Visual Studio Code vs. Code OSS | What You Should Know

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 25 Feb 2023    📁 TECH

There are many things that you may believe are not true, such as claiming that Visual Studio Code is an open-source project and that it is available on Github, and there are many other sources of conflict that I hope to address in this article. In this article, I will remove your doubts by discussing Code-OSS and Visual Studio Code.

Code - OSS

Code-OSS is an abbreviation for Code-Open Source Software. Code-OSS is the core layer of VS Code (which we mostly use as a code editor), and it is an open-source project. This Core Source Code is available in a repository that is open to the public under the standard MIT License. So, we can say Code-OSS is a community compiled version of VS CODE.

Some of the important features not available in Code-OSS is Telemetry System. There will be no copy-right issues if you use the Code-OSS core to create your own code editor. Core Code of Code-OSS is present in this repository. You can visit this page to get more info about the Code-OSS.

github link to vscode
fig. Github link to Code-OSS (ie vscode) Repository

According to Microsoft Related to CODE-OSS:

"This repository ("Code - OSS") is where we (Microsoft) develop the Visual Studio Code product together with the community. Not only do we work on code and issues here, but we also publish our roadmap, monthly iteration plans, and our endgame plans. This source code is available to everyone under the standard MIT license."(source)

Note that the Code-OSS repository is also called a vscode repository.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (Vs Code) is the distribution of Code-OSS with Microsoft-specific customizations distributed under a proprietary Microsoft License. Actually, the Visual Studio Code that we use is not entirely open-source; its source code is not available on Github. As a result, Visual Studio Code is said to be built on an open-source project (Code-OSS).

visual studio code product download page
fig. visual studio code product download page


We used to believe that an open-source product was a complete package. It includes extra source code and extensions. Many things are not included in OSS. One of the important systems that VSCode has is Telemetry System.

Microsoft employs this Code-OSS Core in the development of the Visual Studio product like Visual studio code. Visual Studio Code is Microsoft's Code-OSS License distribution.

You can get Visual Studio Licensing Condition here.

Not only Microsoft, but many other companies are doing the same thing when developing their products. They created their own custom license terms and built the product on top of an open-sourced codebase. For example,

  • Chrome is based on the open-source Chromium.
  • Oracle JDK is based on OpenJDK.
  • Xamarin Studio is based on Mono.
  • JetBrains products are built on top of the IntelliJ platform.

If you believe Microsoft is spying on you, you can use VSCodium, a completely free open-source editor. And nobody will track you and your code, nobody will collect your user and usage data which might collect by Microsoft because VS Code is their product.

What is VSCodium? 

Ans: VSCodium is open source software binaries of VSCode.You can install it and run it as an open-source editor.

What does Microsoft Do and What you can do with Code-OSS?

Microsoft Visual Studio Code is built by cloning the VSCode Repository. They lay down customized product.json with Microsoft customizations functionality such as Telemetry, Gallery, and Logo and they built a product called Visual Studio Code under their own Microsoft License.

You can also clone the VSCode Repo (or code-OSS) and configure it in the default product.json, just like Microsoft did, and create a clean product that you can distribute under your own license.

Also Read: What is the .vs folder in visual studio? Can I delete it?

Code-OSS vs Visual Studio Code in Tabular Format

Here are some noticeable differences between Code-OSS and Visual Studio Code:

Code-OSS Visual Studio Code
Code OSS is open source product. Visual Studio Code is built on Open Source. Visual Studio Code uses an open-source product called Code-OSS Core.
Code-OSS source code can be found in Github. Visual Studio Code is not available in Github.
Code-OSS is under MIT License. Visual Studio Code is a product under Microsoft License.
You can download Code-OSS and create your open Code Editor under your own license. There is no code available for Visual Studio Code so you cannot do anything with this product. You can just use it.
You can build it from the source but it is difficult. For using Visual Studio Code, you just have to download the exe file and install it and use it.
When you run from source then you are not tracked by anyone and your data usage are also not track Visual Studio Code might track you and your usage data using Telemetry System.As mentioned in Vs Code Official License Agreement and Policy Agreement.
Code OSS is based on Visual Studio Code but is more flexible and configurable.But not design for optimize as of Visual Studio Code. Visual Studio Code is well-known for its quick startup time and general responsiveness.
Comparatively it receives less updates. Visual studio Code receives more updates than Code OSS because VSCode has larger user base.
Comparatively it is more customizeable. It is less customizable as compare to Code OSS.


Visual Studio Code and Code OSS are stable editors. Both tools receive bug fixes and new features regularly. Due to its performance focus and big user base, Visual Studio Code may be more stable due to more testing and bug reporting in various phase.

Visual Studio Code or Code OSS may depend on personal taste and your development project. Both tools are fast and stable.