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Microsoft's Monad hits a milestone

Microsoft has released a second beta for Monad, the company's alternative to the Linux and Unix command line scripting languages.

Microsoft has released a second trial version of Monad, the scripting language that aims to improve an administrator's ability to write scripts, customize commands and give them better control over systems management tasks on servers and desktops.

Monad was originally planned for Longhorn Server, due out in 2007, but that is no longer the case. It will, instead, make its first appearance in Exchange 12, Microsoft's messaging platform, which is expected to be released in 2006.

Though experts have said Monad will have a learning curve for IT professionals, some of the first Windows experts to test the scripting language are looking forward to using the software.

"If there is one thing that has historically separated Windows in the enterprise versus Unix and Linux, it's that much of Windows administration is GUI- and wizard-based," said Laura Hunter, a Microsoft MVP and senior IT specialist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "Let me find ways I can build tools on my own, and build automated things. I don't want to go through the new user wizard all the time."

Monad Beta 2 has improved security, including certificate signing for scripts and policy-based control of script execution, better support for COM-based tools and libraries. Monad users can now write scripts to automate Microsoft Office tasks such as search and replace across multiple documents, Microsoft said.

IT experts can also write scripts for automating database operations.

In addition, beta users can customize output formatting and extend or create new object types, the company said.

Monad Beta 2 is available in the Microsoft Download Center. The company moved it to this location from BetaPlace because it wanted to broaden customer feedback, Microsoft officials said.

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