back to article Sysadmins rebel over GUI-free install for Windows Server 2016

Microsoft is taking heat from sysadmins for removing the installation option for a desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) in the current Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016. "A gui as one of the default options is absolutely required for the SMB Space", says one user in the comments here. We "definitely need third option …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Growing up is tough

    What is the proper analogy here: losing the training wheel or losing the diaper?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Growing up is tough

      Well a GUI aids beginners, but it doesn't stop them making a mess, so I'd say it's the training wheel.

    2. Tom from the States

      Re: Growing up is tough

      No one is saying that the command-line option should be removed or that the GUI option should be preferred. Just leave the GUI as an option. One of the reasons GUIs became popular is because the error-checking was better and it was more efficient doing a one-off. No one wants a career-altering event that the install code could prevent.

      My thought is that this is also a subtle way to drive SMB folks to Azure ("Hey, we can build that server for you so you don't have to fuss about it. You won't have to lift a finger and you can spend more time visiting www.theregister.co.uk!").

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Growing up is tough

        Main advantage of a GUI is for infrequently performed tasks. Unless every SMB is going to employ a specialist in every area of Windows, they're going to be needed.

        They've made a similar move with Exchange - far too much needs a command line nowadays.

        It's all very well us IT pros being sniffy about using a UI - there are still advantages we need to recognise.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Growing up is tough

          "Unless every SMB is going to employ a specialist in every area of Windows, they're going to be needed."

          If an SMB doesn' thave the talent internally then if they've got any sense they'll outsource. The last thing you want is a critical business server set up and run by Dave from accounts during his tea break. Either way a GUI shouldn't really be required for a back end server.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: Growing up is tough

            Partly true - typical SMB has a dedicated IT guy for the day to day, outsourcing the more complex stuff. some of that day to day stuff is still done infrequently, so needs a GUI.

            That said, if the IT guy can't work out how to add the GUI option, he needs to find a new job!

          2. Joe Montana

            Re: Growing up is tough

            "If an SMB doesn' thave the talent internally then if they've got any sense they'll outsource."

            This has been one of the biggest problems for years... MS have promoted windows as point and click, simple for someone with no experience to operate... And that's exactly what happened.

            Only the marketing is misleading, while someone without experience can get a windows box limping along it will be horribly insecure and unstable, and this is exactly what's happened and is one of the biggest reasons why most companies encounter so many problems.

          3. davealford

            Re: Growing up is tough

            As someone who works solely with SMBs a GUI is an absolute essential. Talk of 'back end servers' really shows no knowledge of how SMBs work (and I mean SMALL - like less than 10 users). They can't afford cloud services - it's still cheaper for them to install a server (yes, get some contracted support) and run multiple services on it (exchange, file and print, active directory, etc). I won't even go into the problems that cloud services have with the limited connectivity option for SMBs (try running a cloud based email solution for 10 users and cloud storage on an ADSL - even with 1mbs upload bandwidth - it sucks). That's not going to change anytime soon ....

        2. Bubba Von Braun

          Re: Growing up is tough

          And a perfect business opportunity for those who want to sell a wizard to do the configuration work for you. Granted harder with the base OS, but easy for things like Exchange.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Growing up is tough

      Training wheel as Windows can record the PowerShell scripts the GUI is using internally. But this is only an important point if you need to replicate this in the future. Ever. This is what Microsoft gets for killing Small Business Server likely to push SOHO/SMB's on to Azure.

      What one hand giveth, potentially fewer desktop support calls (everyone on W10), another taketh away, my sanity trying to show them what and why of WS2016. "Of all the things I've lost in this long life, I miss my mind the most."

    4. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Growing up is tough

      Well, with Linux or similar systems, I mostly use Free BSD, you can fire up emacs (or vi if you are that way inclined), and edit the appropriate configuration file, and it is usually fairly obvious what you need to do. With Windows Powershell, you have to type a command at the command prompt to change whatever it is you want to change, and it usually isn't at all obvious what you need to do, and being able to copy/paste from the documentation you are reading is essential.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Growing up is tough

        > you can fire up emacs (or vi if you are that way inclined)

        You can fire up vi (or emacs, if you are that way inclined).

        Sorry, couldn't¹ resist.

        ¹ Not that I tried very hard.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Growing up is tough

          You can fire up nano (or vi or emacs, if you are a masochist).

