Regular readers (hah!) will be aware that I am very impressed with Windows Vista. One of the reasons for this is that Windows is finally reaching the point where it can be run as a limited user and the system is more tightly enforcing the separation between system and user data (the virtualisation feature in the registry is very impressive). It also forces better practices such as not allowing users to write into the root of the C: drive.
With this in mind, I've been doing some initial reading up on Windows Server 2008, partly because the Microsoft dominance in IT means I'll have to become familiar with it at some point, but also because it looks like it might be a very interesting operating system.
Firstly, the OS can be stripped down to perform a specific role (file server, database server, web server etc) and only the required components are installed. This should result in better security (a smaller surface area to attack) and perhaps better performance (less processes running) which should mean Windows Server 2008 has the potential to be easier to manage.
Secondly, the Powershell is included by default, finally bringing a [best of breed] scripting environment to Windows. Apparently the whole operating system should be mangaged through the command line, which should certainly improve supporting customers over sometimes slow WAN links.
If these two features sound similar to Unix, then Henry Spencer's now classic quote "Those who don't understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it, poorly." carries some resonance. The fact is that with Windows Server 2008, Microsoft are creating an evolution of their OS that does sound a lot more like Unix than previous versions.
And this can only be a good thing!