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Microsoft Education IT

Microsoft to Give Away Developer Tools to Students 555

Posted by samzenpus
from the first-hit's-free dept.
beuges writes "The Associated Press is reporting that Microsoft will make full versions of their development tools available to students. "The Redmond-based software maker said late Monday it will let students download Visual Studio Professional Edition, a software development environment; Expression Studio, which includes graphic design and Web site and hybrid Web-desktop programming tools; and XNA Game Studio 2.0, a video game development program. Gates said students will want to try Microsoft's tools because they're more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language used to make complex Web sites. But Gates said giving away Microsoft software isn't intended to turn students against open source software entirely. Rather, he hopes it will just add one more tool to their belt.""
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Microsoft to Give Away Developer Tools to Students

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  • Professional Tools (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:54AM (#22476230) Homepage Journal
    From the downloads page [msdn.com] "Now remember these are professional tools. This means they are pretty big files so make sure you have the bandwidth and space to bring them to your machine."

    That kind of cracked me up. Remember kids, professional tools take up lots of storage space. If it's not big, it's not 'professional'.

    Also - this is not open to any student in the countries listed. There is a list of about 42 schools in the US that are plugged into their student verification system. In Belgium it is 2 schools, China 3 schools, etc.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:00PM (#22476350) Homepage

      Remember kids, professional tools take up lots of storage space.

      Well, once upon a time the GNU tools used to be installed more often from disks or tapes you bought from FSF than downloaded, because of what at the time were large file sizes. And the printed Emacs manual [amazon.com] is a 600-page behemoth. So, it's not as if the Free Software movement has always remained free from claims of heftiness or outright bloat.

    • by sundarvenkata (1214396) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:09PM (#22476486) Homepage
      All the "First taste is free" comments apart, can some slashdotters recommend an equivalent in the open source software that is as mature and robust as the three said software listed in the page. A *real* development environment, designer tools and a server are given away free by a corporation and suddenly some geeks want to comment on how this is not what they want and Windows source would be the holy grail.
      • by mrvan (973822) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:36PM (#22476896)
        Eclipse?

        * free
        * open source
        * mature
        * interactive ide (code completion, debugging, refactoring)
        * supports multiple languages
        * Eclipse Rich Client Platform
        * easily customizable, modifiable, pluggable, ...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by syousef (465911)
          I use Eclipse every day. It's still buggy. So buggy it's taken out about half a day's worth of file changes I did one day last year (wiping local history as well as actual file content). Luckily I did make a backup mid way through of some of the files so it only took about an hour to recover. I've learnt to close down the IDE nightly to avoid such things. The other thing about eclipse is that each new version seems to break old plugins like HibernateIDE for example. At work our team has stopped upgrading ve
      • by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:01PM (#22477314) Homepage Journal

        can some slashdotters recommend an equivalent in the open source software that is as mature and robust as the three said software listed in the page.

        For me, its command-line prompt in bash to compile from, syntax-highlighting editor (vim or kate) to code with, and the lamp stack to deploy on. Make, grep, some perl-fu, svn if you want to have a repository - it might not be "integrated", but it IS a great development environment, and VERY customizable.

        The latest version of eclipse starts up fast enough if you have a couple of gigs of ram ... it just doesn't offer me what I want/need (yes, I know it can "sort of" handle c/c++, but I find it STILL gets in the way).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by init100 (915886)

          it might not be "integrated", but it IS a great development environment, and VERY customizable.

          Except code completion, jump-to-declaration, project-wide renames, etc, are great features to have. I used Emacs for development before, but now I use Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA, and it is a big difference in sheer efficiency. I'm not so sure that I would like to go back to an ordinary text editor like Emacs for development.

          Of course, I'm no Emacs guru, it may have all this functionality, but I haven't found it yet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cheater512 (783349)
        Do you really think that Microsoft is giving away the software from the goodness of their heart?
        They are trying to lock the next generation in to using their tools.

        Wow they are giving away a server? But wait, Linux is already given away and its far more capable.
        Kdevelop and Eclipse spring to mind for IDEs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by linumax (910946)

      "Also - this is not open to any student in the countries listed. There is a list of about 42 schools in the US that are plugged into their student verification system. In Belgium it is 2 schools, China 3 schools, etc."

      There's always ISIC [isic.org]
      Please Enter Your International Student Identity Card Number [msdn.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake (615356)
      If it's not big, it's not 'professional'.

      You are talking about a package that includes Visual Studio Pro, SQL Server 2003, Windows Server 2005 and Windows Server 2008, etc.

