Orlando (FL) - The command line interface to the Windows Server OS will be changed to the new Monad Shell (MSH), in a phased implementation to take place over the next three to five years. This confirmation comes from Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia in an interview published today by Microsoft.
Today's announcement is the first confirmation from a high-level Microsoft source that Monad--a project launched in summer 2001 by Microsoft software engineer Jeffrey Snover--will serve as the command line and scripting language for future Windows servers.
Presently in Windows Server 2003, another command line interface created by Snover called WMIC serves as the admin's direct link to the core software component responsible for reporting the state of the system, called Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Monad was started as a project to provide a more powerful command line competitive with the BASH shell on Unix and Linux, using ideas gleaned from WMIC, but using the .NET Framework as its core component instead.
windows2 "In terms of simplifying administration and management we have made great progress, but still have much to do," stated Muglia. "For example, we are changing the command line environment in Windows using a new object-oriented command line technology, code-named 'Monad,' that will exceed what has been delivered in Linux and Unix for many years. It will take three to five years to fully develop and deliver."
The language in Muglia's comment offers the first clear indication that WMI may be yet one more component being left behind, as Microsoft moves away from portions of Windows architecture that have historically been vulnerable to malicious attack. Last Monday, at Microsoft's ongoing TechEd conference in Orlando, Microsoft corporate VP for security Gordon Mangione announced that Internet Explorer 7.0--available later this year--will run with reduced security privileges. This means that scripts, by default, will only be able to address objects within the local context of the page.
Reducing scripting privileges may break some existing Web applications, especially intranet apps geared for enterprises. But doing so would also be in line with a strategy to reduce or eliminate malicious exploitation of the WMI component through scripts embedded in Web pages--a capability that reduced privileges would probably shut down.
A Microsoft representative told Tom's Hardware Guide that the WMI component will remain in future versions of Windows, including Windows Server. However, it can be speculated, this may be an option intended to preserve downward compatibility with existing utilities.
Eliminating Web-based scripting to WMI might stir complaints among some developers, unless there were a more capable alternative in the wings--and Monad Shell appears to be that alternative.
In his keynote address to open the TechEd conference on Monday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the impending availability of the next beta for Longhorn, the company's next-generation Windows, due for commercial release in late 2006. Though Ballmer did not specify whether a beta for Longhorn Server was also pending, he did characterize Longhorn's eventual release as the most important for Microsoft since Windows 95.