New Episode of The .NET Show: Longhorn Fundamentals

Just a little bit late, but we've just posted a new episode of “The .NET Show”.

In this episode, we close out the coverage of the “Pillars Of Longhorn” by covering the “Fundamentals”. As a specific topic, this might be a little on the vague side, but that doesn't in any way decrease the importance of dealing with application and system fundamentals as part of our overall Longhorn Objectives.

It might be easy to list off and identify core technologies such as Avalon for Graphics, WinFS for Data Storage, and Indigo for Communications, but the fourth pillar of "Longhorn" is a little more elusive then that. Longhorn "Fundamentals" is an important part of what we feel is part of the core experience of Longhorn. It includes User Experience, System Security, Application Deployment, System Manageability, as well as many other features and capabilities.

We start out with Sanjay Shenoy and Glenn Pittaway covering some of the core architectural concepts associated with several of the Fundamentals of Longhorn. Later, Jeffrey Snover and Jim Truher provide an exciting demo of "Monad" (aka. MSH), a new and highly programmable command shell that will be available in Longhorn.

I for one, and quite interested in the features and capabilities that Monad/MSH represents. Just because graphical interfaces are “cool”, doesn't mean that there is significant value and functionality that can be provided through more of a command oriented interface. Hopefully you'll find this special demonstration to spark your interests as well.

Comments (34)

  1. reflector says:

    longhorn again.. argh,

  2. Wow! says:

    Monad / MSH looks like it will completely rock. I’ve always been so disappointed in the DOS prompt and have hoped for unix-like command and scripting facilities and this looks awesome. Before I started the show I was thinking "man, I hope Longhorn includes will include a better command shell". I didn’t realize it would be this good!

    Robert Björn


  3. Zane says:

    This reminds me of this quote:

    "Those who don’t understand UNIX are doomed to reinvent it, poorly."

    –Henry Spencer

  4. Robert Hess says:


    Ok, I’ll take the bait.

    If you are implying that this "monad" thing is a late implementation of what various *nix implementations have had for years, then I suppose I agree with you. I’ve been writing "console" based applications for almost my entire time at Microsoft which have been doing various levels of deep access to features and capabilities that can often only be accessed at the "command" level. Of course, I’ve also been writing a wide variety of "graphical" applications which provide features and capabilities which can only be accessed from a GUI.

    The thing that really gets me excited about Monad, is that it provides an actively accessible "object" model that allows an application not to just be doing I/O at the "text" level of those other platforms, but be able to dive straight into the actual features and capabilities of the applications themselves.

    Can you provide details that show how other systems provide a similar level of integration?

    -Robert Hess

  5. Zane says:


    So far that the only thing I have heard of that is good about Gonad. It can do IO with objects. Instead of making a shell, they make a program that runs managed code and runs all the objects inside itself. (alarm bells are sounding at that) Microsoft is like the team of folks that planning the bay of pigs invasion. So pleased with how clever they are they wind up with a mess.

    I don’t know of any other environments that call themselves a shell that do that. The scripting languages like perl, ruby and python do it but they don’t call themselves a shell. But now that I think of it there is a perl shell (psh) and so I guess it does do that but not with objects created in other languages, for those it has to use traditional pipes. Passing complex data objects sounds neat, but smells of cruft. We will see if its an improvement or not after a few years of it being in production. If in a few years (what? I guess that would be 2008?) it doesn’t run into weird issues where on object is the wrong version or whatever then I will be less cynical.

    By then I suspect I will have gotten rid of the last applications I need windows servers for and I won’t have to deal with this stuff anyway. 🙂

  6. John Gibbs says:


    The overall vision for all shells is probably something like the following:

    1) Provide an environment to give-input-to and receive-output-from other processess, and

    2) Orchestrate interactions between one process’ output and another’s input.

    The difference with Monad is that it is a much richer approximation of this overall vision than what I’ve seen in the past. It looks great to me and I can’t wait to play with it.

    It seems like you are deriding Microsoft for coming up with a better approximation of an old vision. Does that really make sense? I mean progress must be made.

    Perhaps you think that no real progress is being made with Monad. Fair enough. However, if the work being done with Monad really doesn’t interest or impress you, then why put forth the effort to actively criticize it? Why have passionate opinions for something you have no passion for? Live and let live.

  7. Zane says:


    First I mentioned this famous quote "Those who don’t understand UNIX are doomed to reinvent it, poorly." because it really looks like they are messing up with this "shell".

    I am disappointed. The shells power and flexability come from its simplicity. They have bolted on a bunch of stuff that looks cool but I suspect will bite people later. My first post was just my way of venting my fustration at yet another "look neeto!" mistake. I know from pain of experiance that if I have the unfortunate fate of supporting microsoft servers in the future (pray no), I will receive in my hands from some developer/vendor a bunch of scripts written for Gonad whos dependancies are difficult to trouble shoot and cause me headaches.

    So then I replied further when someone asked me for more info on why I would say this and now I am doing it again.

    Live and let live? Why have passionate opinions for something I have no passion for? I lead a small team that both develops software for internal use and support nearly 150 servers. Our largest headaches are from the few windows servers we deal with (12 of them) mainly because of the second rate software that seems so prevalant on that platform. We think that MS needs a decend shell which may help manage some of this stuff. We use cygwin which works pretty well but has a major disconnect with doing things in windows.

    So I can’t live and let live, I passionately take this stuff personally because windows vendors (we deal with about 6 of them) dump crummy stuff on us and make life more difficult. Other vendors can produce bad software (oracle financials anyone?) but the preponderance of crud that comes from windows only shops is downright unprofessional and having a funky shell to work with is going to make it worse. What sort of mess will they produce with this?

    Ok, I feel a little better now.

  8. kz says:

    So, you do know that having easily composable and easily gui-able little programs as with the .net shell is pretty much going to ruin the applications-division?

    Think about it, if you can put together robust compositions from little open-source utils that anyone can write, where does that leave the big clunky apps?

    Cool tech, horrible business decision.

  9. Pooja says:

    Hi Robert,

    I saw the video, monad is very interesting 🙂

    I was wondering if I could have access to the msh code demo-ed during the show. I can’t seem to be able to find a link to the code.

  10. Sky says:


    Can We watch this Shows in TV ?

    or In Sattelite TV ?

  11. yzsfsg says:

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    speak about these unimportant waste subject.

    that was a joke

    thanks for all of commenters


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  13. Fred says:

    Maybe Microsoft should just add ActivePerl?

  14. dave says:

    no, Microsoft should do what Apple did, make the kernel Unix.

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