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Microsoft Readies PowerShell Core 6.1 for Release, with Some Caveats

Microsoft recently announced that PowerShell Core 6.1 is expected to hit general availability (GA) at the end of August, but warned that compatibility with some Windows PowerShell modules will arrive later.

Steve Lee, a principal software engineering manager for the PowerShell team, described in last week's announcement the many obstacles the team has encountered in trying to assure the compatibility of PowerShell Core 6.1 with older Windows PowerShell modules. The PowerShell team typically has needed to set up individual projects with other technical groups at Microsoft to make the Windows PowerShell module compatibility happen, he explained.

The back story behind this effort is that Microsoft is deprecating Windows PowerShell in favor of the cross-platform PowerShell Core, which works across various Linux platforms, in addition to Windows. Windows PowerShell development essentially ended with version 5.1 and Windows PowerShell 6.0 never got out of the beta test level. Instead, Microsoft proceeded with plans to favor PowerShell Core. Microsoft subsequently slapped the "PowerShell Core 6.0" label onto this new effort and then released it as a commercial product in January.

In moving ahead with PowerShell Core, the PowerShell team wanted to assure that existing Windows PowerShell scripts would continue to work with the new platform. It's been a bumpy road.

In the announcement, Lee outlined Microsoft's new goals in achieving Windows PowerShell module compatibility:

Our target is to get >65% of the Windows PowerShell in-box modules compatible with PowerShell Core 6.1 within the next Windows 10 release. We'll continue to work with Windows partner teams to get the number of compatible modules closer to 100%.

Some of the Windows PowerShell module compatibility will show up for testers of Windows 10 build 17711, which was released to Windows Insider Program participants last month, Lee indicated. However, when PowerShell Core 6.1 reaches the commercial release stage later this month, some of the module compatibility won't be there, he warned.

"It is important to understand that the Windows PowerShell module porting work won't be complete by the time PowerShell Core 6.1 GA nor when the next version of Windows 10 is released, and we expect to continue this work as needed to eventually get complete coverage," he explained.

PowerShell Core 6.0 is considered to be a success already, with an estimated 3 million startups. It's mostly been a success with Linux users, though, as "approximately 80% of the usage is on Linux," Lee indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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