          Sorry, couldn't¹ resist.

          ¹ Not that I tried at all.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Growing up is tough

        "edit the appropriate configuration file, and it is usually fairly obvious what you need to do."

        If you know which file you need to change - where it is located - and which line you need to change. Windows is much more powerful and simple in that you change the settings in the Registry or Active Directory - both of which unlike text files also include granular line level auditing and ACL capabilities.

        "With Windows Powershell, you have to type a command at the command prompt to change whatever it is you want to change, and it usually isn't at all obvious what you need to do"

        It's generally far more obvious and simple than having to know the changes required / correct format and then having to locate a specific line in a specific text file in a specific location on a specific system....

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: Growing up is tough

          > If you know which file you need to change - where it is located - and which line you need to change. Windows is much more powerful and simple in that you change the settings in the Registry or Active Directory

          The Windows version is no actual improvement. You've just moved the configuration hive from one type of storage mechanism to one that's far less standard. You've also stripped off the inline documentation or any real sense of order in the process.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Growing up is tough

            "The Windows version is no actual improvement.

            It's an improvement is numerous ways, granular field level ACLs and auditing for a start. The ability to access a single record without parsing the whole file another. a single location for all configuration formation yet another.

            "You've just moved the configuration hive from one type of storage mechanism to one that's far less standard."

            It far more standardised. I can specify the data types, field length, etc. that you can't control in a text file.

            "You've also stripped off the inline documentation or any real sense of order in the process."

            Nope - you have full inline documentation in Powershell. And the process is far more ordered and scalable than parsing random lines in multiple text files in multiple locations...

    5. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Growing up is tough

      "What is the proper analogy here: losing the training wheel or losing the diaper?"

      The rear axle of your car snapping off at 80mph going round a corner. Windows isn't competent gui-less like Linux is. That being said, seems like automated deployments will probably fix all this regardless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Growing up is tough

        "Windows isn't competent gui-less like Linux is"

        It certainly is these days. It has a powerful shell called - surprise - PowerShell (think like Bash, but more modern / powerful / secure / more fully featured / parallel executing / object orientated / multiple data type support, etc. etc.) than can control pretty much any aspect of the OS.

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: Growing up is tough

          think like Bash, but more modern / powerful / secure / more fully featured / parallel executing / object orientated / multiple data type support, etc. etc.

          Shame Microsoft still can't make a console you can just drag to resize.

          No really, powershell might be (and might not be for a long list of reasons) more useful than bash, doesn't change the fact Microsoft hates text consoles. They might foist it on people but it doesn't make it any better for the average windows admin in the same way as a bash shell on a linux server does for an equally competent linux admin - and it won't change 20 years of corporate culture of being all about the GUI. The windows registry is one of many symptoms of this problem.

          I say this as somebody who manages servers with both, and has been managing windows systems for hitting 15 years now - they're not comparable precisely because of the way microsoft buries configuration. You need a GUI just to have clue what is going on. Sure you can manage a farm from a single server but you can with linux too, this isn't something that helps most people.

          That said - as I said as long as it's installable, preferably from an unattend one way or another; it's mostly irrelevant anyway.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Growing up is tough

            "Shame Microsoft still can't make a console you can just drag to resize."

            ? Powershell ISE is drag to resize and always has been....

    6. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Growing up is tough

      ""A gui as one of the default options is absolutely required for the SMB Space", says one user in the comments here.""

      I'm sure even SMBs can learn one command line entry to install the GUI...This is a non issue

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Linux

    All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

    a few years back looks less of a waste of time.

    SSH - bring it on. Used it for years (and variants like X forwarding over it)

    Headless servers - standard Linux setup.

    But then I started on a ZX80, so command line interfaces never scared me.

    1. Ben Rose
      Happy

      Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

      If you hold a UNIX shell up to your ear, can you hear the C?

      1. Matt Piechota

        Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

        If you hold a UNIX shell up to your ear, can you hear the C?

        Right up until I bash you with it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

          > Right up until I bash you with it.

          Ah! That was korny.

          1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

            >> Right up until I bash you with it.

            > Ah! That was korny.

            Cron-ic if you ask me

            1. Roger Kynaston

              Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

              And then you will be bourne again!

              1. Phil W

                Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

                unless you've been burnt to ash for being a heathen.

                1. Roger Kynaston

                  Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

                  But then you might top yourself.

