VS Code Configuration

Configuration of VS Code sessions is handled via the config file /etc/rstudio/vscode.conf. Note that this file is not automatically created by RStudio and must be created manually or with the install-vs-code script, as VS Code sessions are disabled by default. The following table lists the various configuration options that are available to be specified in the vscode.conf configuration file:


Config Option Description Default Value
enabled Enables launching of VS Code sessions. 0 (disabled)
exe Path to the code-server executable. VS Code sessions rely on the open source code-server project. For more information, see the project site /opt/code-server/bin/code-server
version The version of VS Code code-server being used. If set to auto, the version is automatically detected by running the code-server version command. If VS Code is being launched via the Launcher and is not installed locally, you are strongly encouraged to set this to the version in use. Running against multiple different code-server versions simultaneously in different Launcher clusters is not supported - they must all be running the same version, or issues will occur. auto
args Arguments to be passed to the code-server launch command. You can supply an –extensions-dir= to point to previously installed extensions via this parameter. If no –host argument is supplied, a default of –host= will be assumed. –host=
session-clusters Comma-delimited list of available Job Launcher clusters for launching VS Code sessions. Leave blank to specify all clusters.
default-session-cluster The default Job Launcher cluster to use when launching a VS Code session.
default-session-container-image The default container image to use when launching a containerized VS Code session.
session-container-images Comma-delimited list of images that may be used for running VS Code sessions.
vscode-session-path Path to the VS Code Session launcher executable/script. It is recommended that you do not change this unless you know what you’re doing, and you need to point to a different script. /usr/lib/rstudio-server/bin/vscode-session-run
session-no-profile Enables/disables running of bash profile scripts when starting VS Code sessions. 0 (run profile scripts)
min-ext-version The minimum version of the RStudio Workbench VS Code extension that should be installed. Varies with each release of RStudio Workbench

For example, your vscode.conf file might look like the following:

# /etc/rstudio/vscode.conf

VS Code code-server Versions

Currently, RStudio Workbench supports code-server 3.9.3 and above; however, code-server version 4.4.0 is recommended in order to enable SSL communication between code-server and RStudio Workbench. Due to differences between code-server versions, RStudio Workbench needs to know the versions of code-server that is in use. It can be automatically detected by RStudio Workbench on start up by running the code-server command, or can be specified by using the version setting in /etc/rstudio/vscode.conf. Automatic version detection is done if the default value of auto is used.

If you are running VS Code in a remote cluster like Kubernetes, you will need to manually specify the version of code-server if it is not locally installed or is not running the same version as the remote cluster. Due to version differences, running against multiple different versions of code-server in different Launcher clusters simultaneously is not supported - the versions must match in all clusters.

You can manually specify the version number like so:

# /etc/rstudio/vscode.conf

VS Code User Settings

By default, code-server writes VS Code user settings under ~/.local/share/code-server. This can be changed by adding the user-data-dir path argument to the VS Code options, like so:

# /etc/rstudio/vscode.conf
args=--host= --verbose
user-data-dir=<desired user path>

Note that the specified in the configuration can contain the ~ to represent the user’s home directory.

Whenever a VS Code session is launched, RStudio automatically merges the user settings template file at /etc/rstudio/vscode-user-settings.json with the user’s settings file. This file should be a valid JSON file that contains desired VS Code user settings. Any matching settings that already exist in the user settings file are not overridden, allowing users the freedom to customize their environment. You should use the vscode-user-settings.json file to provide them with a simple baseline configuration.

If you installed VS Code via the sudo rstudio-server install-vs-code command, a simple template is created for you automatically which instructs VS Code to use the bash shell by default and to disable automatic extension updates. The generated file looks like the following:


      "": "/bin/bash",
      "extensions.autoUpdate": false,
      "extensions.autoCheckUpdates": false

Launcher Configuration

When creating containerized VS Code sessions via the Job Launcher, you will need to specify mount points as appropriate to mount the users’ home drives and any other desired paths. In order for sessions to run properly within containers, it is required to mount the home directories into the containers.

For more information, see Launcher Mounts. Note that you can specify the Workbench with VS Code to configure mount entries that should only be mounted for VS Code sessions.


Only a user’s home folder is visible within VS Code sessions. To access other folders, create symbolic links to them within the home folder.

Container Configuration

When running VS Code sessions in containers, such as by using the Kubernetes Job Launcher plugin, you will need to ensure that the image(s) used to launch VS Code sessions contain, at minimum, the following:

  1. code-server 3.9.3 binary
  2. RStudio Workbench session binaries
  3. If creating container users (see Server Configuration), you must have the libuser1-dev or libuser-devel packages, depending on your platform to install the libuser library and development tools.

For ease of use, it is recommended that you use the r-session-complete Docker image as a base for any VS Code session images you intend to create.