      That's a non-trivial download even over a high speed line.

    • by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:43PM (#22477006) Journal
      Damn, I just made my first journal about this...

      The other fun wording I found on the page is:
      Download your products

      I thought the products were the property of Microsoft? If I download this, can I assume full legal ownership of my copy?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Surye (580125)

      Also - this is not open to any student in the countries listed. There is a list of about 42 schools in the US that are plugged into their student verification system. In Belgium it is 2 schools, China 3 schools, etc.

      You might want to read a little more... https://downloads.channel8.msdn.com/StudentIdOptions.aspx [msdn.com] and http://www.journeyed.com/itemDetail.asp?itmNo=11111726 [journeyed.com] which makes it a lot more then 42 US schools.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:55AM (#22476244) Journal
    It's a good move. I "received" free software from Microsoft through the Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance [msdnaa.net] that was ok and I liked to tinker with it. Plus free XP for college wasn't bad. And, of course, this has the obvious benefit of me being well versed in Visual Studio when I start my career--both for me and Microsoft.

    But I don't quite agree with Gates here.

    Gates said students will want to try Microsoft's tools ...
    True. This is a well-known fact. Engineers are, by nature, curious animals that enjoy tinkering with things to figure out how they work.

    ... because they're more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language used to make complex Web sites.
    False. This is an opinion. It may be true for some cases but it is ignorance to say that any aspect of coding has a magic bullet. Even XML has it's trade offs. To say this only expresses ignorance or a poor attempt at brainwashing/marketing.

    So this is all around good. I like it even though it's not open source, I think it will overall help Microsoft but may also clarify student's understandings of when to use what tools. I think the next step is for Microsoft to make another license that says you can use it for personal use but once you use it to make money (commercial) you need a commercial license. I don't find anything wrong with that business model. One step further and it could be released under a pseudo MSPL license and another step in the distant future might also entail an even more open state for their development tools. Who knows? All I know is that although this isn't perfect, it's a move in the right direction.

    What would really be juicy for me to hear is what Ballmer's take is on this move. I think Gates is generally moving in the right direction but I get this sense that Steve Ballmer is pure evil. Is he seething over this move which to him might just look like lost revenue? Is he even pretending to see this the same way Gates does or is he still in the blind rage "I will f*cking kill ____" mode? I think there are rough times ahead when Gates leaves the scene altogether and I think we will see Ballmer say some pretty stupid things directly contradicting Gates' "just another tool for their belt" view on this.
    • even xml (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:01PM (#22476368) Homepage Journal
      yes, sadly, even xml has limitations.
       
      in fact, one might go as far as to say that even xml is useful. Sometimes. If it's used correctly.
      • by kjkeefe (581605) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:50PM (#22477138)
        I bet they are giving Visual Studio away to everyone within 2 years. They can feel their developer market share slip and they are not stupid.

        Having recently attended a top 5 CS department university, I can tell you that most students are developing in linux. Windows development (.NET to be specific) is only done by about 15% of students (my guess) and it is NEVER used in courses. Course projects that require UI's use Java. Otherwise, it is written in C, C++, Java, oCaml, Scheme, Perl, and PHP. I've taken upwards of 40 CS classes in the last 8 years and I have NEVER used Microsoft tools for coursework.
        • by edmicman (830206) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:04PM (#22477372) Homepage Journal
          And then you get out in the real world where real businesses use MS tools. When I did my degree it was all C++ and Java and Perl and PHP and free Unix-y this and that. I picked up classic ASP and some VB on my own, and once I graduated I had a grudge against my schooling for teaching mostly theory and hardly any practical information. I've grown to realize that a lot of the learning was actually fundamentals, and I'm thankful for that. But there's a TON of stuff in the Real World that uses MS's dev tools, and really - they're very good tools. VS2005/SQLServer2005/IIS6 is something they got right, and students should be exposed to that.
          • by kjkeefe (581605) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:13PM (#22477512)
            If you want to understand upcoming trends in the IT world, you should look at what is being studied at Universities. That's all I'm saying. Students simply aren't using MS tools during their university coursework and more often than not, it is because they don't want to. Most schools already are members of the MS Academic Alliance and give VS away (at least for CS students and maybe a few other departments). Even though they give these tools away, students still prefer mostly FOSS tools.

