Forget the GUI: The return of the command line

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If you immerse yourself in Microsoft history for long enough, youll come across more than one story about staff trying to add more command-line features to its operating systems. The plans go up the corporate tree, to the rarified heights of a Bill Gates review, where the executives ask, What part of the name Windows do you have a problem with? Corporate legends aside, Windows on both the desktop and server have long been the province of GUIs, point-and-click experiences driving everything from files on desktop PCs to managing entire virtual networks in the public cloud. That was all very well when you were dealing with tens of PCs and a handful of servers in an office. It even still worked for client-server enterprise applications or a small farm of web servers. Now, however, we have the cloud; in its public, private, and hybrid guises. Automated system administration tools orchestrate our applications and manage our virtual machines in heterogeneous environments that mix and match operating systems and management philosophies. Infrastructure is now code, and the data center an operating system. What now for the GUI? Its at heart a tool for one machine, one that needs an operator not the automation thats required for operations at scale.

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