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Microsoft to Give Away Developer Tools to Students

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the first-hit's-free dept.

Microsoft 555

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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555 comments

Professional Tools (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476230)

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.

Re:Professional Tools (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476350)

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.

Re:Professional Tools (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476642)

Correlation does not always indicate causality though, of course. It's just the notion that a tool is required to be of a certain size to be professional that is amusing. I guess while Microsoft has been trying to catch up to this whole internet thing, that they got sidetracked and ended up adopting pornstar like philosophies.

Re:Professional Tools (3, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477038)

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.

Yes. They were professional then.

Re:Professional Tools (4, Interesting)

sundarvenkata (1214396) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476486)

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.

Re:Professional Tools (4, Informative)

mrvan (973822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476896)

Eclipse?

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

Catering staff for IT shops will see a recession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476594)

Dear Sir - i am a poor student, i need money, i write video games but ea sports wont hire me. So i can also write web pages for iis, please let me introduce Vista to your Linux only webhosting firm.

The fun you could have with the reject letter, but can they make coffee ?

Re:Professional Tools (2, Informative)

southbay_jay (1242352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476776)

Just tried this - For the US they have a catch-all process that covers all students at all schools that are not listed in the initial 42 list. Must be that some schools can electornically verify students, many can't. This seems like all upside - I would have to look hard to complain about more free tools as a student.

Re:Professional Tools (2, Informative)

wschalle (790478) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476858)

I just tried to DL it with my JHU login, and it said it couldn't verify me as a student... Maybe its only certain departments at the schools whose students are allowed to download?

Re:Professional Tools (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476944)

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.

Re:Professional Tools (3, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477006)

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:Professional Tools (2, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477030)

Many schools already offer MSDNAA and probably didn't bother to hook in, but either way you can go through a journey ed link to get verified anyway- though journey ed is partially slashdotted.

Microsoft gives the Frosty Piss to customers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476242)

In a bid to stem the flow of people to OpenOrifice.org, Microsoft is handing out free Frosty Pisses!
 

Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476244)

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 (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476368)

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.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (5, Insightful)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476382)

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.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476448)

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.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (0, Offtopic)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476484)

Incidentally does anyone know how to get the crazy alpha-release Anjuta that's in the Gutsy repos to accept cin input during debugging? I have nowhere to enter input.. and the old, good Anjuta doesn't work with Gutsy.

Come Again? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476668)

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:Come Again? (0, Troll)

Jynx77 (974092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476870)

I'll help you out. Most developers I know don't mind buying a new computer every couple of years. I could give a shit if a DEVELOPMENT IDE runs on a 10 year old computer.

Re:Come Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476978)

You must be the world's lowest-paid developer if your choice of tools is constrained by your ownership of an 8-year-old PC.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (2, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476846)

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 don't like what you are using, you can go hunting for something better, and continue to do so with impunity until you find something that really suites your needs/skillset.

"Most open source tools" - tells me that you came across at least one that was at the very least comparable to MS tools. Take Apache for instance. For the heck of it I set up an Apache web server on an old PC. I am no web developer by a long shot, but I got it up and running pretty easily, had myself my own little intarweb and even sorted out virtual hosting by just reading teh manual/browsing through the default config files.

Then I sat back and thought - "Well genius, what can you do with this now that you set it up?" answer: Almost anything! PHP? Yep, SQL? Yep. My own MP3 server that I can play using any device that has a web browser and is connected to the network? Yes. EyeOS? Easy!

I could go on, but the point is - horrible as some OSS offerings might be, they are there, and they are essentially yours to do with as you bloody well please. By and large most tech savvy people can learn to use them, and if one doesn't take your fancy - try another, and if you are stuggling - google is truly your friend! (Also, many OSS offerings are awesomely put together products that can really hold a candle to the best out on offer.)