            As for VS2005/SQLServer2005/IIS6. I've used all three of those in a corporate setting and while I agree that VS2005 is a nice IDE and SQL Server 2005 is a decent DBMS, I would hardly consider IIS6 good. Compared to Apache (and hell, even Tomcat), IIS6 is a bag of crap that is only used because it is required for ASP.NET (and other MS tech) websites.
            • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:41PM (#22477960) Homepage
              I attend a Drexel university, which is a co-op school. We primarily use Linux and open source software in the CS department, so there are a lot of students who prefer Linux. Most students don't even realize they can get tons of MSDNAA stuff for free.

              However, a great deal of students go out on co-op and come back with skills in Visual Studio and Microsoft technologies. No one teaches these students how to use vim or emacs. These people were writing code in Eclipse or gedit before Visual Studio. You'd be hard pressed to convince them to switch away from Visual Studio after a 6 month co-op using it. It is far from perfect, but it is a great product and is used happily by many.

              The real issues stem from the close minded cultural and social attributes of most professors I know. Nearly every CS class I sit through includes the instructor making at least one Microsoft bashing comment. There isn't really so much as a preference for FOSS tools as there is social pressure and general ignorance of the MSDNAA and Express editions.
            • by Skim123 (3322) <mitchell.4guysfromrolla@com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:32PM (#22478684) Homepage

              If you want to understand upcoming trends in the IT world, you should look at what is being studied at Universities. That's all I'm saying. Students simply aren't using MS tools during their university coursework and more often than not, it is because they don't want to. Most schools already are members of the MS Academic Alliance and give VS away (at least for CS students and maybe a few other departments). Even though they give these tools away, students still prefer mostly FOSS tools.

              If there is a direct correlation between software use in college and software used in businesses, then given Microsoft's dominance in developer tools today (and the past couple of decades) then it would be safe to assume that many colleges were Microsoft shops in the 1980s and 1990s, right? I started my undergraduate work in 1996, and there was no breath of Microsoft tools then. And, talking to older students and professors, there never had been use of Microsoft. Heck, my school didn't start teaching Java until 1998 or 1999. It was Pascal and C and C++ for decades previous.

              I remember when I was in college I assumed (naively) that everyone in the real world was using what I was using: vim, g++, bash, etc. It wasn't until I got my first coop job that I realized that 90% of my coworkers had no idea what vi was. Point being, the tools used in university do not necessarily transfer to the real world for a plethora of reasons.

              • Varies tremendously by company. Why do you assume that your company is the only valid sample of the 'real world'? I've worked at a major company with billions in revenue and tens of thousands of employees and everyone I worked with in IT there did indeed use vim (or emacs), bash or ksh, etc. I've also worked at several firms where 100% of my coworkers have no idea how to save and exit in vi (or emacs). And one where it was nothing but coldfusion - try finding a four year degree that directly prepares you for that. Or actually, don't.
                Hopefully universities teach people how to program. It would be tragic if they learned just a particular tool like Visual Studio 2005, because what will they do when MicroSoft scraps and reinvents .net again in two years? Go back for a new four year degree to learn it?
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Skim123 (3322)

                  Varies tremendously by company.

                  I agree wholeheartedly. I didn't mean to imply that every company in the real world uses Microsoft products, but the original poster was claiming that Microsoft was doing down because they were not reaching university students. I argue that there is very little correlation between the tools one uses in college and the tools companies in the real world use.

                  Nor was I proposing that universities should teach Microsoft technologies. The tools used should depend on what the education is intended for. There is

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nojomofo (123944)
            That's funny. The company I work for is a MS shop. But we're starting to do a lot of things on Linux and in Java. Why? Because MS tools just don't cut it. What MS got very very wrong about the stack that you mentioned: - Your IDE is tied to a particular runtime. Want to compile for a different runtime? Install another IDE, 4 GB worth. (Yes, they finally fixed that in VS 2008 - only about 10 years after eclipse was able to target any existing JRE). - Your web server version is explicitly tied to your
          • by msuarezalvarez (667058) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:59PM (#22479114)

            [...] once I graduated I had a grudge against my schooling for teaching mostly theory and hardly any practical information. [...]

            If you wanted that, maybe CS was not what you should have picked... Did you even google what CS was before signing up?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I had a grudge against my schooling for teaching mostly theory and hardly any practical information.

            There's an old quote [amatecon.com] that goes something like this. Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. Computer science is a lot like that fish. If all you learn in school is how to use the current crop of Microsoft developer tools, then the shelf life of your degree will be about five years. However, if you learn the fundamental basics of computer science, then you will have developed the cognitive framework in your mind for easily, almost effortles

        • by plague3106 (71849)
          So what, does it matter what your school uses? I did almost no MS in college, all programming was Unix / C++ with some Java and more assembly. I haven't done work profesionally on *nix since then.

