VS Code is considered the most popular free editor for programmers and has beaten out competitors like Atom. The application is offered by Microsoft free of charge for all platforms (Linux, Mac and of course Windows), but should not be confused with Microsoft’s proprietary IDE (development environment) Visual Studio, despite the similarity in name.
VS Code does not allow you to create “projects” as in full-blown IDEs – the editor always works file/folder-based. Nevertheless, the program can be used like an IDE. First, you open a folder or clone a repository – thanks to the Git integration – via the explorer icon in the left, vertical menu. Then you can add more folders to your project which is not a project, but a Workspace according to VS Code terminology. When you exit the program, VS Code remembers which files were open and restores this workspace exactly the same way the next time you start the program.
The great strength of VS Code is the large number of extensions that are made available via a marketplace. This allows VS Code to become a serious programming tool for all conceivable programming languages. Via the extensions icon already existing extensions may be configured and new ones installed.
Licensing and backdoor
Microsoft would not be Microsoft, however, if the company did not include a backdoor from the point of view of open source supporters. For example, the source code of VS Code is open under an MIT license; however, the packages that Microsoft builds for Debian and Ubuntu, among others, are under a proprietary license and collect telemetry data without demand. At least users can prevent this by disabling all or part of this behavior under File > Preferences > Telemetry Settings.
The easiest installation is actually offered by Microsoft itself with the mentioned backdoor: simply download the latest deb package from Microsoft and then install it:
sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/code_*.deb
Microsoft’s package source is also set up at the same time, so that future updates of VS Code – the program is updated quite frequently – will be imported by the package management. To set up the package source manually, follow the detailed instructions on the page Visual Studio Code on Linux If you don’t trust Microsoft ‘ s pre-built packages, you can build the package yourself from Microsoft’s open source code, or more simply: use the packages already built under the name Vscodium from Paul Carroty ‘s repository:
wget -qO - https://gitlab.com/paulcarroty/vscodium-deb-rpm-repo/raw/master/pub.gpg | gpg --dearmor | sudo dd of=/usr/share/keyrings/vscodium-archive-keyring.gpg echo 'deb [ signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/vscodium-archive-keyring.gpg ] https://download.vscodium.com/debs vscodium main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscodium.list sudo apt update && sudo apt install codium