                  1. Handy Plough
                    Coat

                    Re: All of a sudden, my decision to learn Linux

                    You really are taking the ps with that one...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If MS had used bash and ported most of the GNU tools to Windows, and had bash-enabled everything to the extent they have with Powershell, then they might have had a good argument for a gui-free Microsoft server. Those are all well-understood, well-documented tools with a long history of examples of how to do things. Powershell just isn't there yet, IMHO. It still has too many rough-edges to be the "only way" for the entire world. Yeah, it does work OK on a GUI-free Win2012 box, but it's no joy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On my planet I've SUA/SFU installed which I've been using since forever. Emacs and csh have been my thang since mi Amiga 2000 (AmigaOS or BSD as required) and does all the POSIX bits just fine. [The more I look/learn about PowerShell, the more it seems a csh.NET but that's just my insanity whispering.]

  4. Ashton Black

    Interesting.

    With those default diagnostic GUI bits and bobs and powershell, I'm pretty sure I could diagnose most issues with a Windows Server.

    The remote access argument is a bit fallacious too. I suspect the vast majority of modern servers would be on some sort of hypervisor of some flavor. If you've got access to that, a simple console would let you in, generally.

    I would consider putting a desktop on it, if there was non-server admins (eg the DBAs playing with SQL, aww bless.) who had to use it.

    Bring it on!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Interesting.

      And don't forget, that default Windows Manager includes lots of links to nice GUI tools.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting.

      > The remote access argument is a bit fallacious too.

      Spoketh he who has never used a satlink.

      1. Ashton Black

        Re: Interesting.

        Really? Don't bet on that one AC. I've run networks over both MoD satlinks and microwave LoS.

        That said, obviously exceptions exist and I wasn't trying to be dogmatic, just pleased that lower footprint, more automated options will be default, rather than the exception.

    3. JEDIDIAH
      Thumb Down

      Re: Interesting.

      Are you kidding? You hardly need GUI running local on the RDBMS server in order to manage it. Even Microsoft's product is not that lame.

  5. The March Hare

    and in the real world...

    maybe my employer is atypical (local government) but quite a few of our windows servers run middleware and client/server stuff that absolutely must have a GUI to allow it to be configured and interrogated.

    there is a huge legacy of windows based server-side software that is not in any way command line based - including IIS and Exchange for example.

    It's always disappointing to see how stupidity prevails in areas where you don't expect it.

    1. bencurthoys

      Re: and in the real world...

      IIS was a poor example to pick. You can script IIS changes. Here's a snippet of one of my deployment powershell scripts which I use to create or update instances of my SaaS product on the production server. Much less error prone and time consuming than using the IIS GUI admin tool; I modify the config files to tell it where things should be installed, and then run the scripts to do the installation.

      function CreateIISSite($hostName,$iisName,$folderName)

      {

      $iisSiteName = $iisName

      $iisAppPoolName = $iisName

      $iisAppPoolServiceName = $iisName + "Service"

      $iisAppPoolDotNetVersion = "v4.0"

      $directoryPath = "D:\mycompany\$folderName"

      #check if the app pool exists

      if (!(Test-Path "IIS:\AppPools\$iisAppPoolName" -pathType container))

      {

      #create the app pool

      $appPool = New-Item "IIS:\AppPools\$iisAppPoolName"

      Set-ItemProperty "IIS:\AppPools\$iisAppPoolName" -Name "managedRuntimeVersion" -Value iisAppPoolDotNetVersion

      $appPoolService = New-Item "IIS:\AppPools\$iisAppPoolServiceName"

      Set-ItemProperty "IIS:\AppPools\$iisAppPoolServiceName" -Name "managedRuntimeVersion" -Value iisAppPoolDotNetVersion

      }

      #navigate to the sites root

      #check if the site exists

      if (!(Test-Path "IIS:\Sites\$iisSiteName" -pathType container))

      {

      #create the site

      $iisSite = New-Item "IIS:\Sites\$iisSiteName" -bindings @{protocol="http";bindingInformation=":80:" + hostName} -physicalPath "$directoryPath\Root"

      Set-ItemProperty "IIS:\Sites\$iisSiteName" -Name "applicationPool" -Value $iisAppPoolName

      if ($hostName -ne "$iisSiteName.mycompany.com")

      {

      New-WebBinding -name "$iisSiteName" -HostHeader "$iisSiteName.mycompany.com"

      }

      True, right now I run the scripts by going in with RDP and clicking on a file, instead of a better way, but that's because I can get away with it.