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (3, Interesting)

link5280 (1141253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476430)

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++ (2, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476840)

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:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476568)

False. This is an opinion

if it's opinion how can it be false?

not to piss on you or anything but everytime gates says or does anything the goosesteppers around here are all hellbent on finding the slightest problem with it. i swear to god, for a bunch of people who claim they have everything the need without bill gates you guys sure do obsess about him. i guess he's made a successful call of your bluff.

personally i don't even bother with the kinds of bores that i don't think bring anything to the table. i can't recall the last time i bothered with an article about linus.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (1)

Wo1ke (1218100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476930)

False. This is an opinion.
If it is opinion, it by default cannot be false. Just different.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476962)

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 to buy it.

I think that situation accounts for a large volume of casual piracy anyway, and some of these large companies might not lose much by granting that as a legitimate and licensed use. Of course, it could also confuse people by letting them believe that software is "free" just because it's free for non-commercial use. Also, it could cause of sort of slippery slope where people stretch their "non-commercial" use every now and then to include some minor commercial use, until they're a fully professional graphic artist using the "non-commercial" CS3.

Re:Almost Thar ... Stay on Target! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22477108)

I also receive free software through my student MSDN account. So far I've downloaded XP pro, Visual Studio 2003 Pro and 2005 Pro, Visio 2007 Pro, and some other software that I can't recall at the moment. Obviously Microsoft makes this available to increase the amount of developers using their software in the future, but they still don't have to make it available for free.

As it happens... (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476258)

Apple's development tools have been available free of charge since the Apple/NeXT merger.

-jcr

Re:As it happens... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476300)

So what?

Re:As it happens... (0, Troll)

NMagic (982573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476362)

Yeah, well when you only have a total of 5 programs that work on your system, you get desperate...

Re:As it happens... (2, Insightful)

kerohazel (913211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476416)

So what you're implying then is that Microsoft is becoming desperate.

Re:As it happens... (0, Flamebait)

NMagic (982573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476474)

Nope, I'm not "implying" anything. I said what I meant. Apple has a very limited software library. They probably released their dev tools because they are desperate for SOMEBODY to be able to write software. Apple and MS are in very different situations, and my statement re: apple has nothing to do with MS.

Re:As it happens... (2, Insightful)

kerohazel (913211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476724)

It could also be that because Apple makes most of their money on their hardware, they don't need to charge for their dev tools - which are probably the same tools that they use to develop internal apps.

Just like it could be that Microsoft is giving their tools away for free for a different reason than the falling consumer confidence that they are experiencing.

However, you chose the "desperation" angle with Apple, and I wanted to show a jump to a similar conclusion with Microsoft. Granted, the degree of desperation may be different, but when you're at the top, you have a lot further to fall.

Re:As it happens... (0)

M-RES (653754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476992)

Hmmm... I find it difficult to quantify your 'only 5 pieces of software claim' when faced with this [apple.com] .

I'm counting now and it's gone way beyond two hands... iMovie, iTunes, iCal, iWeb, AddressBook, Mail, Safari, iDVD, GarageBand, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Aperture, Logic, Final Cut Pro, iChat, TextEdit, Preview, FrontRow. That's just the out-of-the-box installed software that Apple write themselves... not counting the numerous utils and other bits n pieces. The there's some of the other 300+ apps I have installed to use on a daily basis (GIMP, Inkscape, NeoOffice, M$Office, Creative Suite, Stuffit, Toast, Jam, Reason, Cubase, ProTools, VLC, Real, WinMediaSlayer, MPlayer, Hammer, VPC, Recycle, Rebirth, Repacker, ReMote Editor, SoundStudio, EyeTV, Radiolover, BitTorrent, Azureus, Firefox, Opera, MSN, AIM, iTheatre, Centerstage, ArtRage, ARD, Audio Hijack, Wiretap, Fission, Audacity, Miro, and on and on and on....

...of course, they're just some of the more widely used day to day essentials, but then there are many obscure bits n pieces. Not sure if I'd class each Dashboard widget as an app - but I have hundreds... sooooo, you were saying?

