What makes MS VB so strong isn't the language itself, it's the environment and support. While VB is a terrible language, it has an amazing IDE, probably the best on the market. If you separate the IDE from the language, it's an excellent tool. The IDE integrates form design, object browsing, code structuring, database integration, Web integration, and anything else you want it to include. Had VB instead been VPython, it would have been a nearly perfect tool.
The second piece of MS VB that makes it so powerful is its Windows support. With direct ties into ADO, MTS, and COM+, for internal projects, there is usually no need for anything written in C or C++. Everything from soup to nuts can be built inside of VB, including the middleware, database, and front end, whether that front end is Windows- or Web-based. This is very appealing to companies large and small because they are only buying one tool for an entire job, as opposed to one tool for middleware, one for the front end, and one for the database.
The problem with emulating VB is the technology VB is based on, COM and Windows. All of its components are Windows-based. To bring a VB app over to Linux, you would have to bring COM, ADO, MTS, and DCOM, not to mention all of the third party components that are used in VB apps. Getting it to work effectively in Linux is just not worth it.
There are several alternatives that already exist and have great IDEs. Java is my personal favorite. It's an industry standard that has been adopted by the largest companies in the world. While it's not as easy to learn as VB, it's more powerful. If ease of use is the issue, make an IDE for Python. It's as easy as VB to learn, and a much better core language.
While VB is a good language for learning, it is NOT a good language for production work. We shouldn't make the same mistakes as Windows, nor should we try to beat Windows by becoming the same beast that Windows is. We should innovate and create better technologies, not just copies of the poor original.
Why do I have these opinions? I worked in VB on Windows for four and a half years. About a year ago, I was brought to Linux and I switched from VB to Java. Since then, I have never looked back. Creating VB on Linux is a bad idea. There are simply too many problems with it, and there are already great alternatives.
Marc Boorshtein (email@example.com) is a sophomore at Western New England College in Springfield, MA, majoring in Computer Science. He began working in VB five and a half years ago, starting with VB 3. He worked in the MIS department at Process Software in Framingham, MA during the summer of his senior year, and as a consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers last summer. He has been using Linux for about a year and has since stopped using VB in favor of Java. He is currently running an Open Source project called the Internet Document and Report Server (http://idrs.sourceforge.net/), which merges a tag-based system for accessing databases in Web pages and external Java components to build powerful data-driven Web sites. The next release will also include scripting support for both the JPython and BeanShell languages.