* Updated 3/31/2015

While this post was originally written in 2009, it still gets a ton of hits!

Today, we have lots of new offerings for developers looking for free tools including Visual Studio Community Edition and updated Visual Studio Express Editions. I've updated the page with relevant links below

Snip from the FAQ on that page:

Q: Who can use Visual Studio Community?            
A: Here’s how individual developers can use Visual Studio Community:

  • Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own free or paid apps.
Here’s how Visual Studio Community can be used in organizations:
  • An unlimited number of users within an organization can use Visual Studio Community for the following scenarios: in a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects.
  • For all other usage scenarios: In non-enterprise organizations, up to 5 users can use Visual Studio Community. In enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or > $1 Million US Dollars in annual revenue), no use is permitted beyond the open source, academic research, and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.


 Visual Studio Express 2013 Editions are also available from http://msdn.com/express


Snip from the Express page

Commercial use of Visual Studio Express
Visual Studio Express products are available at no charge and may be used for commercial, production usage subject to the license terms provided with each product. For example, you can use Express for Windows to create apps that you can then submit for sale in the Windows Store.


 And here's how they talk about Community Edition

Visual Studio Community is a free and full-featured IDE for building apps for Web, Windows Store, Windows Desktop, and even Android and iOS using programming languages including C#, C++, HTML/JavaScript, and Visual Basic. With Community, you can take advantage of out-of-box advanced productivity features such as enhanced code editing, code analysis, debugging, and profiling, and extend that functionality with over 5,000 free and paid extensions in the Visual Studio gallery. Community is the perfect tool for individual developers, students, open source contributors, and small teams.