​Microsoft PowerShell now available on Linux as an Ubuntu snap

PowerShell, the Windows shell language, is now available on Linux as an Ubuntu Snap! Believe it!
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
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Oh, how things change!

Windows and Linux used to mix well as oil and water. In recent years, Microsoft has embraced Linux. That's especially true for servers and clouds. Now, believe it or not, you can install and run PowerShell, the Windows shell language, on Linux as an Ubuntu snap.

Snaps are containerised software packages. They're designed to install the programs within them on all major Linux systems without modification. Snaps do this by developers bundling a program's latest libraries in the containerized app. So, for example, using snap, you could install PowerShell Core on Fedora or openSUSE as well as Canonical's Ubuntu.

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The newly open-sourced PowerShell Core has been available on Linux, macOS, and Windows since January. It's not easily available on Linux distributions since delivering applications via the old-fashioned ways of rpm and deb app packaging isn't easy.

PowerShell Core is built on the .NET Framework. It's a task-based command-line shell and scripting language, Microsoft hopes it will become the ubiquitous language for managing hybrid cloud. It's customized for system administrators and power-users to rapidly automate the administration of multiple operating systems and the processes related to the applications that run on those operating systems.

Interestingly, this puts into competition with Bash, the most popular Linux shell language, which is also now being used for cloud management. Microsoft has put Linux within Windows with Windows Subsystem for Linux. In practice, PowerShell still works best for Windows Server, while Bash is the No. 1 shell for Linux servers.

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Besides using snap, Microsoft PowerShell project manager Joey Aiello said Microsoft will also support rpm and deb and "continue to support our 'traditional' standalone Linux packages that ship on https://packages.microsoft.com/."

That said, snap PowerShell, because it updates automatically and carries all its library dependencies, is a better choice for sysadmins who want ease of deployment and to stay on top of the latest developments.

Microsoft has also published PowerShell Preview for anyone brave enough to run the bleeding edge version. PowerShell Preview is published as a separate snap, so you can run the stable and preview releases side by side.

Read also: Linux and Open Source - TechRepublic

Want to try it? Install the snap service on one of the supported Linux distributions, which includes Arch, Debian, and Linux Mint. Then run the following command from your Linux shell:

$ snap install powershell -classic

And, if you want to live on the wild side of system administration, you can install the preview with the command:

$ snap install powershell-preview -classic

Let me know how it works for you.

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