          Don't be suprised if end up working on the MS platform when you graduate.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        yes, sadly, even xml has limitations.

        in fact, one might go as far as to say that even xml is useful. Sometimes. If it's used correctly.

        What is this "correct use of xml" that you talk about?

        Some possibilities?

        1. An example of how to take a bad idea and give it an even worse implementation;
        2. "<xml>
          <for>
          <target_market>
          Dummies
          </target_market>
          </for>
          </xml>"
        3. "Tag Soup" - great for those on a diet - lots of filler to help keep you "regular", low on content, so its less fatt
    • by cplusplus (782679) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:02PM (#22476382) Journal

      False. This is an opinion. It may be true for some cases but it is ignorance to say that any aspect of coding has a magic bullet. Even XML has it's trade offs. To say this only expresses ignorance or a poor attempt at brainwashing/marketing.
      Having developed for years in Linux using various dev tools, I have to say that Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment is amazing compared to most open source tools I've had experience with.
      • I completely agree. When visual studio crapped up on me [google.com] (no concievable fix works) and I was forced to switch to Anjuta/mingw32, my grades literally dropped.
        • by Viol8 (599362)
          "my grades literally dropped"

          If your ability to code depends on what IDE you're using then I think its fair to say you're probably no good at it. Perhaps you should consider doing an MBA instead.
      • Come Again? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:20PM (#22476668) Journal

        Having developed for years in Linux using various dev tools, I have to say that Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment is amazing compared to most open source tools I've had experience with.
        Wow. This comes as a shock to me. Especially since the person delivering this message to me has the /. name of cplusplus.

        Help me out here, I have a Pentium III 877Mhz processor machine with about a half gig of DDR ram that I purchased in 2000. It still runs fine. For some reason when I install Visual Studio on the Win XP partition, it does not work so well. As in, it is barely usable for small applications and hangs indefinitely for large projects I have. Yet when I write a C++ application in the Linux partition using a number of various open source editors that utilize GCC, it works quite well. I don't mean just VI or Emacs, I mean several things including Gnome and KDE graphical editors (like Glade & KDevelop).

        So tell me, what am I doing wrong? Several people have instructed me to buy a new computer but for some reason I do not think that I should have to buy a new computer every time a new version of Visual Studio comes out.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cplusplus (782679)
          True. VS is a hog. I've really only used Visual Studio 2007 and 2008 because I recently made the switch from Linux. I've talked to others who say versions previous to those are pretty buggy and unstable... which might be half your problem right there. When I posted, I wasn't considering the restrictions that might come from using older hardware with a new version of Visual Studio (like 2008) since I've always had a fairly up-to-date machine for development.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by plague3106 (71849)
            Hmm... you must not talk to very many people, especially considering there is no VS2007. I'm using VS 2008 on an older machine, AMD 3800+ X2, and it runs fine with 1GB of RAM... on Vista even.

            The latest VS releases have been very good as far as reliablity goes. Of course, that may be affected by some plugins.. they shouldn't bring down VS, but I imagine they could slow it significantly if they are poorly written.
        • Re:Come Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Wo1ke (1218100) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:56PM (#22477244)
          I know, I know! If you want to use a computer from 10 years ago, use software from 8 years ago! No need to run VS'08 if your computer was made in 1999, and purchased it in 2000. Try using VS 6, it should work with your computer and your wallet.
        • Re:Come Again? (Score:5, Informative)

          by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:57PM (#22477262)
          Come on dude. If you're a software developer you should have a reasonable machine. Visual Studio is a pig, but the benefits of it far outweigh the cost of upgrading your old broke-ass computer every few years. This is like complaining Oblivion or BioShock are bad games because you can't play them on your shitty ancient computer.

          Seriously, any CPU released in the last few years + 2 gigs of memory (4 gigs better - splurge on the extra $40) will run VS fine.

          • by g1zmo (315166) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:23PM (#22477670) Homepage

            any CPU released in the last few years + 2 gigs of memory (4 gigs better - splurge on the extra $40) will run VS fine.

            Your recommended specs for a glorified text editor made me snort milk out of my nose. I hadn't done that since the 1st grade. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by RedK (112790)
            If more Developers were like the GP and had an older computer, maybe we would see less bloat in programs today.

            Your recommendation is appalling. His computer works fine. He needs a text editor and a compiler. Why should he upgrade his computer ? In the real world, we professionals like to spend our disposable income on something else than bigger and better text editing machines, seeing how most computers from the late 90s can still edit text like the best of the best.
        • Re:Come Again? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by everphilski (877346) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:20PM (#22477630) Journal
          Linux won't run on my Windows Mobile enabled phone, but Windows Mobile will! What the fuck is wrong with linux?