Re:As it happens... (4, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:As it happens... (4, Insightful)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:As it happens... (3, Insightful)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476576)

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 wouldn't run on my Linux, Amiga or Apple computers.

Re:As it happens... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476638)

When I was a child, I really wanted to get involved in coding. All computers in my home and my family's business were Macs, and I was fascinated by how they worked. But, due to the cost of the tools, I had to amuse myself to playing with a hex editor or ResEdit (which last program had become finally accessible through AOL's downloads area).

Re:As it happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476806)

Apple's development tools have been available free of charge since the Apple/NeXT merger.
Gee, in my day Apple just shipped BASIC and the debugger in ROM, with every computer.

Re:As it happens... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476940)

Microsoft's have been free for ages, as well. Given, it didn't come with a IDE, but the SDK and compiler have been freely downloadable since Windows 2000 was brand-new, IIRC. And of course they have had freely available versions of all their .net languages for some time.

Smart (4, Insightful)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Smart (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476404)

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 now use OpenStep almost exclusively (Cocoa on OS X, GNUstep on *NIX) and can't remember the last time I used Windows (my ThinkPad spends most of its time running FreeBSD).

Re:Smart (2, Interesting)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476682)

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).

Re:Smart (1, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476836)

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

And by a strange coincidence, everywhere I look I see buggy software developed by kids who know next to nothing about algorithms or, really, programming in general. Programming is a highly skilled job which has become synonymous with "crap and annoying" for most users all around the world. It's no surprise that Microsoft - a company with no concern for quality control whatsoever (and why should they: people literally have to buy their products whether they want them or not) - is king of that particular heap.

TWW

Re:Smart (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476848)

As the kids say, "true dat". I ended up switching from CS a few classes short of the major. I have a decent amount of programming experience. I can't, however, program a hello world program in either visual studio or xcode. We never did any gui work at all, but I can draw automata out... Theory is great, but there should be at least a few "practical" courses...

Re:Smart (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476882)

I think there's different crowds of "big boys." Certainly Google and IBM count as big boys, but I doubt they're heavily dependent on MS tools. I guess it depends on which group of big boys you want to work for.

In my opinion, if you got a CS degree (i.e., not a vocational program), you should be glad they weren't teaching you how to use languages X, Y, and Z. That means they had time to teach you generally applicable ideas that are found in almost every language, and you've got a solid foundation that allows you to become (pun alert) functional in almost any language in a short period of time.

On the other hand, if you were in a jobs training program (IT degree or something similar) and they didn't teach you anything about .Net, then I'd say you should be pissed, since it seems like .Net and/or C# is on at least half the job requirements out there. :)

Source Code? (2, Funny)

biolitch (1242242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476272)

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 (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#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..

Re:Awesome (1)

kerohazel (913211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476516)

I think it has everything to do with MS having a strangle-hold on the computing platform market.

From what I can tell - I wasn't a business computer user back then, just gaming - in the 80s, applications were king. You wanted people to use your bizarre new computer or your fancy-pants OS? You had to woo the app developers, or write some good ones yourself. Applications were, and still are, the reason people use computers.

However, in the case of Windows, even though it's only an OS, it has come to represent much more. It means being able to run just about any program out there. And that means something to people. It's enough to make them pay for the "privilege" of writing Windows programs.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476572)

Microsoft has Visual Studio Express which is free. Also most college bookstores has the pro tools for about a hundred dollars.

Re:Awesome (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476820)

Well, there is a lot more incentive for Microsoft to stop charging students for the privilege of developing Windows applications these days, but rest assured that if the desired effect of stifling the use of "free as in speech" tooling succeeds, the price for their stuff will rise again.

This is good. (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476284)

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.

Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

EricR86 (1144023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476308)

I know at the university I attend we get e-mails about once a year offering free microsoft products for educational use, and that includes non-developer tools.

I never really cared about it, and I will continue to do so.

