Microsoft is continuing its new trend of releasing selected tools and platforms under permissive open-source licences with the announcement that PowerShell, its command-line interface and scripting system, is now both open-source and cross-platform.

Designed to address inadequacies in the traditional Windows command-line interpreter, in particular when compared with common POSIX-compliant shells in rival operating systems, PowerShell is extremely popular among Windows system administrators. PowerShell - formerly known as Monad - can do impressive things with only one small, but important, caveat: where a Bash script is portable between operating systems, PowerShell scripts are Windows-exclusive. At least, PowerShell scripts were Windows-exclusive - until now.

'I am extremely excited to share that PowerShell is open sourced and available on Linux,' Microsoft's Jeffrey Snover announced late last night. '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. The timing of the official Microsoft version will be based upon community input and business needs. We hope all of you will help us get it right!'

The initial alpha release includes ports to popular Linux distributions as well as Apple's BSD-based macOS platforms. 'Users across Windows and Linux, current and new PowerShell users, even application developers can experience a rich interactive scripting language as well as a heterogeneous automation and configuration management that works well with your existing tools,' boasted Snover, who credited Satya Nadella's leadership with the sea-change in attitude towards porting core technologies to rival platforms at the company. 'Your PowerShell skills are now even more marketable, and your Windows and Linux teams, who may have had to work separately, can now work together more easily.'

The release of Linux and macOS ports of PowerShell follows hot on the heels of the addition of Ubuntu-powered Linux technologies to Windows 10, including the Bash shell.
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