Last month I wrote about MSH (“Monad”), Microsoft's new command shell, and demonstrated
the software on my blog. The column-plus-demo drew favorable reactions
not only from the Windows crowd, but also from Unix/Linux folk who saw
the MSH object pipeline as a genuine innovation. They're right.
As Windows steadily evolves into a family of products that
integrates by means of managed objects, all sorts of benefits accrue.
Interfaces are easier to discover. Composite applications come together
more quickly and, thanks to modern exception handling, behave more
reliably. The chasm that separates command-line oriented applications
from graphical applications becomes easier to cross.
All this adds up to an imminent challenge to Unix/Linux. In
that ecosystem, Java is the logical counterpart to .Net in the Windows
world. Despite its huge head start, though, Java has done surprisingly
little to rationalize basic system management and integration in the
Unix/Linux realm. It's understandable, if regrettable, that Linux and
Java have never intertwined as intimately as they might have done. For
all its potential value, the union would have had to overcome deep
divisions. On the technical front, Java's object-oriented purity can
seem to float above the gritty realities of the C and C++ trenches. And
on the cultural front, Sun's ownership of Java conflicts with Linux's
open source purity.
Why, though, hasn't Sun done more to bring these worlds
together? With its strategic stake in Java on the one hand and both
Solaris and Linux on the other, you'd think it would make sense to
combine these technologies in more than just a rhetorical way.
The wild card here, by the way, is Novell. With Suse and
Ximian under one roof, it's at least conceivable that Microsoft's
Windows strategy could play out on Linux in terms of Mono, the open
source implementation of .Net. That's an incredible long shot, of
course, but the synergies are worth pondering. [Full story at InfoWorld.com]