Once upon a time Windows was Windows, Linux was Linux, and never the twain shall meet. Things have changed. In the most recent example, Microsoft and Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, have now made Visual Studio Code (VS Code) available to Linux users via its snap software deployment and package management system.
VS Code is a lightweight source-code editor. It also includes IntelliSense code completion and debugging tools. Microsoft open-sourced VS Code several years ago. Since then, VS Code, which can be used with hundreds of languages, supports Git, and runs on Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Canonical's Snaps are containerized applications, which contains all of a program's dependencies. They're designed to work securely within any Linux platform from the desktop to the cloud to IoT devices. Besides making it easier to install programs, its automatic updates and roll-back features give greater flexibility for developers on the one hand, and a more seamless experience for users on the other. Snaps are currently supported on over 40 Linux distributions including Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, Manjaro, openSUSE, Solus, and Ubuntu. For users, this means it's easier than ever to install an application.
This isn't the first time Microsoft has brought an application to Linux via the Snap system. That honor goes to Skype. Microsoft PowerShell is also available as a snap.
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Why is Microsoft using snaps? It's simple, explained João Moreno, Microsoft Visual Studio Code Software Development Engineer, "The automatic update functionality of snaps is a major benefit. It is clear there is a thriving community around snaps and that it is moving forward at great pace. The backing of Canonical ensures our confidence in its ongoing development and long-term future."
Evan Dandrea, Canonical Engineering Manager, praised the move in a statement, "Developers are the lifeblood of snaps and it is great to see this recognition from Microsoft as they join a host of others who can now provide their users with the latest updates seamlessly, and with assurance of rollbacks and containment."
That's all well and good but how well does it work? Find out for yourself. The snap for Visual Studio Code is available today.