Microsoft removes barriers for open source on Windows 8
Microsoft has removed a potential barrier to open source developers planning on using Windows 8 by reversing its decision to only allow its free-of-charge developer tools to create Windows 8 Metro applications. In a blog posting, Microsoft has declared that developers using the free-of-charge version of Visual Studio will now be able to write standard desktop applications for Windows 8 and noted that its move "will enable developers working on open source applications to target existing and previous versions of Windows".
The move represents a change of policy from an earlier announcement that stated that the next version of Visual Studio Express would only be able to create Metro-style applications. Microsoft will now release a version of the development environment under the name Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop which will be available free-of-charge and which will include development tools for C++, C#, Visual Basic and a full range of compilers. The application, formerly known under the name "Visual Studio Express 11", is planned to be released in the autumn.
The company's decision does a lot to allay the concerns of many open source developers who would have found themselves unable to develop their applications for Windows, had they been required to purchase the full version of Visual Studio. Many of these developers have argued that the limitations of Metro applications present obstacles that they can not easily circumvent without sacrificing features in their software.