      So you can script IIS. Arguably, you *should* script IIS. If Microsoft want to insist that you **MUST** script IIS, then they're going to lose a lot of friends =)

      1. The March Hare

        Re: and in the real world...

        fair comment - I must admit to not dealing much with IIS or Exchange if i can help it so I bow to collective wisdom..

        However, there are still other vendors products that aren't amenable to being configured via a command line - we use some 3rd party web parts for a sharepoint installation that seem to need juju beads, incense and a full moon to get working correctly.. as well as a good understanding of JapanEngrish

        1. James 29

          Re: and in the real world...

          Actually Exchange 2013, for a web managed product, requires the full Server desktop, and the Desktop experience feature.

          Add other MS products, SCCM etc that also require a desktop. You will find very few products that actually work in server core.

          Server core is only good IMHO for Hyper-V installs

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: and in the real world...

        And how is this manifest of long and easily mis-spelled variable names "better" than the GUI?

        Not arguing that remote admin is better, and that to do it you don't need a GUI, but removing the GUI "just because" smacks of Thought Police Policy, and we all know how well that worked for, say, Windows 8. Or Windows 10 (from reports in these pages). Or the Office ribbon. Or, well, you know.

        And if you aren't going to include windows in the box, you can't really go around calling it "Windows", can you?

    2. Craig Foster
      WTF?

      Re: and in the real world...

      is not in any way command line based - including IIS and Exchange for example.

      Do you want to put money on that? Exchange 2013 does not have a management GUI as such (web and powershell). I haven't required a GUI on web machines for a while (powershell or IISAdmin remote), and most DCs I've deployed use core (with powershell or ADUC on a desktop or "management" machine).

      Actually it's a good thing. From the opposite angle, VMWare requires GUI using the full desktop experience role because of Flash. Even down to their file-based restore in VDP. Why the hell would I enable DX on a server for file-restore purposes on a VM guest machine?

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Exchange 2013 does not have

        He said legacy not modern.

    3. The Original Steve

      Re: and in the real world...

      "there is a huge legacy of windows based server-side software that is not in any way command line based - including IIS and Exchange for example."

      Totally, utterly wrong.

      Exchange 2013 is ALL PowerShell. Every action you do in the web-based GUI is just running PowerShell in the background. And if you've managed more than a single Exchange 2013 server, or just done some of the more advanced stuff with it you'd soon realise that the GUI in Exchange 2013 only shows about 60% of what can be done.

      Mailbox permissions, IP-less DAG, testing replication etc. ALL in PowerShell. There is no GUI.

      IIS also can be managed without a GUI too. Server Core on 2012 R2 fully supports IIS 8.5 without a UI on the local server.

      System Centre suite (SCVMM, SCCM, SCDPM, SCSM and SCOM) are all based on PowerShell. Same with SharePoint. Active Directory, HyperV and pretty much every single part of Windows can be managed without a GUI by using PowerShell.

      I believe SQL 2014 also uses PowerShell for the non-TSQL elements too. (Although I haven't used that myself)

      Microsoft is pushing ahead for ALL server and infrastructure products to have their management layer done with PowerShell. The GUI in current and future products are simply running PowerShell commands. The majority of functionality and configuration cannot be done in the GUI alone, with the only way to fully manage MS Server products will be PowerShell. The GUI is purely for the day-to-day admin tasks by Servicedesk. The actual infrastructure administrators are / will be expected to manage their solutions using PowerShell.

      If you can't manage Windows Server with PowerShell, Event Viewer, Server Manager, Services and Device Manager then you shouldn't be managing a Windows Server. (Or any Server other than Small Business Server / Windows Server Essentials)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: and in the real world...

        Naming a load of things that don't need a GUI on the server to install or run is good.

        But a business only has to have a single application that requires the GUI on the server (whether to install or configure) and that list is as naught..

      2. lucki bstard

        Re: and in the real world...

        And your comments would help the SMB customer how?? After all that is the segment that the article is aimed at, and the people who will be most affected by this.

        The SMB world is very different from Enterprise.

