One of the exciting things about Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn), is the fact that you can deploy it in its most minimal form, known as Server Core. Of course, after reading a bit about this interesting new installation in a recent eWeek article, 'Longhorn' does more with less , all isn't as sweet as I initially thought. The first deal-breaker for me was the fact that .NET isn't included. Admittedly, Microsoft never said .NET would be the core of Windows before, but I still think the future of Windows is going to be .NET (or .NET's successor). It just makes sense. Well, unless you ask the Win32 zealots, of course. Apparently, .NET has so many dependancies, by the time you add them all, you're almost up to the full install Windows install. So, it sounds like .NET will only be in the full install. Ok, if that wasn't bad enough, it gets worse. One thing you should know is that, as I understand it, Server Core only provides a command-line interface. Some will like this, some won't. What does this tell you? PowerShell, right? Yeah, not quite. PowerShell depends on .NET. Granted, you may have seen this coming with the lack of .NET. The lack of these two makes Server Core useless to me. As much as I liked the idea of having a minimal install, I just don't see ever using that.
As Jason Brooks mentions, Server 2008 is a while away from producing the individual software packages you'll find in Linux installs, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. I can see this being further enhanced in 2010 or '11, with the next version of Windows. The future is definitely exciting; especially when you look at how far Windows has come in the past ten years. If you don't think it's come that far, take a look at other operating systems, like Linux distros as a whole, Sun Solaris, and/or Apple Macintosh. None have come even close. Of course, this is my opinion and I'm sure many would argue.
While I'm on the subject of the next version of Windows, I'd have to say that getting .NET into Server Core is a must. Well, maybe not necessarily in Server Core, but at least making it a small package to easily be added without a problem. Perhaps making .NET more modular might be an answer to that. Then again, I can only imagine the headaches that could bring. All I know is the heads better get together and figure out a way around this. I just can't imagine the "next generation" Windows without the "next generation" command-line. Seriously, who thought this one out?