          That pretty much sums up your post.

          Try comparing Glade or KDevelop to Visual Studio, even the free-for-all Express Edition, on a technical level and then we can talk. I develop for both Windows and Linux, but I got to say, I prefer both Microsoft's compiler and IDE.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Amouth (879122)

          I have a Pentium III 877Mhz processor machine with about a half gig of DDR ram that I purchased in 2000 .... So tell me, what am I doing wrong?

          you want to know what your doing worng? first off.. don't try to shove the memory in a slot that doesn't fit it (this is why they key it)... P3 chipsets never had DDR support. second make sure you have a real CPU cause Intel never made an 877Mhz CPU .. an 866 yes (133x6.5)

          so yea.. first of make sure your computer works before you complain about the software not running on it.

        • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:52PM (#22478076) Homepage Journal
          Wow. This comes as a shock to me. Especially since the person delivering this message to me has the /. name of cplusplus

          I wholeheartedly agree.

          Yes, for C#, Visual Studio is amazing, but for C++, Linux is better.

          I like KDevelop.

          1) Solutions management is better - KDevelop is much better at managing multiple build targets, working with complicated builds, and more.

          2) Source control is better - that's really for any Unix system. MS source control blows compared to what you get out of subversion, just because vss uses that stupid check out model.

          3) Collaboration is better. If you want a genuine team suite type of thing, its pretty hard to top SourceForge.

          4) Standards are better. If you are -really- into C++, the GNU compiler is simply better because it follows the standards. If I had a dollar for every time I ported something from VC to GCC, found that GCC rejected the code, did some research, and found that GCC actually did the right thing, I'd be pretty rich. On the flip side, I don't think I've ever run into a situation where GCC did something non-standards compliant that VC++ actually did do.

          5) Performance coding is better. The whole point of C++ is to be doing systems programming. That means you need to consider architectural things like integer sizes, interfacing with assembly language, and good timer calls. On all of these fronts, Linux is better. The sizeof(int) is right on Linux and wrong on Windows for 64 bit platforms.. and the calling convention and stack situation in 64 bit Linux is just better. It's almost as if Microsoft chose their convention deliberately to not be like what the rest of the world was doing. Interfacing with assembly is better on Linux. It used to be in Windows that you could do inline assembly, but -not any more- in 64 bit land, so it becomes a push between AT&T syntax versus MS syntax. I prefer AT&T assembler syntax just because it seems cleaner. Finally, gettimeofday() works really well on Linux, whereas Windows gives you a mishmash of calls... the basic SYSTEMTIME call stinks, then there is QueryPerformanceCounter, and whatever new one they through into Vista. Enough already. And I'll toss in that dealing with UTF8 is probably faster than doing UTF16 all the time, especially if you writing quick and dirty code to be hosted on western european and American servers.

          6) Code is more accurate. Everyone deals with temporal data lately and that means time zone conversions. On Windows these do not work and cannot work because the OS does not consider historic time zone transitions, while Linux does.

          7) There is no COM on Linux. A few years ago, I would have argued this to be a disadvantage for Linux, but, having seen the disaster that resulted from COM, I'd have to say that Linux sticking to a basic C style call for the vast majority of its services turned out to be a pretty good plan.

          Really, I'd almost have to say that people who say Microsoft is better for C++ haven't really programmed in C++ enough to know what they are talking about. If C++ on Windows was that good, the world would not be beating down the doors to C#...

          'Nuff said.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndGodSed (968378)
        That might be true, and I am not flaming here BUT: your statement says: "...Linux using various dev tools, I have to say that Microsoft's Visual Studio development environment is amazing compared to most open source tools I've had experience with."

        Boldiness Mine.

        "Various Dev Tools" - infers that there is more than one option available.

        This is one of the key strengths of open source. Options. Sure I can easily accept that there are really crappy dev tools out there when compared to MS' offering, but if you d
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by link5280 (1141253) *
      MS has a superior IDE with Visual Studio as compared to most, but I agree the underlying language is no different then any other.
      • Visual C++ not C++ (Score:3, Informative)

        by tjstork (137384)
        Hate to say it, but there's enough extensions and non-standard behavior in Visual Studio to make porting C++ programs to GNU not nearly so straightforward for even simple console applications.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      I think the next step is for Microsoft to make another license that says you can use it for personal use but once you use it to make money (commercial) you need a commercial license.

