Windows Server 8 Will Lose its Face

The next version of the server software will go without a GUI. It's a smart move and long overdue.

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Windows Server is an operating system where the apps running don't need much of an interface, if at all, yet it still has a full Windows desktop. That's going to change with the latest version, though.The Windows Server team has posted a lengthy blog explaining their decision to cut down the Server's desktop and make it optional. It makes sense to remove the GUI, given the amount of resources it consumes and that most management of servers is done from a remote desktop and not the actual server itself. I'm sure Unix supporters are welcoming Microsoft to 1990.Users will now have two choices, Server Core and Server Graphical Shell. They can switch between the two at any time without needing a reboot. If you go with the Core, then everything is done through PowerShell, which Microsoft is giving a huge facelift in this release. The new version will come with 2,300 new cmdlets to enable command-line and remote management of all server roles.The main concern is for developers. Microsoft is warning them to keep in mind that the full GUI experience on the Windows Server OS is now optional and they should not assume a GUI will be there, nor should they take for granted any of the other dependencies that the full server GUI would have.Prior versions of Windows had a relatively large set of dependencies, much of them coming from the Windows Foundation layers, but if you are using Server Core, they won't be available. So don't assume it, Microsoft says.The notion of a headless server is long overdue. Sysadmins, what do you think?

The reasoning is pretty obvious: when Server 8 is running in a small footprint, memory is precious. Not every server is a four-processor setup with 128GB of memory. If Microsoft can shave off some megabytes of memory for an embedded server for an unused GUI, then it should.

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