IT Employment

Microsoft development tools to be given completely free to students

To get even more students to use its software tools, Microsoft will be giving away its software in an initiative called DreamSpark. From this week onwards, college students in 10 countries -- such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Germany -- will be able to get Microsoft's Visual Studio for free.

To get even more students to use its software tools, Microsoft will be giving away its software in an initiative called DreamSpark. From this week onwards, college students in 10 countries -- such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Germany -- will be able to get Microsoft's Visual Studio for free.

In addition, the students will be able to get free access to Microsoft Expression Web design tools, XNA Game Studio for developing Xbox 360 software, and even Windows Server and the developer version of the SQL Server database. The program is expected to be expanded over the next year to college and high school students worldwide.

The idea of DreamSpark is to get students to start using Microsoft's tools early.

Microsoft's senior director of academic initiatives, Joe Wilson, told CNET's News.com: "That next generation and future generations of technologists, they are vital to any industry leader like us." He further added that his goal "is to be able five years from now to spot businesses that got their start because a student used Microsoft's tools for free."

If you recall, Microsoft already provides "academic" versions of many of its software at steep discounted rates. In fact, stripped-down "express" editions of Visual Studio have been able to be downloaded for free for a while now.

Perhaps Microsoft is feeling the heat from schools in less-developed countries that have increasingly chosen to employ cheaper open-source or even free software in their schools as part of the curriculum. Whatever the case, cash-strapped students (aren't they always?) will certainly benefit from access to the free software.

Share with us your thoughts on the matter. Just how much difference will the above software make?

And no, before you ask, Microsoft Office will not be given away for free. You can read the press release here.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

7 comments
wlportwashington
wlportwashington

This is nothing new. Microsoft has been giving away software for free (or $27 ea if you buy the CD from them) to colleges for several years. I was able to get Visual Studio, SQL Server Enterprise and Developer, Server 2003, Access 2003, Viso Professional, Infopath, XP Pro and several other great Microsoft programs just because I was a student taking computer classes at my local college. But no MS Office. My son was able to get Office 2003 Professional at his college for 1/8th the shelf price from the bookstore on a first-come-first-served basis. And these were not stripped down, limited funcitionality programs either but the real deal.

normhaga
normhaga

MS has been giving CS students at the University of Utah Visual Studio Enterprise, XP Pro, XP server, and MSDN access for five years.

RFink
RFink

Depending on the tools, I could be talked into signing up for a web design class at the local community college. The free software would more than pay for the class. Any other takers?

moebiusproject
moebiusproject

When I did my degree we had MSDNAA, which gave us free access to all MS development/research related software and operating systems. This included Access, but not Work/Excel.

steve.weber.ctr
steve.weber.ctr

All those "free" copies distributed by schools previously had a catch - they were only legal while you continued to be a registered student, not afterwards.

swheeler
swheeler

It's about time they provided software for students. I couldn't even afford the student editions and my express editions expired. I'm definitely going to see if I can get in on this through my Master's program so I can finally have the development tools at home. If I could have afforded it, I would have spent the past decade writing Microsoft code in my spare time to develop my coding skills instead of reading "Harry Potter".

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

Have one of these... The first one's FREE!! Mwahhahahaha!