It's official: Microsoft updates Visual Studio Code to run on Raspberry Pi OS

Also: Accessibility improvements and cosmetic tweaks included

A new version of Visual Studio Code has arrived just in time for Chocolate Egg Day featuring "official support for Raspberry Pi OS", which might come as a surprise to those who have spent the last month or so complaining about it.

In this case "official" appears to mean that Microsoft has added some Pi-specific instructions on how to get the code wrangler up and running on the diminutive computer under Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian). In this case a simple sudo apt install code should do the trick after the usual sudo apt update.

The code, in 32-bit and 64-bit variants, had already turned up in the Raspberry Pi OS APT repository a few weeks ago and generated a fair bit of controversy as some users worried about open source and transparency as Microsoft-signed keys turned up.

Others were just happy to see the arrival of Visual Studio Code, although it can be a bit of a beast on the memory front (we're not sure we'd want to use it on a Pi without plenty of RAM).

As for the new version of VS Code itself (1.55), accessibility is the name of the game with initial screen reader support for multiple cursors. The number of lines that can be announced by screen reader has also been bumped from 100 to 1,000 (and plans are afoot to remove the limit entirely).

Raspberry Pi 4 8GB (pic: Raspberry Pi Foundation)

Raspberry Pi Foundation boss waves off listing rumours, says biz discussions may have been 'over-interpreted'


Other changes include support for defined profiles in the terminal, handy for firing up a non-default shell. The WebGL renderer is now the default (having first turned up in experimental form towards the end of 2019), and Start Debugging and Stop on Entry for the JavaScript debugger has made a welcome return.

Mac users obsessing over cosmetics will be delighted to see icons better suited to Apple's Big Sur OS update.

Finally, some extra APIs have been added to allow extensions to check if a user had used the CLI flag --disable-telemetry to disable telemetry. Additional properties have been added to the env object of the extension API and onDidChangeTelemetryEnabled now fires any time isTelemetryEnabled. ®

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021