In recent years, we’ve seen Microsoft take steps to embrace the open source movement, and it seems that this effort is set to continue. The company has now announced plans to make its Powershell framework for task automation and scripting open source.
Microsoft has made alpha builds of PowerShell available for Mac and Linux systems via the framework’s new GitHub page. The version for Linux is compatible with the Ubuntu, Centos, and Redhat variants of the operating system, according to a report from MacWorld.
The news that PowerShell was going open source broke on Thursday, but this development comes as a result of Microsoft’s efforts to expand beyond the PC spanning a matter of years. First, the .NET platform had to be ported to Linux, which laid groundwork that has now facilitated a port of PowerShell.
There are some limitations to the Linux and Mac OS X versions of PowerShell. Certain cmdlets that use Windows-exclusive features won’t be available on these platforms, and pre-existing scripts that were intended to run on a Windows PC may have to be modified for compatibility with other operating systems.
Still, this is an important move on Microsoft’s part, and one that could offer great benefits to a wide range of users. Anyone that already has experience working with PowerShell can now put their abilities to use on two more major operating systems, whereas Linux and Mac users now have access to a powerful tool — something that technical fellow Jeffrey Snover refers to as being “a long time coming.”
“We are in the beginning stages and in learning mode,” wrote Snover in a Microsoft Azure blog post. “The initial release is an ‘alpha’ and is community supported. In the future, we will deliver an official Microsoft released version of PowerShell based on open source to anyone running a supported version of Windows or *nix.”