GitHub Copilot available for Visual Studio 2022

GitHub Copilot available for Visual Studio 2022

AI-driven coding assistant, still in technical preview, has raised questions about the fairness, legitimacy, and legality of its use of freely licensed software.

Credit: Dreamstime

GitHub Copilot, a controversial AI-based coding assistant launched by GitHub and OpenAI last year, is now available for Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2022 IDE, albeit while the AI assistant is still in a technical preview stage.

In a bulletin published March 29, GitHub said interested Visual Studio users must sign up for the waitlist to get the technical preview before installing the Visual Studio 2022 extension. Spaces are limited. After receiving an email confirming access, developers should open “Extensions -> Manage Extensions” in Visual Studio and search for GitHub Copilot.

Described as an “AI pair programmer,” GitHub Copilot automatically suggests code it thinks developers might want as they type. Developers can accept or ignore the suggestions. The tool is powered by the OpenAI Codex AI system, trained on publicly available source code and natural language.

GitHub Copilot has drawn protests from the Free Software Foundation (FSF), which questioned whether training its model on public source code repositories represented copyright infringement and whether it violated any GPL-licensed works. 

The FSF also complained that running Copliot requires software that is not free. The organisation last year called for whitepapers on its questions around Copliot and selected five papers to highlight in late-February.

For Visual Studio users, GitHub is seeking feedback on Copilot, particularly pertaining to .NET languages. Users were advised to write unit tests with their favourite frameworks or have Copilot help implement new methods. The more specific the code comments are, the better Copilot can create code that matches a developer’s intentions, GitHub said.

GitHub Copilot also is available as an extension for Neovim, JetBrains, and Visual Studio Code.

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