      I wish software developers in general would make this concession on professional-level tools. Take Adobe, for example. Even their student/teacher versions are expensive, and don't take into account the occasional person who wants to learn to use CS3, but don't use it professionally and so don't have an economic justification

  • As it happens... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:55AM (#22476258) Journal
    Apple's development tools have been available free of charge since the Apple/NeXT merger.

    -jcr

    • by Foofoobar (318279) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:08PM (#22476470)
      Actually I have played with Xcode and Eclipse both and enjoy both. In some places I wish that eclipse was a bit more like Xcode and Xcode was a bit more like Eclipse. Still because of it's flexibility and number of plugins, I use Eclipse on a regular basis.

      Also since Apple in it's infinite 'wisdumb(tm)' choice to kill the java bridge for Cocoa, I have no need to even attempt to use Xcode anymore *shrug*. Oh well.

    • by TheThiefMaster (992038) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:13PM (#22476560)
      I'm pretty sure everything you need to develop for Windows has been free for a LONG time (the SDK comes with a command-line compiler IIRC, MSDN is available online and there's windbg for debugging), so it's only the IDE they're giving free (and the express version of the IDE has been free since v2005).

      And the IDE is the best I've used TBH.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Belial6 (794905)
        Watch out for the free express version. When it was first announced, I checked the license, and it expressly forbids releasing any software written for it as open source. That means you can't legally even put code examples up on a website. Now, I'm sure that this limitation won't affect much of the software that is written with it, but people should be aware that the express license has an anti open source clause.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, but when Microsoft does what Apple and the Linux community has been doing for years, then all of a sudden it is big news and a shitload of people pretend it is something entirely new. Which it is not.
      Microsoft has given away software before to secure their market dominance, and it is not unusual for them to sell at a loss to students. I can remember $5 copies of Office in the college bookstore when I was a student, and various other "generous" offers which I could not take advantage of since they
  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hellad (691810) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:55AM (#22476262)
    I know that back in my CS days, I frequently thought about buying their suite to mess around with. The reason I didn't was simply a matter of economics. It is like crack, get the kids using their products when they are young. Then they become too lazy to learn something new.
    • I don't think this is new. I could get MS software for free back when I was an undergrad, although the program was introduced in my second year and so I already had Windows 2000 and Visual Studio from the cheap (but not free) program. When I started my PhD and switched to a Mac, I used it to get a copy of XP to run in an emulator, which I ended up installing on a small partition on my ThinkPad and using to play old games.

      I grew up with MS development tools, from DOS through Windows NT to 2000, and yet

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kellyb9 (954229)
      It might be "like crack", but its what the big boys are using. There should have been peer pressure to use more MS products a long time ago in education. I know I'm asking for a -75 troll mod by saying this. However, coming from my own personal experience, we didn't touch any .net back in school, and now, i'm out in the "real" world and everywhere I look is MS (for the most part).
  • by biolitch (1242242)
    Why don't they give away the sourcecode for Windows to students? This would be far more beneficial to them especially if they hold on to the rights of created/modified windows. Then they might have a viable OS for the future.
  • Awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:56AM (#22476274)
    It never really made sense to me how
    A) A student is supposed to afford these $9000 suites that we're supposed to be familiar with before we get a job that licenses it?
    B) I have to pay to develop for microsoft's OS..
  • I've found Microsoft's VS tools to be pretty useful & feature-rich - maybe this will encourage us, as open-source developers, to add some missing features to our toolchains / IDEs.
  • by Lectoid (891115) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:58AM (#22476310)
    Windows Server 2003 Standard
    SQL Server 2005 Express
    Microsoft Expression Studio
    And Visual Studio 2005 and 2008
  • by Westley (99238) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:58AM (#22476312) Homepage

    The program, which Microsoft says will put its software and Web development tools in the hands of 1 billion students [...]
    That sounds like an awfully high number to me. What proportion of the world's population (around 6 billion, right?) is students with access to a computer and a desire to do any development of any kind? Even if we're talking over the course of 10 years, it's still somewhat higher than I'd expect.
  • Ha (Score:2, Funny)

    by loconet (415875)
    In other news, Jimmy De Brondi, a local crack dealer at Sando-Brando University sues Microsoft for illegally using his patented business practice.
  • this feels wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:00PM (#22476344) Journal

    This smells a little like Netscape-gate. It would seem that giving away (very expensive) software to the demographic of "beginners" is using Microsoft's monopoly position to affect competition in another market, in this case software development.