    4. Greg J Preece

      Re: and in the real world...

      maybe my employer is atypical (local government) but quite a few of our windows servers run middleware and client/server stuff that absolutely must have a GUI to allow it to be configured and interrogated.

      .......So then you would install the optional GUI? The article makes it clear that's still 100% possible, soooo.....what's the issue here?

      You *can* install a GUI on a Linux server, after install, in very much the same way as this. It's just that in 99% of cases there is absolutely no reason to, and as mentioned it vastly increases your attack surface.

    5. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: and in the real world...

      Absolutely, in fact most of the hard to replace software for Windows I've seen actually was baked into the GUI. It's not even uncommon for Windows services to even have GUI windows. Sure Microsoft warns people against doing that in their documentation... but what developer reads it. (particularly back in the 1990s when developer documentation for Windows was actually expensive)

      The Windows world is not as nice as it's shown in commercials. A typical Windows installation is full of 1990s crap which is business critical. It's full of custom database or license servers running as GUI applications. In fact if it isn't, you are likely to be able to easily replace the software with even better free (as in speech) alternatives. That's why the fraction of Windows servers running crap software probably will even increase. The people still running file- or mailservers on Windows mostly do so because they don't know better.

  6. NogginTheNog
    Facepalm

    After killing it off with a GUI all those years ago...

    ...MS have finally re-invented Netware!

    1. Tom 13

      Re: After killing it off with a GUI all those years ago...

      Nope. Not even up to the usability and stability of Netware 2.0 yet.

  7. boltar Silver badge

    Small business server community?

    "Susan Bradley, well known in the small business server community"

    Wtf is the small business server community? A bunch of middling ability sys admins sitting around in a pub on a friday lunchtime moaning that they can't get a job at Goldmans or Citibank?

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Small business server community?

      Yeah, well, I thought SMB was Server Message Block protocol, which made the whole article rather confusing.

    2. ausoleil

      Re: Small business server community?

      "Wtf is the small business server community? A bunch of middling ability sys admins sitting around in a pub on a friday lunchtime moaning that they can't get a job at Goldmans or Citibank?"

      Having just migrated to a mid-sized business from Fortune 15 company, I plan to spend my Friday lunchtime laughing about not having to waste time on mindless bureaucracy, magazine certified CIO's or listening to rumors about the next round of layoffs thanks to management wanting to drive up the stock price a couple points by shedding a few thousand employees.

      Maybe you think that it's an honor to be a fungible asset for some MegaCorp...to which I say enjoy the cubicle life, Mr. Fungible Asset.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Small business server community?

        "Maybe you think that it's an honor to be a fungible asset for some MegaCorp...to which I say enjoy the cubicle life, Mr. Fungible Asset."

        Oh don't worry , I will.

        I'll also enjoy twice the salary compared Mr Not-up-to-the-jobs like you sitting in some fleepit out of town rented office in an anonymous industrial estate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Small business server community?

          Id argue anyone following a career in Microsoft based sysadminnery could be considered a Mr Not-Up-To-The-Job.

          Its hardly a challenging job if half the work you do involves wizards or writing scripts in the IT equivalent of crayon (Powershell).

  8. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hell freezes over

    Microsoft make a sane decision for once! Us freetards have been saying it for years^H^H^H^H^Hdecades, a system that has a gui is no "real" server.

    I can understand the outrage, though, how are point and click experts gonna administrate this ? With Administrative Tools alone you cannot get it all done ... The server manager and wizards might help, but I guess it will become harder to install enterprise class software like Oracle Database or SAP - which is OK, Windows Server has never been an enterprise-worthy OS anyway.

    Good move, Microsoft ... for once!

  9. jsnover [MSFT]

    Just to be clear - This is definately not a done deal.

    We do previews to get feedback so we can adjust.

    We are listening.

    Jeffrey Snover[MSFT]

    1. dogged
      Headmaster

      Listening to commentards on the Reg might not be healthy either.

      Also, "definitely" from the root "finite".

      Have some pedantry.

      1. b166er

        Well someone had to :p

        Nice to know you're listening though d_(*J*)_b

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        definately

        ERROR: Command not recognised

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Nobody believes you're working for Microsoft no matter how much you put [MSFT] at the end of your name and insist otherwise. You're not posting anonymously.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where's the RICHTO when you need it?

