10 is the new 6

While it may no longer be true that everything at Microsoft is built using various flavors of Visual C++ 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0, there is still a kernel of truth in it: A lot of customers are still using Visual C++ 6.0.

That's why the unofficial slogan for Visual C++ 2010 was 10 is the new 6. Everybody on the team got a T-shirt with the slogan (because you don't have a product until you have a T-shirt).

Comments (35)
  1. StuckInThePast says:

    Still using VB6 here… Visual Studio 98 for the win!  Nothing else works on all versions of Windows from 95 through 8.1, and all the Servers, with only one small DLL! Woo!

  2. Joshua says:

    As the last version that works on XP and the last version that doesn't require .NET 4.5 (this is important due to other mistakes), it probably will be.

  3. foo says:

    VS 2008 (IDE, etc for C++ and a bit of C#) was rather good for all my uses of it (minimal, I'm sure, compared to louder mouths). Actually every release of Visual Studio I've used for work has been ok. Even the "2 minutes" I spent with VS 2003 .NET. VS 2010 IDE for C# enterprise-y stuff is crap slow without tweaking from I've found – even without Resharper (which adds a bit of overhead but is full-on excellent). C++ seems good.

  4. Joshua says:

    Due to my rotten editing, replace "other" with "mistakes not specified here".

  5. CLI Dev says:

    Ah that video. Poor Boris Jabes. Has he recovered from the beating at the handles of C++/CLI devs over removal of Intellisense?

  6. Mc says:

    I have an old XP machine under my desk at work, just to run VS6  still.    As it crashes when opening projects on Windows 7.   We are not allowed VMs here because of potential OS licensing issues.

  7. I have a Windows XP VM on my work laptop with VS6 installed on it, mostly so I can run VB6 sanely.  I gave up trying to get it to play nice with the 64-bit Windows 7 install on the host.  One day I'm going to kill off every bit of VB6 I've been lumbered with – it's my goal in life right now to port it all to C#.  

    You never know, we might be able to get them to upgrade us from Visual Studio 2010 at some point as well.  Although getting our main product moved from .NET 3.5 is going to take a lot of effort (might be able to move to .NET 4, but 4.5 will be out).

  8. alegr1 says:


    Microsoft gives you a licence to run XP VM on a legit Win7 box.

  9. Gabe says:

    There's a project underway where I work to migrate our main product from VS6 to VS2012. Maybe when it's done there will be a project to migrate from VS2012 to VS2014.

    I believe there may also be one or more VB6 utilities that we ship, but they don't need maintenance so we don't build it. Even if somebody had VB6 installed to build it, I'm not even sure it would work.

  10. @StuckInThePast: VB6 is the last version of Visual Basic that really feels like Visual Basic to me. All the .NET flavors just feel like C# without semicolons.

  11. voo says:

    @Maurits You almost make that sound like it was a bad thing ;-)

  12. Myria says:

    I've been trying to get my team to switch from 2010 to 2013 for a while now with no success so far.  Every time something comes up, from a compiler crash due to using a local type in a lambda to the lack of variable-argument templates I remind the team leads of this.  I've even ported the project to 2013 as a demonstration =/

    Things in 2013 that would have helped us just in the last month alone: using local types in lambdas, variadic templates, unions with members requiring constructors, "explicit operator bool()", "= delete", "= default", __vectorcall, "enum class" (native version).

    I just wish Visual Studio 2015 (2014?) would add variable-sized stack arrays as in the optional C++14 feature.  I've been wanting these since Visual Studio 1998, and GCC has had them since back then.  I mean directly, not alloca().

  13. 12BitSlab says:

    I am stuck on 2010 — by choice.  My eyes are VERY old and they can't deal with the appearance of the 2012 and forward versions.  Same with IE11.  I can barely see the thumb in the scrollbar since it is so close in color to the background.

  14. Azarien says:

    Given that C++/CLI is unusable in VS10, 9 (aka 2008) is the new 6 for me.

    Except that I've never really used VS6, or anything older than 2005.

  15. CppCoder says:

    @12BitSlab: From a GUI-looking point of view, I think VS2005 and 2008 were the best. Unfortunately they destroyed the IDE's look starting from VS2012. Too bad that in VS2013 we have a much better C++ compiler than VC2010, but in a really bad-looking IDE.

  16. mfah says:

    2013 is actually a reasonably good-looking IDE; 2012 was the ugly one, but changes made and defaults tweaked in 2013 restore a great deal of sanity.

  17. Spikey says:

    I'm still working on a small number of somewhat large VB6 applications that interface with VMS (chalk that one up to financial industry inertia). Managed to get the IDE running pretty stably on my Windows 7 machine, even managed to migrate some of the dinosaurs to Windows 7 while I was at it too.

  18. voo says:

    @CppCoder: Looks are always subjective, personally I find the dark theme in 2013 leagues better than the alternatives.  In any case there've been definitely objective improvements in the usability of the IDE – things like finally being able to resize the options dialog (about time) or moving window panes around.

  19. A regular viewer says:

    Glad to see VB6 still has its supporters. Count me in. I don't have a VM, but a separate worksation running XP that's used for a bunch of internal VB app development. Yes, development, not just maintenance. It's still my go-to IDE/language for one-off jobs. We are three of us and the larger team just laugh us off, until the "JOB DONE" email hits management's inboxes.