Re:Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476406)

I think you're referring to MSDAA...they're free for the students but the individual colleges pay for what's basically a cheap volume license. Conveniently they leave out Office from their offerings on MSDNAA...since, you know, their map programs are so much more useful.

Re:Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

EricR86 (1144023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476518)

But from a student's standpoint it makes little or no difference what the university pays for that volume license. I can't imagine it having any significant impact on my tuition (it at all).

It's just as "free" as it is now as it was then

Re:Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476588)

You're right: it's exactly the same from a student standpoint.

From an broader standpoint, what they're planning to offer now is actually free instead of being subsidized by universities. There's the difference.

Re:Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

NMagic (982573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476424)

Heh..... I wonder if that was anything like how my music teacher used to photocopy sheet music? ;)

Re:Haven't they been doing this already? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476592)

MSDNAA has been arround for a while, but it had to be joined by a department and the department had to pay. At my uni my department (EEE) is not part of the program meaning I can't get the free software not easilly (according to MS I would technically be allowed to get it during a year where I took a course from CS or informatics but I have never been told if and how I can actually get it under that program as an EEE student doing one course from informataics).

Now MS is going one step further and offering products directly to students. This is a very tempting offer though I can't seem to find any clear information on what if any strings are attatched.

But wait, there's more... (3, Informative)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476310)

Windows Server 2003 Standard
SQL Server 2005 Express
Microsoft Expression Studio
And Visual Studio 2005 and 2008

A billion students? (3, Insightful)

Westley (99238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476312)

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.

Re:A billion students? (2, Funny)

rfunk (765049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476866)

Who said anything about desire? This is Microsoft. They have money and power. A full sixth of the world population will be forced or bribed to code for them. This is their latest plan for beating Open Source.

Ha (2, Funny)

loconet (415875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476336)

In other news, Jimmy De Brondi, a local crack dealer at Sando-Brando University sues Microsoft for illegally using his patented business practice.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476608)

I love all these analogies of Microsoft as crack dealer, and Apple doesn't ever get viciously maligned like that.

You slashbots need to grow up.

this feels wrong (2, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476344)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476620)

If Microsoft is doing it... chances are that it is wrong.

Re:this feels wrong (3, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476758)

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.

Do I need to say it? (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476352)

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?

Re:Do I need to say it? (1)

Ang31us (1132361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476966)

"Powerful" is such a vague term. In my opinion, one of the strengths of Microsoft's development environment is in its integration with IIS and SQLServer. You can publish a web service on your Web Server by pushing a button and publish a web form that queries or adds data to database tables without writing any SQL (cough, choke, gag). Of course, then you're stuck with IIS and SQLServer; not the best web or database server products. I honestly thought that the Visual Studio was the best IDE when I last used it, but most of the code I write these days is in Java for the sake of portability. I also find it so much easier to download and run Eclipse than to find a way to get Visual Studio CDs (especially since I work in government, where making a purchase takes months). Did you see all of their authentication requirements? Microsoft Live ID and college verification...some will have to dig up their Xbox Live passwords. What does it matter if they give away the products to students if the process of obtaining them is so cumbersome? Given that downloading and running Eclipse is easier than Visual Studio, I would say that the bar for authenticating a student is set too high for this attempt to have any chance of success.

Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476358)

I tried signing up and they wanted to charge 2.95. Meh. Not a big deal really considering what you get, but come on. Free != 2.95.

Also, the pages take for.fucking.ever to load.

This sounds familiar... (1, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476396)

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.

"Channel 8" (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476418)

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.

Microsofts tools for free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476422)

This is a good move, but not because it gives students access to the tools,

The reason that it is good is that it means students now have legal access to the tools. Let's be real here, plenty of IT students already have all the M$ tools on their pcs, they just pirate them. Decriminilising students has got to be a good thing.

Ka-ching (1)

slas6654 (996022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476426)

Woohoo!!!!!!

