free compiler with MFC?

Is there a free C++ compiler available on the internet which I can use to compile windows programs that use MFC?  Or does using MFC require using a Microsoft compiler?  Is there a licensing issue here?  Does Microsoft offer the MFC libraries as free to use, or do you buy a license to use MFC in your apps when you buy a license to MS VC++?
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MFC basically is source-code to encapsulate the win32-API and make it faster to get your projects running. The MFC-src and -header files are shipped with ms vc++; I can't help you on the question whether a licence is needed to use those files.

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I checked your provided link... No information there as to whether it comes with MFC sources or at least headers/libs to be able to link dynamically/statically. Do you know?
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I worked with the commercial verison of Watcom C++ until Ver. 11.0. They included MFC sources & libraries, and you could compile the MFC samples that come from microsoft.
However, since you can't import a VC++ project, and there's no MFC wizards there's a lot of manual work involved when writing a decent MFC app with Watcom.
Hey ris,
   I take your question asking for a free compiler as an indication that you're starting to do programming. If I'm right, you'll have a really hard time getting to use MFC without any wizards. I'd even go as far as saying that openwatcom is of no help to you, unless you have a thorough understanding of all the MFC-macros and basic win32-programming.
risAuthor Commented:
I thought I had posted a clarification to my question yesterday, but I guess it didn't go through, so to try again...

I am familiar with windows programming using MFC - but ONLY using MFC (I have read about raw win32 API programming without MFC but never done any).  I do some small degree of windows app development and control panel type stuff for the software company I work for, but mostly they have me doing low level programming for things like device drivers.

I'd like to start writing some windows apps at home in my spare time (i.e. shareware) but I don't have a compiler, and I'd rather not buy one if I can help it, which is why I asked about this.

Floyd ~ I see what you are saying about the wizards being so useful - I completely agree.  I think I have enough experience with MFC though to get by without the wizards.  I could even make my own template files just like the microsoft appwizard templates if I want.  And there's the MSDN online reference at if I need it.

I think the visual resource editor is actually what I would miss the most.  I assume that Open Watcom can at least compile resource scripts (.rc files) since those are so common in C++ programs.  It doesn't also have a visual resource editor does it?  Does anyone know of a free visual resource editor I could pick up somewhere?  I've seen plenty of code editors around and I have a few of those, but none of them have visual resource editors for friendly dialog creation, and I'm not very familiar with the syntax of a resource script to do it manually...
risAuthor Commented:
Open Watcom looks like just what I was looking for.  Thank you very much.

I'm still wondering about a free visual resource editor... are there any?

Would anyone like to comment on their favorite free code text editor with syntax highlighting and search-across-files?  I have a few of these but there are so many...
no problem, ris, just wanted to make sure that you're not accepting an answer that you will find out didn't help you in the future.
Two more notes on MFC though:
* You say that there is the MSDN online reference. While that is true I wouldn't count on finding MFC-resources there in the future. The MFC-documentation has been officially put down by MS about 2 years ago.
* Like I stated before I doubt that anyone can safely use MFC without knowing raw-win32-coding. Especially when it comes to more advanced GDI functions you are likely to get lost using a black box without knowing what's going on inside.
risAuthor Commented:
Floyd ~ This is straying from the topic, but when you say that "The MFC-documentation has been officially put down by MS" what does that mean?  Do you mean just the online version of the documentation is no longer maintained?  I don't understand how MS could maintain a code library as vast and complex as MFC without maintaining documentation for it, especially considering how much they push its use on everyone.  Could you elaborate on that statement, or post a link to the "official" microsoft statement on the subject, because I'm a bit confused by it...
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