PowerShell Core 6.0 is now generally available, following the release candidate that Microsoft let loose in November 2017.
The open-source tool, separate from the edition of PowerShell that ships with Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system, is available for Mac, Linux and, of course, Windows. PowerShell Core 6.0 represents a major change in direction for a command line and task automation technology has that been traditionally associated with managing Windows environments, according to Microsoft's Jeffery Snover, inventor of PowerShell.
In October 2017, during the SpiceWorld conference in Austin, Texas, Snover told eWEEK that PowerShell Core 6.0—then simply known as PowerShell 6.0—had a new, more ambitious and platform-agnostic mission.
PowerShell's "new mission is to be the tool that unifies companies to be able to manage everything," he said. "So we don't want to have companies that have Windows teams and Linux teams. We want to have companies that have management teams, and they use a common tool, PowerShell, to be able to manage Windows and Linux, whether it's running in Azure, AWS [Amazon Web Services] or Google."
Now, IT administrators and developers can gauge for themselves how well PowerShell Core 6.0 meets those lofty aims with the tool's official release.
On Windows desktop PCs, PowerShell Core 6.0 is supported on Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. On the server front, it supports Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012 R2 and 2016, along with the operating system's new semiannual releases.
Mirroring the twice-yearly release cadence Microsoft has adopted for major Windows 10 and Office updates, Microsoft announced in June 2017 that Windows Server would follow a similar trajectory. For example, the Windows Server version 1709 (a version number that reflects the ninth month of 2017) semiannual release was launched during the company's Ignite conference in September 2017.
And users won't have to worry about conflicts with the Windows edition of PowerShell, said Microsoft Program Manager Joey Aiello in a Jan. 10 announcement. Both versions can run side-by-side.
"In fact, an awesome feature of PowerShell Core is that you can test new versions without affecting existing workloads," stated Aiello. "Whether it's installed via an MSI [Windows Installer file] or installed portably from the ZIP package, your Windows PowerShell installation is not affected by PowerShell Core."
Microsoft also has an experimental and unsupported version of PowerShell Core for Windows on ARM devices, Aiello said, just in time for users who plan on picking up a new ARM-powered Windows 10 Always Connected PC. (Windows historically ran on x86 processors with the exception of unofficial builds and other outliers like the ill-fated Windows RT release.)
Mac users will need a MacBook Pro or other machine running macOS 10.12 or above. Linux users have plenty of options, including CentOS 7, Debian (8.7 and 9), Fedora (25 and 26), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Ubuntu (14.04, 16.04 and 17.04). PowerShell Core 6.0 is also available for the Stretch version of the Raspbian operating system for Raspberry Pi, albeit as unsupported software.
More information, including an extensive FAQ, is available here.