Wind turbines on the mountain

VSCodium Icon from VSCodium GitHub licensed under MIT, Screenshot of Editor and App running on Android
VSCodium Icon from VSCodium GitHub licensed under MIT, Screenshot of Editor and App running on Android

Proprietary telemetry enabled license or Open Source?

I don't like proprietary licenses containing telemetary so I have always eschewed VSCode.

Turns out that the vscode source code is open source, but the product built and packaged for download by the vendor is licensed differently, and contains telemetry/tracking. You can, perfecly legitimately, clone and build the source, covered by the OSI approved MIT license.

Compliling the open source is a distraction for most people. Someone must have thought about that already — and they have!

Enter VSCodium — A community-driven, freely-licensed binary distribution of VSCode

There is an open alternative to the Visual Studio Marketplace too - The Open VSX Registry - which offers a community driven, fully open platform for publishing VS Code extensions. The Registry is built on Eclipse Open VSX, which is an open source project hosted at the Eclipse Foundation which proclaims the benefits of being a trusted Vendor-neutral, open source operation with governance.

Telemetry/tracking

Some tracking will probably still be enabled, and each extention you install is another vector for additional tracking to be added to your envronment. There are notes in the project documentation that explain how you can search for these things and try to disable or remove them.

The VSCodium project replaces the vendors update services with their own, and Extension update requests are sent to the Open VSX registry rather than the vendors extension marketplace.

Proprietary tools and extensions

Some extensions, notably from the vendor, have license restrictions which prevent their use other than with the vendor product, but again these can be replaced with open source equivalents. Others will not work with VSCodium, but most will 'just work', including Flutter!

Flutter and VSCodium

Installing Flutter support in VSCodium

Follow the Set up an editor instructions for VS Code.

  • Start VSCodium.
  • Choose Command Palette from the View menu.
  • Type "install" and select Extentions: Install Extensions from the dropdown list box.
  • Type "flutter" in the extensions search field, select Flutter in the list and click Install —This also installs the required Dart language plugin.
  • Choose Command Palette again from the View menu.
  • Type "doctor" and select Flutter: Run Flutter Doctor from the dropdown list box.
  • Check Flutter in the output pane for issues and address them as required.
  • Restart VSCodium and check that a running simulator or a connected physical device is visible in the status bar.

Editing, running and debugging your code

The Flutter extention analyses code and enables syntax highlighting, code completion, navigating to type declarations and finding type usages. It has an easy to use Problems menu item from the view menu which presents a line by line analysis of problems found.

You can debug using Flutter DevTools as well as using the built in debugging in VSCodium. The screenshot shows a running app with visible baselines after the button in VSCodium was set to enable them.

Stateful Hot Reload is supported by VSCodium. See Using hot reload for details.

Screenshots of VSCodium building and running a Flutter App
VSCodium on macOS, connected to an Android device
Flutter project with tje Flutter DevTools open - screenshot
A Flutter project with the Flutter DevTools open
Flutter Android app with visible baselines - screenshot
Flutter based Android app with visible baseline

See also:

Flutter — Installation and setup

Flutter — DevTools