The POCO C++ Libraries Blog

Bad news for FOSS C++11 on Windows

Filed under: News by alex at 18:11

The Big Brother has spoken; thou shalt write Metro apps.

According to ars technica:

If you want to develop desktop applications—anything that runs at the command line or on the conventional Windows desktop that remains a fully supported, integral, essential part of Windows 8—you’ll have two options: stick with the current Visual C++ 2010 Express and Visual C# 2010 Express products, or pay about $400-500 for Visual Studio 11 Professional. A second version, Visual Studio 11 Express for Web, will be able to produce HTML and JavaScript websites, and nothing more.

This is not good for open source. I doubt Microsoft will ever put forth effort for full C++11 support in VS 2010. So, this essentially means that, if you want to compile not only traditional Win32 applications but also standard C++11 code on Windows, you’ll have to pay for the professional version of Visual Studio.


Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson

Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson

Update (June 9, 2012):

Apparently, Microsoft has changed it’s mind. Good.

  1. This is indeed bad news. I have been advocating the Express editions as a start point for students. It is simple to use, help to learn C++ and give the skills needed in the professional IDE.
    It seems that Microsoft now is not a developers, developers, developers company anymore.

    Comment by Josue A. Gomes on June 3, 2012, 23:14

  2. “Starter-developers” will choose available alternatives such as mingw or *nix and this will help grow open-source community base a lot!

    After all, it’s Micro$oft.

    Comment by Sanjar on June 5, 2012, 19:41

  3. I’ve had to go through a moderate amount of hoops to build OSS on Windows, mainly because I use mingw, not VC++.

    E.g., when I read stuff like this (my emphasis)
    “Microsoft Visual Studio 7.1 (2003), 8.0 (2005), 9.0 (2008) or 10.0 (2010) is *required* to
    build the POCO C++ Libraries on Windows platforms.”

    I know I’m in for some “Interesting Times”(TM).

    So, I’m hoping this change will mean better support for those of us who are on Windows but don’t use VC++.

    Disclaimer: I’ve just found POCO and i’m still trying to figure out how to build it, so my snide remark above may be mistargeted :)

    Comment by Paulo Caetano on June 6, 2012, 14:31

  4. For a free alternative try Qt Creator 2.5 from
    you can get get mingw gcc 4.7 from with boost 1.49 already prebuilt in the distribution and c++11 mode automatically enabled.

    For gdb you can get from

    You will have a IDE that is fast, free, has most of C++11, and has a good debugger with STL visualizers

    Comment by anon on June 7, 2012, 05:34

  5. Hi alex,
    from Visual Studio blog ( ), they have announced that Visual Studio 2012 express edition will support desktop development with C++, C# and VB after heard from community.
    Glad that they have changed their original decision.

    Comment by panovr on June 9, 2012, 15:09

  6. Good to know they came to their senses. Thanks for the notification.

    Comment by alex on June 9, 2012, 17:19

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