No tax rebate and no refundable kid credits but at least this year I can get a free copy of Dev Studio. Finally, a chance to pimp my kid.

Thanks, Uncle Bill!

oh great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476500)

a new round of virii will be created..thanks Microsoft

This is a "good" move on MS' part~ (4, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:This is a "good" move on MS' part~ (2, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476824)

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.

Re:This is a "good" move on MS' part~ (1)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476904)

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.


Agreed. I'm actually much more efficient programming using my skills in VIM instead of Visual Studio autocomplete/magic. And I understand what I'm doing better. Maybe once a month I open VS to do a complex debugging task, but in general I could live without it. Students SHOULD know that there are alternatives, and that a good IDE doesn't make a good programmer, but what can we do?

Personally, MS is smart for doing this... it's not evil, it's good business. Perhaps HD-DVD could've taken a page from this book to win the format war -- sell everything for remarkably low until they win the war. They take a loss to begin, but win the format war and make it all up the next year (of course some big-wig wasn't willing to take an initial loss, and now he has to take a permanent loss).

Re:This is a "good" move on MS' part~ (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476960)

What frightens me about the average DOT NET developers is that they have some fancy features that no one else has or can recreate given the will to do so.

And DUDE... ftp?? How about:

  1. Login to KDE
  2. Open Kate/Kwrite
  3. Ctrl+O
  4. enter in 'fish://username:password@host/path/of/interest'
  5. work with file, hit save as necessary

And that's if you just want to use a plain text editor

Re:This is a "good" move on MS' part~ (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476976)

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...

Ok why not ger a copy of visual studio express or sharpdevelop at home? Also how do you compile this .NET code from home? BTW most people that know F4 brons the properties dialog up probably have a clue.

Would be worried if it was true (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476716)

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.

piracy (1)

Erpo (237853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476736)

So in other words, Microsoft wants students to have free as in beer access to Microsoft software development tools. Students have always had free as in beer access to Microsoft software development tools through piracy.

Nothing has changed except Microsoft has decided that permitting a previously prohibited activity is a good idea. Quibble all you want about the differences between "downloading from Microsoft's server" versus "downloading from a friend's server."

The important thing is that this is a good example of copyright hurting business and the public instead of helping. A lot of people in my girlfriend's art classes at college were convinced that pirating Photoshop was stealing, was wrong, and was hurting Adobe. Maybe I'll have better luck explaining the truth to this kind of person now that I have an example like this backed by a big corporation.

how much has the world changed? (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476878)

Is this an admission that MS is loosing significant mindshare to open source, or has the world changed to the point where dev tools have to be free to students to get traction? Personally, I'd have been better off is I'd been provided more than printf as a debugging tool in University.

Microsoft's Futile Freebies; Too Little, Too Late (1, Interesting)

indiejade (850391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476946)

About a decade too late, Microsoft is finally seeing the light.

A recent article (registration required) in the New York Times discusses how the Redmond giant is now "giving students free access to its most sophisticated tools for writing software and making media-rich Web sites."

Ha! I would definitely disagree on the "sophisticated" adjective. Are these noble motives? Hardly. But for non-technical types, this could easily be painted as a seeming variety of evangelical philanthropy. Truth-seekers might ask: does Microsoft really care about all those poor, starving students of the Universe? And if so, why does it care now instead of before; haven't computers been around quite awhile? If (past) actions speak louder than words, the obvious answer would be "Microsoft doesn't care." This futile freebie is far too little, far too late. The computing world got along just fine before there was a Microsoft, and it will continue to get along well whether or not Microsoft does. It could probably be easily proven that the legally-laden profit-seeking motives of the MSFT corporation have actually hindered progress, especially progress of technically-inclined students.

One of the main problems with capitalism is that it is based on the assumption that every single action by every person everywhere has a monetary-based profit motive. If this were true, libraries would not exist. Indeed, in a purely profit-motivated society, freedom itself would not exist, as time itself would be handcuffed to the dollar sign; choice, the ability to research between or among alternatives, and a non time-constrained intuition are keys for progress.

