I've recently been getting into the JetBrains ecosystem, thanks to having a work license for Rider and PyCharm, and I love how it seems to be all encompassing without taking as long to load as my previous Visual Studio setup (the old 2015 education edition).

As a consequence, for my home coding work (open source) I was looking for something similar that wouldn't be too costly (ideally gratis).

The features I would ideally like to see are:

  • Can load MSVC solutions and CMake lists for project control and migration
  • Has support for calling MSBuild
  • Interfaces with Unix style makefiles (MINGW/MSYS2)
  • Some degree of code completion, but not essential, just logic checking

I have had experience with the IDEA fork Consulo (https://github.com/consulo/) - but I've struggled with using it for the aforementioned project migration. I'd be keen to learn what is out there that I may not have picked up on, as I'd like to break away MSVC for coding and move towards using the compiler separately if need be.

2 Answers 2


Code::Blocks is a free, gratis & open source, C,C++ & Fortran IDE that:

  • Supports multiple compilers, (including Microsoft & GNU ones),
  • Is small and light, quick to start (the current installer is <37 MB)
  • Can works with make and can import MSVC Solution files (& VS Project Files)
  • Has code completion & Syntax Highlighting
  • Has a plugin architecture
  • Is available for Window, OS-X & Linux

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I believe that Geany will fit your needs, either out of the box, with plugins, or just custom configuration for the various build/compile/execute options and controls (via template or simply file type, per project or globally).

Both free and Free, cross platform (Linux, OS X, Windows), syntax highlighting and code completion for LOTS of languages, project support, and very light weight - I use it as my general text editor on my Linux desktops at home and work.

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