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Microsoft cuts Windows Vista feature

Monad scripting shell ’too attractive to hackers’


Just days after the first public reports of viruses being written for an upcoming feature of Microsoft's Windows operating system, the company confirmed that it will not include the feature in the first generally available release of Microsoft Vista, expected in the second half of 2006.

The feature, called the Monad Shell, provides a way for users to access the operating system using text-based commands rather than the traditional Windows graphical user interface.

In an interview last week, a Microsoft spokesperson said Monad will not be included in the first commercial version of Vista. But the product is expected to be included in Windows over the next "three to five years," he said. "Our intention is to synchronise it with both client and server operating systems."

Security experts had worried that if Monad were to be included in a widely used client, it might become an attractive target for hackers, especially if the shell were to be enabled by default.

The first Microsoft product to use Monad will be the next release of Microsoft's Exchange messaging server, code-named Exchange 12.0 – due in 2006.

On the operating system side of things, Monad is then expected to be included in the Windows Server Longhorn, expected in 2007, and then could be available in a future Windows Vista release.

"Presumably, as time goes on, all of Microsoft's products will have Monad scripting interfaces," a spokesperson said.


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