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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (File Photo / Microsoft)

Amazon Web Services and VMware as Microsoft launch partners? You read it right.

As part of its move toward more openness, Microsoft today said its popular and powerful PowerShell command-line scripting language is now open-sourced and available for Linux. Alpha builds and the source code are available from GitHub.

Jeffrey Snover
Jeffrey Snover

“Being open means making customers successful and not worrying so much about making the money,” said Jeffrey Snover, technical fellow and lead architect for Microsoft’s Enterprise Cloud group, in an interview. “It also means strange bedfellows. Our launch partners for PowerShell for Linux are Amazon Web Services and VMware, some pretty nontraditional Microsoft partners.”

Both those companies have ported their cmdlets (modules or plug-ins) so that PowerShell scripts can run on Windows or Linux without modification, Snover said.

PowerShell, formerly known as Monad, is built on Microsoft’s .NET framework and is designed to help IT professionals control the administration of Windows, and now Linux, operating systems and applications that run on them. It’s initially available for Centos, Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux, as well as MacOS X.

The release is part of a major strategy change that began in late 2014  to make Microsoft’s Azure cloud more competitive by significantly increasing the flexibility of the company’s developer technologies. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said repeatedly that “Microsoft loves Linux.”

As part of the porting process, Microsoft created an “editor service” to let PowerShell users choose their editors, though initially only Sublime and VS Code are supported. And the company said it will extend the PowerShell Remoting Protocol to use OpenSSH as a native transport, though SSH and WINRM will also be available.

Thanks to the port, Linux administrators over time will be able to use PowerShell with Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite, which allows viewing and controlling applications in Azure and other, competing clouds, Snover said. But that’s not possible with the alpha version available now.

So what’s the development schedule toward beta and then general release? It’s unclear. “The upside of the community process is great involvement with users and the community,” Snover said. “The downside is the development schedule is less predictable.” He said general availability might occur in the first half of next year.

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