Microsoft had previously announced that they will be releasing .NET 6 for the public during the .NET Conf, which is a 3-day event between 9th and 11th November 2021. However, they released .NET 6 LTS, the stable version of .NET just a day before they had announced it, alongside Visual Studio 2022.
Every 2 years, Microsoft releases a Long Term Support (LTS) version of .NET, and this year they released .NET 6 LTS with a 3-year support cycle. Between those 2 years, .NET versions that are meant to be supported for a shorter term are also released. You can download .NET 6 LTS using the links given below for your respective operating system. That said, the following operating systems are supported with .NET 6:
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Before the stable version was released, Microsoft had publically released .NET 6 Release Candidate (RC) 1 and Release Candidate 2 whose purpose was to receive feedback from the users and fix any anomalies discovered. Moreover, these early releases also introduced some new features for the first time. Those features, along with many others, have now made their way to the stable .NET 6 LTS version.
Let us continue to see what .NET 6 is all about before you download and install it. Since there are many new features and improvements, we have only discussed a few which we think are of great significance.
What’s new in .NET 6 LTS
Before we dig into the new features of .NET 6, let us inform you about its compatibility and support. To begin, .NET 6 is only stable with Visual Studio 2022, which has been released just alongside .NET 6 LTS. This means that anyone on VS 2019 or older will have to upgrade to version 2022 if they wish to use .NET 6.
Likewise, it will only be compatible with MS Build 17.x, and not with any of its predecessors.
In operating systems, Microsoft states that .NET 6 will be compatible with the following architectures on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 8:
- AMD x64
- Intel x64
- ARM (aarch64)
- IBM Z
- LinuxONE (s390x)
Microsoft also suggests that you upgrade your apps to .NET 6 immediately. Performing the upgrade process from .NET 3.1 and .NET 5 is pretty straightforward. However, if you are already running the apps on a .NET 6 Preview release, then those will automatically upgrade to .NET 6 LTS (stable) once .NET 6 is installed and the system is rebooted.
The Hot Reload feature in .NET 6 allows a developer to make changes to their code while the application is running and see the results on the go. This feature was first introduced in .NET 6 Preview 3. However, Microsoft then later announced that they are planning to drop this feature.
After facing backlash from the developers, Microsoft then later decided to include this feature after all.
Hot Reload is available through both the
dotnet watch CLI tool as well as Visual Studio 2022. You can use this feature with a large variety of application types such as ASP.NET Core, Blazor, .NET MAUI, Console, Windows Forms (WinForms), and others.
Microsoft has updated the underlying platform for .NET 6 so it is easier for the developers to reuse their code across the different platforms, such as web browsers, desktops, cloud, and mobile apps.
New capabilities and improvements are available to all apps at the same time, so that your code running in the cloud or on a mobile device behaves the same way and has the same benefits.Microsoft
The statement by Microsoft above also ensures that future updates to .NET 6 will ensure uniformity in terms of features and improvements across the different platforms.
Significant Performance Improvements
Microsoft has straightaway gloated about the significant performance upgrades in .NET 6. Here are their own words:
There are massive gains in performance, which we’ve seen dropping the cost of hosting cloud services at Microsoft.
Microsoft seems to be proud of what they have achieved thus far in terms of speeds and performance of .NET 6. That said, Microsoft had also published an entire blog post just to illustrate what could be achieved with these performance improvements.
You can learn more about what’s new in .NET 6 LTS in this Microsoft’s announcement.
Download .NET 6 LTS
Use the direct download links below to download the .NET 6 LTS Runtime and SDKs matching your operating system and architecture:
More download and install options here.
Install .NET 6 LTS
You can begin by downloading .NET 6 for your architecture from the links above and then execute it to begin the installation process.
- Run the installation package by double-clicking it (in the case of macOS and Windows), and then clicking Install on the installation wizard.
- The installation will now begin. It does not take much time nor does it require a restart. Click Close once it has been installed successfully.
You have now installed .NET 6. You may check which .NET version is running by typing in the following command in Command Prompt:
wmic product get description | findstr /C:.NET
.NET 6 has been refined over the course of time through more than 1000 volunteers, according to Microsoft. Therefore, it may just be safe to deploy the latest stable .NET version in a production environment as most of the bugs should be already fixed.
.NET 6 introduces a plethora of new features as well as improvements. We believe that you can benefit from these and be an early bird to test them out. Not only that, since it is an LTS release, you may not have to upgrade your .NET version for the next 3 years!