Sunday, October 28, 2007

What High Coupling hath Wrought

A long time ago, I wrote a blog entry about the high price of coupling as it pertains to Internet Explorer and Windows. In it, I lambast Microsoft for the business decision to tie Internet Explorer so tightly into the underlying operating system. Developers all know that highly coupled systems are bad. And here's a stellar example.

Microsoft is finally going to release a "headless" version (called "server core") of their premiere server operating system (currently called Longhorn Server). Coincidental to this, they have built a new batch language for Windows called Windows Power Shell (nee Monad), which is simply brilliant. They have raised the bar on what a shell language can be. I can't heap enough praise on the coolness of WPS. What a great thing to have just as they are going to release a headless version of the OS.

Only one small problem. They want to make the footprint of the headless version of Windows Server smaller than the footprint of Vista (currently about 8 Gb, and that's just for the OS). The problem is that the headless version won't include .NET 2, because the .NET framework and libraries are coupled to just about every nook and cranny of Windows. If you include .NET 2, you pretty much include all of Windows. And there's the rub: Windows Power Shell is written on top of .NET 2. Which means that this brilliant tool for managing tasks, services, and general scripting of the operating system won't be available for the one system that could benefit from it the most.

I leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions.


Michael Easter said...

Typo alert... (I only point them out if they are in the title. I would email but can't find contact info.)

At first I thought the title was a Gaelic reference (which would have been cool).

Neal Ford said...

Thanks! I spell checked the whole thing...except the title!

James Hubbard said...

They're probably more concerned with using this as the basis of their virtual server. It should be small and lightweight. You don't need much scripting, if you're running everything else in virtual machines.

It's disappointing though. I should read about it. I had read that it was going headless as well, but I didn't read much more than that. After seeing some students with Vista and it's new layout of c:\Users\username\Documents, I thought:
Wow they're finally coming around to making the system make more sense and more compatible with a Unix-like environemnt.

Once again they disappoint. It's a beta for now so maybe they can decouple. Hahahaha...