SSH, or secure shell, is the mainstay of remote access and administration in the Linux world, and the lack of any straightforward equivalent has always been an awkward feature of the Windows world. While there are various third-party options, Windows lacks both a native SSH client, for connecting to Linux machines, and it lacks an SSH server, to support inbound connections from Linux machines.
The PowerShell team announced that this is going to change: Microsoft is going to work with and contribute to OpenSSH, the de facto standard SSH implementation in the Unix world, to bring its SSH client and server to Windows.
PowerShell is in some ways an obvious group to do such work; while PowerShell is arguably stronger as a scripting language than it is an interactive shell, it’s nonetheless Microsoft’s preferred tool for command-line Windows management and administration. The ability to connect securely to a Windows machine from a Linux one to use a PowerShell shell is a logical extension of PowerShell’s capabilities.
While those looking for an SSH client for Windows have been able to use the (excellent) PuTTY, providing an SSH server, for inbound connections, has always been more awkward on Windows. Should this work be successful, it will mean that there’s one less reason to install Cygwin on Windows systems, and that’s sure to be welcomed.
Even with a native SSH server, Windows still won’t be as good a platform for remote command-line management as Unix; the awkward Windows console model means that, for example, Unix creature comforts such as long-running multiplexed “screen” sessions aren’t likely to be available on Windows any time soon. But this work should nonetheless remove a big pain point going forward, and that can only be a good thing.