    While Open Source tools are available for free, this smacks of Microsoft competing by giving something of perceived monetary value for free too, thus offering something with the imprimatur of "valuable". This is similar to the Netscape debacle. The only difference is that a tool such as Eclipse's starting price already is zero. But, this move by Microsoft unbalances the playing field again with the deep pockets backing them as long as necessary. I'd guess their hope is they plant the seed early enough, and corner the student market and their future work to be always Microsoft products until other tools are no longer used.

    When the rest of the competition disappears, Microsoft gets to charge as much as they want. If Microsoft wants to compete like this, I wish the government would do what they'd discussed doing before, and break Microsoft up into separate companies. This would force them to compete along product lines without the ability to destroy competition without fear of losing money in the process. They will lose money in the process, but they won't fear it. And, in the long run, this is a huge money and market grab for them.

    • Re:this feels wrong (Score:4, Informative)

      by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#22476758) Homepage
      I see this less as about the development tools and more about the environments in which they run. MS tools are an all MS proposition. If you're developing using MSVC, then you're developing for Windows, most likely using .NET, and probably MS SQL Server. If you're using Eclipse, you're probably developing Java, and quite possibly running on Linux, and using MySQL, PostgreSQL or in a commercial environment Oracle. This is definitely about setting the standard for which plentiful developers are available, and thus the "industry standard" which for the past 8 years has been Java.
  • Gates said students will want to try Microsoft's tools because they're more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language

    Not only as a Linux guy but as someone who has used both sets of products frequently...do they really think people don't search around and will believe that, especially if they're student developers?

  • This sounds like that time the guy down on the street corner gave me some "candy" for free. Next thing I know, I can stay up for for days straight and I'm paying the guy big bucks for more "candy" that I can't now live without.
  • I'm amused that the "Microsoft Community" page the article links to is called Channel 8. I guess they're not quite brave enough to call it, say, 8chan.
  • by starglider29a (719559) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:15PM (#22476600)
    As a DOT NET developer, I use MS VS. Why not? I love the autocomplete and the list of Properties and Events for each control once I type the name of the control. Makes me look like a wizard when the boss is watching me code (urk) and I toss in a SqlDataSource, a DropDownList, type "ddlGetStates." and select Databind, save, alt-tab, refresh BAM!!! States DDL... (ok, before you mod me MS Fan-boi, keep reading...)

    But then I go home, and having thought of a great feature on the drive home, I FTP into my site, open with a text editor, (insert notepad/BBedit/eMacs/Vi here to taste), and write the code by hand. Even if that means copying an pasting, I... how shall I say this... ***still have to know what I'm doing***. Yeah, all you n00bs, you drag and drop those controls and use F4 to set the properties...Go 'head...

    But the minute you have to do that with your ARMPIT, you are sunk. I took a written (the process of leaving graphite trails on paper) test for ASP.NET once... Unless you know what your are doing, you are screwed. Use whatever tools you want, whatever LAMP/.NET. But make sure you learn what you are doing, and not just doing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You know autocomplete and the like work in Eclipse as well, right? There are also vim scripts that do the same thing. In fact, there are many editors that have the functionality now. I'm sure there are other features that make visual studio nice. I used it up until version 6, and really liked it. But yes, as you said, you should know what you are doing regardless of technologies involved.
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:25PM (#22476716) Homepage

    I heavily use MS tools (day job) and open source tools and Linux only tools. For argument sake lets say it costs me the same amount of dollars for all the applications/tools regardless of if it is MS or if it is open source -- I still prefer the open source tools. Obviously I don't prefer all the open source tools, there are plenty that I don't like. But those that I do like, I prefer them over their equivalent MS tools (or at least what MS would like to believe are the equivalents).

    So this will likely just have the same IE/Netscape effect -- but who didn't see that coming.

  • by SSNTails (1194501) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:48PM (#22477114)
    I can't wait until they add a WGA-like feature. "We're sorry, but you are no longer verified as a student"...
  • by Digi-John (692918) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:57PM (#22477256) Journal

    I'm a Computer Engineering student, so I've done quite a bit of coding in classes and have also had two programming jobs. Just some thoughts on what I've experienced:

    In CS 1, they started us out using Macs (yeah, ugh, etc.) to ssh into the CS dept's Sun boxes. With Emacs and the command line java tools, we learned basic coding. When we advanced to CS 2, though, the professor decided it was time to give us Eclipse. I guess this was supposed to be a favor. Instead, I found that I now had less of a feel for how things were going together. Eclipse was hiding stuff from me, and I didn't like it; in trying to make stuff like CVS, compilation, debugging, etc. more transparent, Eclipse was making it harder to understand what was going on. By CS 3, I had reverted to Emacs. When CS 4 rolled around and we moved on to C++, my now Eclipse-dependent compatriots were left in the cold; they fiddled with various Eclipse plugins for a while, then came back to Emacs. Other classes such as Assembly and Applied Programming (C) were also best performed with a text editor and some command line tools.