  10. PushF12
    Terminator

    Fear, angst, and a reminder of Novell

    Windows Server 2016 deprecates the Desktop/GUI as a core system component. Microsoft is fully committed to a future in cloud computing (and IoT), and its reduced interest in the SMB space is starting to show.

    Totally expected, but it will upset people that are inattentive, stuck in the SMB space, or just too tired to retread themselves for yet another run on the carousel of IT employment.

    The squawks of indignation and dismay coming from small IT departments today sound much like they did twenty years ago when the Novell platform was in decline. PowerShell is a new shibboleth.

  11. Fuzz

    Missing the point

    I think people are missing the point here. You still use a GUI to manage your server, you just don't run the GUI on the server. If I want to make a change in Exchange I use Exchange console, on my local PC, if I want to perform some dba tasks in SQL server I do that in SQL management console, on my local PC. Reading the event viewer, ADUC, group policy, WSUS etc. I use the GUI for all of these tasks because for a one off task it is generally easier than the CLI but I don't run the GUI on the server desktop.

    This is all well and good, the problem comes in installing software. Software generally has two install options, either a GUI install which needs to be installed on the local machine or a silent install which requires you to construct all of the parameters into a commandline or answer file. What we need is remote installers, run the installer GUI on your desktop PC and it connects to the server and pushes the install.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Missing the point

      In the SMB segment you often MUST use the server not a desktop. You're still in the Enterprise model where a sys admin is sitting at his desk. Typical SMB situation is the sys admin walks in once every two months, all 12 of the desktops are in use because people are working and he's lucky to have a chair by the server.

  12. MacGyver

    Ok, Ok, Ok..

    I get it, only a non-1337 admin needs a GUI, but in the real world GUIs add value. Yes you can script this and that, yes you can install server with no GUI, but why? A GUI displays information to the user in a more useful way (and makes that information interactive). There is a reason most OSes have them (other than it not being 1983 anymore). I will agree that no GUI could have less of an attack surface, but that is not going to keep it from needing to be patched 12 times a week anyway, so let's just tell the truth, that console-only servers will intimidate some, and those that is doesn't can get off on that. The end. There is nothing a non-GUI version can do, that a GUI version can't do too, in that any script you run a GUI-less system can also be run in a PowerShell window on a GUI system.

    If I wanted a pure non-GUI environment why would I pay Microsoft for it? They need to watch who they piss off. Why would I want to use a flawed Policy-Server from Microsoft, when I could build from source something comparable on Linux, and either write or find someone's code that will let me do exactly what I want with it?

    So people hate Windows 8, now will hate Server 2016, and hate Windows Mobile. What's next making the Xbox ONE controller shock people with each button press.

    Is there a bet going on inside Microsoft as to who can disenfranchise the most customers?

    1. Roo

      Re: Ok, Ok, Ok..

      "Yes you can script this and that, yes you can install server with no GUI, but why?"

      I'll bite... Because you have ~2K boxes/images to admin and you really don't want to have to do the login and clicky dance on every single one individually... This *should* enable an admin to look after more boxes, reducing the TCO as well...

      Microsoft wants to play in the big leagues where admins look after hundreds boxes / images. I suspect that Azure has shown that the current GUI centric model just does not scale well for system administration and will never be able to compete alternatives that do support remote administration out of the box.

      The only problem here is that MS is biting the bullet about 23 years too late, the time to do this kind of shift would have been before they released NT 3.51 - before app developers & and sysadmins had a chance to develop bad habits. :)

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Ok, Ok, Ok..

      Might as well install Centos, Debian, redhat etc. You can even pick GUI at install time.

      But we upgraded to Server 2003, decided it was too bloated compared to NT4.0 Enterprise and switched to Debian.

      Are MS determined to alienate? Why would you want Win10 experience if you did decide to have a GUI shell?

  13. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Why Powershell?

    For the first 30 years or so, Microsoft refused to accept that their operating systems would be better for having a decent scripting and command-line language. Instead they made half-hearted updates to the brain-dead MS-DOS batch language.

    Meanwhile, 99% of non-Microsoft operating systems* offered the same family of scripting languages. They aren't perfect, but they are powerful enough to do pretty much any job you want, and they work in much the same way everywhere.

    So when Microsoft come along and say they have this great new Powershell thing that can be used for scripting on Windows, I'm afraid my reaction is "Do I have to learn this? Why?"

