Microsoft Open Sources Visual Studio Build Tool: MSBuild

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 19, 2015

New Microsost CEO Satya Nadella (shown) continues to demonstrate his full volume of welcome for open source. In addition to proclaiming that he "loves Linux" and reporting that 20 percent of Microsoft's Azure cloud is already Linux-based, he has also given his blessing to open sourcing some previously untouchable code from the Redmond giant.

MSBuild, the development platform for Microsoft's Visual Studio tools and .Net Platform, is officially open source.  The code is available on GitHub now, and here are more details.

"By invoking msbuild.exe on your project or solution file, you can orchestrate and build products in environments where Visual Studio isn't installed. For instance, MSBuild is used to build the .Net Core Libraries and .Net Core Runtime open source projects," Microsoft's Rich Lander wrote in a new blog post. Lander is on Microsoft's Common Language Runtime team. 

Lander adds:

"The MSBuild sources we're publishing today are closely aligned with the version we will ship with Visual Studio 2015. You may notice a few differences as this is our first attempt at a standalone build, but you should see those discrepancies reduced over time. And keep in mind that for now, you'll need to have Visual Studio 2015 installed in order to build the first time."

"We will be adding Linux and Mac support soon (perhaps with your help!) so you can use MSBuild to build the open source .NET projects on your preferred platform. We'll initially start with Mono and look to port the code to run on .NET Core. But we're really just getting started on our ports. We wanted to open up the code first, so that we could all enjoy the cross-platform journey from the outset."

"MSBuild is the default build engine for Visual Studio and the .NET community on the Windows platform. Through open sourcing MSBuild we are responding to community feedback and we intend to make it the best choice for .NET developers on the Linux and Mac platforms. You can learn about the opportunities to get involved here. We look forward to your comments and hearing from you on the .NET Foundation Forums!"

Of course, Visual Studio and .NET have been core components in Microsoft's strategy for years, and it's good to see MSBuild going open source, along with many of the other open source-friendly moves finally coming from Microsoft.