Microsoft shows Linux love, adding support for SSH to PowerShell

An upcoming version of Windows PowerShell will let users manage Windows and Linux computers through Secure Shell protocol and Shell session (better known as SSH), thanks to some new functionality Microsoft announced Tuesday.

The new feature, which was announced in a blog post by PowerShell Group Software Engineering Manager Angel Calvo, will allow Windows users to securely connect with and run terminal commands on other Windows and Linux machines using SSH and vice versa. In addition, the PowerShell team will be working with the OpenSSH project to share their work with the open-source community.

According to Calvo, users who need to work with both Windows and Linux devices frequently request SSH support. First introduced in 1995, SSH is a key tool for managing remote machines, but Windows hasn’t featured native support for it before.

Between the support for Linux and the contributions to open-source software, these developments highlight some of the recent major shifts in Microsoft’s strategy and culture. At an event focused on its Azure cloud platform last year, CEO Satya Nadella declared Microsoft’s love for Linux, which is a marked difference from Steve Ballmer, who once famously called it a “cancer.” Microsoft has made a number of Linux distributions available on Azure and is even releasing a code editor that runs across Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Adding SSH support was a long time coming and wouldn’t have been possible without those changes at Microsoft. Calvo revealed that the PowerShell team tried to include SSH support in versions 1 and 2 of the software, but the idea was ultimately shot down. Calvo credited “changes in our leadership and culture” with making the upcoming features possible.

Developers who are itching to use the new functionality in PowerShell will still have to wait a while. Calvo said the team is still in the early planning phase when it comes to SSH support, so they don’t have a clear release date. That said, the PowerShell team should have more information in the near future on when users can expect SSH, Calvo said.

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