I was briefed earlier today on Visual Studio support on Windows Vista, and I wanted to clear the air... because there seems to be some confusion.
- Visual Studio 6.0 - Supported on Windows Vista
- Visual Studio 2002 - Not supported on Windows Vista
- Visual Studio 2003 - Not supported on Windows Vista
- Visual Studio 2005 SP1- Supported on Windows Vista, currently has UAC-related compatibility issues that may get in your way. This issues will be fixed after Vista RTMs. (I suspect if you shut UAC off you won't have these issues... but of course I don;t recommend that)
What does this mean for developers? Well, it's important to remember that the .NET 1.1 runtime will still be compatible with Vista, so your apps themselves will continue to run fine. But for the tools, it would take a lot of work to bring those apps up to speed, and Microsoft has to make hard choices on how it allocates its resources.
If you're in a large organization, and you still have to support .NET 1.1 code, chances are pretty good you're on Software Assurance, and you'll have a copy of Windows Vista Enterprise. Time to utilize one of your 4 VPC image license and fire up your development environment in Virtual PC. If you're not in a large organization, Virtual PC / Virtual Server is still free. Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2 (say that 5x fast) has a new utility called VHDMount that lets you mount a VHD as a physical hard drive on the host. You can store all of your source code in a separate VHD and access it from both the host and the guest.
UPDATE: Don't forget about MSBee, which lets you compile to .NET 1.1 on VS2005.
The other solution is to migrate most of the organization to Vista and keep the developers on XP/2003. You can still develop for .NET 3.0 on those platforms, so most apps shouldn't have a problem (unless you're hooking into something like dwmapi.dll)
Anyways, is Microsoft trying to purpously force people to upgrade to .NET 2.0/3.0? Absolutely not. But you have to ask youself a question: Would rather Visual Studio "Orcas" be delayed until the end of 2007 to get 2003 running on Vista? I know my answer is "hell no", and yours probably is too.
It's a bad deal, but in the end, it's the right call to keep other products on track. I wish Microsoft baked VPC into Vista like virtualization was built into OSX for OS9 compatibility... but I'm just a crazy man.