studio on Linux? Honestly, now.

  • I work on many platforms so my choice of tools is very important. In my opinion and via function points Visual studio is by far the most productive ecosystem available. Nothing on Linux compares to it. The ones that come close are Delphi and Lazarus but the rest are limited IDEs or text editors. VS offers a RAD environment if needed along with database development, service control, debugging, remote debugging, refactoring, intellisense, snippits, templates, deployment, source control all integrated within the IDE. Even though that is not a complete list nothing compares to it in the linux world. If it does let me know. Why on Linux? Many of us have moved on from Windows after the fiasco of the last 7 years, and constant updates from MS does not make for a stable development platform, but that is another story.

  • I think the main reason behind this is "if microsoft develops VS for linux with full functionality like windows.Then almost all corporate world who are using windows migrate to linux(because linux OS is free) with no time".Corporates are the main buyers of windows operating system so it will hugely impacts the sales of windows OS.I see this is the reason behind microsft not working on Visual studio linux and it is completely waste of time to think about VS on linux.

  • Nah, they've built VS Code for Linux, and are pushing using that as that's what Linux users are used to. VS is just a ridiculously massive code base, too large to migrate easily. Even VS for Mac is not really VS at all but an inferior existing open source IDE with the "VS" label slapped on. It's just not practical to port VS to any other platform, especially with its dependence on COM, which is why they're making new products.

  • While I am greatly appreciate the opensource initiative Microsoft have been undertaking during the last couple of years I am still disappointed when it comes to development under Linux OS.

    And it is not even really the fact that VS for Linux doesn't exist that upsets me but it's more that MS doesn't even allow to use their Linux debugger for .NET core in the software other than VSCode thus preventing the Linux community from debugging .net core framework in their IDE of choice.

    About a quarter of developers worldwide use Linux as their main OS and have to develop under VM (or use other commercial IDE solutions) when it comes to .netcore. For the huge part of netcore developers - Linux is the target system where the code is going to be run and it makes sense to provide appropriate tooling for that platform.

Of course, Developer Community isn't the only place you can find developers clamoring for Visual Studio on Linux, as they have sounded off on sites like Quora and Reddit.

Regardless, Microsoft seems to have kept mum on the subject -- I can find no replies from Microsoft in the comments -- so we'll just have to wait to how the company handles the request.

While the Linux support request tops the IDE category, the top vote-getter overall on Developer Community's VS section (it's divided into IDE, Setup and All categories) is a feature request seemingly of a little less complexity and consequence: color-coded tabs, garnering 858 votes and 170 comments. "When you open up too many tabs they just look scattered. It would be a great help to be able to quickly distinguish which tabs are model classes, repository classes, service classes, text files, config files etc by a certain colour," says the post.

Now surely that's something we can all agree on.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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