    * made-up statistic

  14. Spindreams

    The biggest problem with remote administration of a Windows server is that well its so damn difficult to do unless you have all your server on the same AD Domain. I have many Windows servers that are scattered around the globe that I have to administer, RDP to a desktop is just the only easy way to do it.

  15. Lee D Silver badge

    Don't care how easy it is.

    Don't care what users you are targetting.

    Don't care that it's possible to fix.

    Don't care that you might not like the way some users admin their servers.

    Don't care. You removed an option that wasn't hurting anyone. PUT IT BACK.

    This is the MS stuff that drives me nuts. Worse? That they ALWAYS - EVERY DAMN RELEASE - do something like this just to hear the outcry, only to change it before release so they can say they "listened to the users". Listen now - stop it, and stop removing options. Removing the start menu really worked out well compared to just having an option, didn't it? Now you've had to put it back in.

    Not at all scared of command-line management but give me the damn choice that I always used to have and stop peeing about with release previews to make it look like you're doing something.

  16. The Dude

    Other considerations

    A significant part of the server management is done by techs from software houses who remote to the servers to install and maintain critical LOB software, and sometimes even the end users who do simple stuff like restarting a service. It's all very well for the IT guys like me) to use the remote management tools and powershell, but programmers and software specialists and even end users will not be comfortable with that. For those servers, a GUI is a must and that's the way I set them up.

    1. kend1
      Pint

      Re: Other considerations

      Used the IIS GUI to add a https web site with self-signed cert. First time using IIS, fumbled a bit but eventually completed the task. Trying to do that task by learning/writing PowerShell scripts from scratch would have been an adventure. Thanks GUI, a choice is nice for the noobs such as me.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only IBM had included Rexx at the start

    (Sigh)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: If only IBM had included Rexx at the start

      Ah, ... Rexx. Now that brings back memories.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: If only IBM had included Rexx at the start

        Very capable, very extendable and pretty damn simple to use. Pretty simple to expose Rexx interfaces as well in your applications which allows some very clever automation between applications.

        These days though it probably feels like it has a few deficiencies compared to other scripting systems.

  18. Yugguy

    Removing choice is happening EVERYWHERE in technology

    I have no problems with progress, with new stuff. I simply want the choice as to wether I should use it or not.

    That's all. Stop removing choice.

  19. nilfs2
    Linux

    Server without a GUI?

    Just go with Linux or BSD and forget about licenses, if a sysadmin has to learn all the Windows commands from the start, why not just learn the Linux/Unix commands and get a better OS?

  20. Mr Dogshit

    Does anyone actually run Server Core?

    No, thought not.

    1. launcap Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone actually run Server Core?

      We tried. And discovered that the 3rd party middleware stuff we used (and quite a few of the MS tools) whinged horribly or wouldn't run.

    2. NogginTheNog

      Re: Does anyone actually run Server Core?

      Core is great, until it breaks, and then you REALLY miss all those tools you're so used to using to dig in to find out what went wrong. Not everything will run remotely...

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Will they listen?

    Will Microsoft listen to their customers, or do a "we know better than you" like they did with Windows 8... and the Office ribbon... and so on? For sure, if you don't need a GUI it's a good idea to not install it. But, really, if the customers want a GUI install option on initial install, just give it to them. There probably are plenty of Windows Server uses where they aren't running IIS, or Exchange, or file or print services (does anyone still print via a server any more?), but some random applications (that "could" run on a version of Windows other than server but either aren't supported, or the site views it as a server task, therefore it runs on server.)

  22. JustNiz

    Finally.

    Finally, a way to get rid of al those clueless "MS Certified IT Guru" morons that think just because they can open a word doc they know everything about computers.

    1. nk

      Re: Finally.

      I'm pretty sure that sooner or later they'll figure out how to install the GUI anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally.

      problem with that is that they then all become Project Managers

  23. gerdesj Silver badge
    Linux

    RSAT-tastic

    Maybe RSAT (Remote Server Admin Tools) will be made easy to install on your desktop. Well, actually, it is easy to install plus a reboot but a right bugger to find the installer. Then you need the right version of the desktop.

    Yes you can replace ADUC and Co with Powershell but it's going to hurt. Also how the hell do you get first line to work with that?

