The first beta version of Microsoft's new Command Line based shell was released to users via Microsoft's BetaPlace website on Friday. The release, codenamed "Monad", was originally thought to be a component of Longhorn. However, recent news has disconfirmed these reports – saying the new programmable Unix-like shell will be released separate from Longhorn.
While ordinary PC users may not detect a huge difference from previous shells, many advanced users will note differences. Several advanced functions will be built into the new add-on – such as Administrative functions, which would enable users to do much more from the command line rather than from the graphical interface. The release will also play a central role in Microsoft's forthcoming Exchange 12 release.
Interested users can try out Monad by signing in on the BetaPlace website under the guest ID of "mshPDC".
News source: Monad Team Blog on MSDN