Does Microsoft have a free version of Visual Studio?
Not a trial, but a truly free version that they offer users to download....
I was wondering in case I somehow missed the option on their website. Any version of Visual Studio will do.
If not, are there any open-source alternatives (that have similar functionality, or possibly degraded equivalent) of Visual Studio? I am running on Windows 7 if that makes any difference...
You might get the full-cost version for free: see http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/8055/can-a-developer-get-a-discount-for-microsoft-products/8059#8059
@Dark Though you did not ask, some of the features included in the paid versions of VS can be easily replaced with Open Source alternatives. For instance, VS Express doesn’t include MS’s test suite (MSTest), but you’re free to use Open Source alternatives like NUnit, MBUnit, xUnit, etc.
Btw, if you have been watching microsoft VS express free download for years, you will know they once released a VS2008 express version which come as a single integrated one, instead of the current version, which they split VS into C#, C++, Web and BASIC. If you had kept the exe, you are lucky.
As of November 12, 2014, Microsoft has a Community Edition of Visual Studio that is equivalent to the latest Professional Edition. It is free for individuals, non-profits and small dev teams of less than 5 people. http://www.visualstudio.com/news/vs2013-community-vs
Is it possible to create microsoft office applications with these? Such as excel for example?
2017 now. This question pops up in Google as 3rth answer. Yes, Visual Studio can be used for free for personal use: https://www.visualstudio.com/free-developer-offers/
A comparison is available here.
If you are a student you may want to take a look at DreamSpark.
@Dark Templar: Like someone mentioned in a comment, BizSpark for startups is free for 3 years. I don't what the policies are after that. But seems you aren't very seen on all features so the Express edition sounds fine.
There is supposed to be a registration needed for VS Express 2010 - after you've been using it for about a month you need a serial or some such. Until that's done, I think the license is for evaluation only. I still use VS Express 2008, which doesn't have that minor hassle.
VS Express works great. For C# and C++, it has many features of the paid versions. There are some cases where you might need the paid version, but you can do a lot with the Express versions.
@Steve314 Registration is required after the "evaluation" period, but registration is free.
@Dalin - that isn't (or wasn't) the issue. They clearly say that it's free, even for commercial development, so clearly I wasn't expecting to have to pay. The problem is the widespread assumption that everyone has an always-on internet connection. I still use an ancient Windows XP laptop quite a bit, including for development work. It's *never* connected to the internet - too slow with modern antivirus etc. I eventually found the URLs to get codes for offline registration, but finding those wasn't made easy.
@Dalin - even with the code entered, VS Express 2010 also nags a bit to do something it can't do without an internet connection (I forget what - haven't used it for a while). Annoying and distracting. I've been using MinGW GCC even more than before partly because of it, though mainly I'm learning Haskell ATM anyway.