    My first coding job was a summer internship writing C# under Visual Studio. I liked the job but didn't like the development environment. VS seemed to hide things even more than Eclipse... I felt far away from the code. As I recall, I wasn't able to compile my stuff outside of Visual Studio. The super tight integration just didn't work for me. VS struck me as the Disneyland of development tools--flashy, costly, structured; all your lodging (repositories), activities (coding), eating (compilation?), etc. are all right there.

    I'm still at my second job. I write C code for the Plan 9 operating system using the Acme text editor, a compiler (8c), a linker (8l), and a debugger (acid). They're good tools and they have the advantage of keeping everything out in the open. I can poke around in the source files and see all the data that acme could show me; there are no hidden properties or anything like that. A utility called the plumber helps link the shell, the editor and the debugger in a useful way. It's a rather looser system, and I have a greater feeling of control when I'm programming with it. If VS is Disneyland, the Plan 9 (or *nix) tools are a hiking trail in the mountains--cheap, allows you to go off the beaten path, the users tend to be dirty... ok, I'm stretching a little.

    At last, the point! In my experience, as a computer engineer/student, I want control of my code. I want to know where things are and what they do. I don't like applications that hold my hand too much. Some of my friends prefer to have the development environment do as much as possible, but I think there's a weakness to this--they tend to get lost when something new/unexpected comes up. Even if it's just that their box got fsck'd up and they have to use ssh and emacs to finish a project; at the very least, they're going to be in trouble without some of the features they've come to expect, while at the worst, their code simply will not work/will be unmodifiable (I've seen this happen).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zspdude (531908)
      Of course you want control of your code. Knowing where things are and what they do is a good thing... to a point.

      Yes, configuring an IDE is painful. Yes, using lightweight tools makes it easier to understand everything that is happening. Yes, rolling with your own development stack gives you the power, because you can choose familiar tools. But none of this scales to large projects or project teams.

      IDE tools and features are there for a reason - they're not arbitrary. They exist because previous developers
  • by victorvodka (597971) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:01PM (#22478198) Homepage
    Yeah I learned about power when I started work on VisualBasic Script ASP back in 1998. I used it a couple of years and then discovered PHP - where all sorts of things that had been impossible (or required clunky plugins and server tsuris) were effortless: things like file uploads, dynamic image creation, and even mail. By that point Microsoft was selling .NET which required completely relearning everything you used to know. "No thanks," I said, and I learned PHP. And the great thing about PHP is that it changes incrementally, with no one completely redoing it from scratch so I have to go back for a complete (and infuriating) re-education every couple of years.
  • Men of straw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:22PM (#22478548) Homepage

    Gates said students will want to try Microsoft's tools because they're more powerful than the open-source combination of Linux-based operating systems, the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP scripting language used to make complex Web sites.

    It doesn't take much to be better than MySQL and PHP. What about PostgreSQL and the various Python frameworks, like Pylons, Django, TurboGears, or even something heavy like Zope?

    Oh, and what about freedom to run my business without interference? With free software, I don't have to trust that Microsoft doesn't really see me as a pawn [groklaw.net].

    Microsoft: Call me back once you've had a clean record for a decade. Until then, bugger off.

  • by xquark (649804) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:05PM (#22480930) Homepage
    I can only comment on pure C++ (not the .NET/cli) development with IDEs, where I've used KDevelop,
    Eclipse Emacs and Visual Studio extensively.

    All I can say without any hesitation or doubt, that for pure C++ development VS2005/2008 make KDevelop,
    Eclipse(cdt) and Emacs (cscope) look like Notepad. Add the Visual Assist plugin, the fact that the
    debugger is TREULY integrated with the IDE and the fact that the IDE has access to the AST, then using
    KDevelop, Eclipse(cdt) and Emacs(cscope) seems like your programming with punch-cards.

    The MS C++ compiler is actually quite good and conforming as well, and has nearly shed its VC++6 lineage.
    Its not the best C++ compiler on the market but it is definitely in the top 3.

    I'm not an MS fanboy and don't use any other MS product other than their OS and even that is for the purpose
    of using VS. In the area of C++ development there is nothing in the open source space that can come close,
    I would very much like to know if anyone can prove me wrong.

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