A related, but somewhat tangent aside: I cannot quantify the irritation I have with my Business 2.0 magazine subscription being replaced by the megacorporate-centric Fortune magazine. The latest two editions have been severely disappointing. Business 2.0 was about innovation, ideas, progression, change for the better. Fortune had "The $100 Billion Woman" Melinda Gates on the cover for January 2008 and some corporate greed investment propaganda on the cover for February of 2008. Evil real estate people. While I can respect "rich, powerful" women, I don't really aspire to go about having dollar signs attached to my "net worth".

I sometimes wonder what direction my academic career might have taken if I'd discovered Free Open-Source Software sooner. My advocation of FOSS stands today stronger than before; it is indeed a particularly useful tool for students, teachers, professors, small-medium business owners and other efficient [zentu.net] people of the world.

The channel 8 website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476988)

is an atrocity and who ever designed it should be taken out behind Redmond and shot.

It reads like it's been written by a mentally deficient 16 year old.

Microsoft Business Model (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22477062)

Microsoft is presenting this as an additional tool to the developer arsenal. Which is fine, if I find myself forced to use Visual Studio for a project now I can only be grateful. But knowing the Microsoft executive mindset, I can assure you that this educational benefactor is nothing more than a facade for supplanting the open source software communities hold in the academic world. But that's dramatic, let me think this out.

February 27th Microsoft will be unveiling their new open source movement with things such as Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008. I won't go into details as you can already find them on google. All this coupled with the new Yahoo merger and it becomes apparent that the over-aggressive left hand is no longer speaking to the old school executive right hand. It's all rather disorienting to the consumer, which may help them in the end.

However, the OSS community should be at ease right now. While the hype of this is allowing students (who were already Microsoft oriented in the first place) to download their software, there is confusion and misdirection internally at Microsoft. For the product marketing teams,developers, and project leaders this is a bittersweet victory. Not only that, but the dynamics of the OSS development process are really about to shine. Tested and proven versus hasty deadline shipments.

They are up against a market that is not drawn to pretty themes and hype out of ignorance. This market inherently demands results.

Just Microsoft being Microsoft (1, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477076)

I have been in the industry, professionally, since the early 80s and as a hobbyist since the mid 70s. Microsoft is the worst of the worst cheapskate companies. Gates once scolded people for copying BASIC. That *is* the core of his being. He doesn't share. He's a cheap bastard, and the only way he'll give a dollar away is if he thinks he can make two more back. Bill Gates does not understand "good will" or notions like societal benefit. He's a greedy low life who'll take what he can any way he can and hire lawyers to make sure he's never does time.

And if Mr. Gates would like to step outside and deal with this like a man, without hiding behind lawyers or corporate shields, I would be the first to roll up my sleeves.

Say what you will, I AM BIASED and I do not like the man, his politics, or his business practices. There is nothing wrong with the notion that business is a member of a community and owes the community from which it benefits. That's how capitalism won the cold war.

All that has changed in the last 25 years with the fundamentalist capitalists in power. Now it is all greed. Nothing else has a place in the economics policy dialog. Bill Gates has done a lot to further this decline of western "civilization" with the way Microsoft does business. Practices once unheard of and shameful are rewarded by wall street and politicians alike.

When you think about how the Microsoft monopoly has propped up the prices of commodity software, and how much raw cash has been siphoned out of the economy because of the monopoly it is sickening.

The "free" student editions of the development tools are nothing more than a trap. You don't actually get anything. You merely get to invest YOUR time learning THEIR system so that anything you write with THEIR tools has to run on THEIR operating system which you have to pay for,

With a free software strategy, you invest YOUR time learning about tools and systems that everyone has access to for free and can run anywhere you want, including, if it suits you, Windows.

Students of the world don't be fools. It is a transparent attempt to thwart real and substantive change in the IT industry by the free software movement.

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