Dan Fernandez, project manager of Visual Studio Express announced this week that VS Express will be free permanently. VS Express editions are light-weight, easy to use versions of Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE designed for hobbyist, novice, and student developers. Dan writes:
Prior to this pricing announcement, Visual Studio Express Editions were promotionally discounted to be free for one year, starting on November 7th, 2005. With this announcement, the promotional discount for Visual Studio Express is now permanent and Express will continue to be free.
According to Dan the Express editions have been a "runaway hit", downloaded over 5 million times in the 5 months since its launch. This change affects Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express.
In addition to announcing that Express will continue to be free, the team also unveiled some fun new content including a .NET interface for Lego Mindstorms, and a video series on how to write 3D video games. Pricing for the full Visual Studio IDE was unchanged.