  20. cheong00 says:

    @A regular viewer: Btw, since we already see Microsoft "not installing" 32-bit subsystem by default on servers, I think it's just a matter of time to see them doing so in client OSs.

    When 32-bit subsystem is removed, VB6 would be dead.

  21. A regular viewer says:

    @cheong00, acutely aware of the situation. Our main business is not tech. Programming/coding is 100% for internal consumption. So toolkits are entirely skills and comfort dependent and not distribution focused. The newer team has its own preferences. One girl has even setup an HTML/JavaScript environment as her toolkit. Over the next few months, we are aiming to consolidate on PowerShell for scripting. As to app development, no consensus on platform. Talk of going ALL WEB is high though. We'll cross that bridge when we get there!

  22. Neil says:

    @Mc: To clarify what alegra1 said, Windows XP Mode is (or was; since XP is no longer supported it may not be available any more) a free download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate.

  23. Neil says:

    Firefox 2 and its predecessors such as Netscape 6 were built using VC6 for about 7 years. Firefox 3 switched to VC8 for about 5 years. Firefox 13 switched to VC10 only 2 years ago. There are two main sources of push to switch to newer versions, first that it's easier to access graphic acceleration on newer versions of Windows with newer compilers and second that there are newer C++ features such as enum classes.

    Note that the intermediate compilers could also be used on certain ranges of versions, for instance VC7.1 could compile both Firefox 2 and Firefox 3. I once made a list of all the VC7.1 features/VC6 bugs needed to compile Firefox 3, it came to about 28.

  24. Boris says:

    I use the latest supported RTM+ version of whatever I can, since older versions make me feel… well, not in the here-and-now. Of course, since upgrading to Windows 8 would place a medium-sized burden on our IT department (in terms of reinstalling certain applications for me without a business reason), I'm still at Windows 7, but with IE11, Office 2013, Visual Studio 2012 (the switch to 2013 is coming soon).

    So while I respect the limitations imposed by licensing, stability or the economics of rewriting a LOT of code, I'd never voluntarily decide that an older version is better and work around any leaks as long as I can. If the software is growing worse with newer versions, then it's time to switch to different software which is likewise new and supported, and not remain stuck in the past.

  25. Azarien says:

    @cheong00: i think it'll be looong before they cut out the 32-bit subsystem.

    Not feasible in the foreseeable future.

    But perhaps the days or 32-bit x86 *version of Windows* are counted.

  26. Dave says:

    I maintain a widely-used OSS app, and I've always joked (based on user feedback) that Microsoft has two mainstream versions of VC++, VC6 and VC$(year).  Every time I ask about retiring the VC6 profile I get a chorus of requests to keep it alive, including ones from users at multinational corporations.

    The reason why so many people still use VC6 is that it's so much, much faster than its most recent successors, and doesn't get in the way of writing and debugging code as much as newer versions do.  I can launch VC6, build the code, and be stepping into the debugger while VS 2010 is still laboriously grinding through whatever it does when it starts that takes ages to do, and then have to deal with clicking windows out of the way and getting rid of other annoyances that were added post-VC6.

  27. alegr1 says:

    I remember running VC6 on a 64 MB Windows 98(SE) box, and it was fast.

  28. Miles Archer says:

    VCC 2010 team must have been using base 6.

  29. Boris says:

    Ken: my development machine is 64-bit and I didn't specially ask for it. My home MacBook Pro from 2009 is also 64-bit. If I were to buy a new machine, I don't see why it wouldn't be 64-bit.

  30. Joel says:

    Boris: I suspect he means thirdparty software, not the OS itself.

  31. Boris says:

    Joel: you're right; I was talking about the OS/hardware, while 64-bit desktop applications are far from universal on my machines.

  32. Ken Hagan says:

    "When 32-bit subsystem is removed, VB6 would be dead."

    Given the amount of time Raymond spends on this blog talking about legacy crud and the heroic efforts to support it, I'd say that when the 32-bit subsystem is removed from the client editions of the OS *Windows* would be dead. Outside of server-land, almost nothing is 64-bit.

    It took them 15 years to remove the 16-bit subsystem and back in '95 nearly all vendors were actually willing to port their offerings to 32-bit. I see no such willingness to port 32-bit to 64-bit, so I reckon it will take even longer before it is (commercially) safe to drop 32-bit.

  33. Jon says:

    I thought the "10 is the new 6" slogan was recognition that the IDE had regressed after VC++ 6.0, when it became Visual Studio and supported many languages. It became much slower and clunkier. It would hang/crash/pause for minutes. Useful features were removed, such as modifying the toolbar using drag and drop.

    Of course, 10 was not the new 6. Neither was VS 2012 and neither is VS 2013. They're improving, but still exhibit many of these issues. Here's hoping each new version improves until we reach parity (though it saddens me that this is a lofty goal).

  34. Joe says:

    Except 10 wasn't the new 6, not by a long shot. VC++ 6 was lean and fast. Yes, it was missing a whole lot features, many of which were solved by Visual Assist. Conversely Visual Studio 2010 is bloated and slow–I still used it quite a bit and there was a lot to like about it (and VS 2012 & 2013), but if being the new 6 was the criteria, it was a total fail.

  35. immibis says:

    Most software is bloated and slow when you compare it to the version from 1998.

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