    "Password change? Certainly Sir, now err CN= ... DC=example,DC=co,DC=uk ... nearly there Sir ... fuck oh sorry Sir, spoke out loud, what's the .... ah .... oh .... !!!! Oi Jim what's all this red writing mean"

    Bad example I know but I couldn't resist 8)

    1. drexciya

      Re: RSAT-tastic

      RSAT is useful, but it introduces a nasty OS dependancy. You must use an up-to-date client OS otherwise you can't manage the latest and greatest MS OS. There was a lot of frustration coming from admins when the RSAT tools for Windows 2012 only worked on Windows 8. Now if you would have some sort of tool which can be installed on any OS to manage your environment, then it would make sense.

      PowerShell is useful as well, but as in your example, it's not that friendly and you have caveats popping up left and right. I came across a problem with Windows 2012R2 core; I wanted to add a Windows feature and had to point to a full GUI image on the installation medium as a source. That was a feature.

    2. DavidRa

      Re: RSAT-tastic

      Pfft.

      NET USER Bob /Domain *

      <enter password twice>

      Or if you insist on PSH:

      Set-ADAccountPassword -Id Bob

      <enter password twice>

      And the way you get first line to work with it is you provide processes and/or your own toolset (e.g. a central website that audits and logs resets, runs PSH in the background, and does all the other first level stuff).

      You could run up a .HTA app with jQueryUI in a couple of days that does this sort of thing - I know, I've done it recently to provide a front-end for USMT plus data backup and restore, plus password resets and computer moves.

  24. Bucky 2

    Trying to understand the fundamental objection

    It sounds like they're really not removing any options at all. You can add a desktop immediately after the initial installation as part of the configuration stage if you really, really need it.

    Having a separate installer should mean that installing the administrative GUI on the workstations of administrators and sub-administrators will be much easier. I'm guessing here, but that seems to be what that whole separate installer thing means.

    And shifting the GUI overhead to workstations that are running desktops anyway seems to be a more efficient use of resources.

  25. Joe Montana

    The point...

    Yes, GUIs don't belong on servers... But MS have been saying the exact opposite of this for years and have managed to convince far too many people that having a GUI on a server should even be mandatory.

  26. Christopher Lane
    Coat

    Less attack surface...

    ...OR...

    they could just make the GUI more secure and less buggy...oh...awkward.

    See icon to right --->

  27. Paul J Turner

    Coincidence?

    That VirtualBox 5 will support headless servers, just in time for a headless version of Windows Server?

  28. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Windows

    Those who do not understand VMS...

    MS screwed up the NT4 kernel magnificently to get graphics drivers into it so a server OS could look as nice as Windows 95 and now after flailing about trying and failing to TIFKAMify WS 2012 so it matches Windows 8 they concede defeat and remove the GUI altogether from WS 2016.

    You can hear the bellowing from marketing...

    "I don't care how you do it, the GUI's going to be TIFKAM."

    So the development team made it optional and put it a dark cellar in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

    And thus a VMS-based OS went full circle back to where it came from. Only with a bloated kernel.

    1. PhilBuk

      Re: Those who do not understand VMS...

      Except that DCL was a sight more logical than Powershell.

      Phil.

  29. Boudicca

    no issue with a cli only server. as long as the ssh cli works. My issue is that Powershell cmdlets are not instantly intuitive and if having to google the right syntax before you execute a complex set of nested wmi queries while you try to find out what the f*ck is going on, if the internet is down and your dns is screwed and your dc is having a fit, The temptation to "Shut-up and reboot" over diagnosing the problem becomes the first action and not the last. The right option will invariably be missed. What will happen with a headerless environment will be sudden rush to buy into system dashboards/sccm and other remote management suites so that the sysadmin is actually a helpdesk operator with finger on the reboot button for 1000000's of boxes in cloud managed future. The Server as an App is just moments away.

  30. Fenton

    Dos style install scripts

    I can see it now. Software houses will have to build install routines for the lowest common denominator for a server, which will now be powershell.

    Welcome to the old days of character based install screens.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the old (apocyphal) adage

    « Those who do not understand UNIX are condemned to reinvent it [ forty years latter ] »

    And yes, we do have GUIs. We work on GUIs most of the time.

    But they only rarely make sense on a "server" machine.

    Especially when you have ssh -CX

    Anyhow, whatever you use¹, be sure to have fun!

    ¹ Emacs types excepted. Their idea of fun is Esc-x life. :-|

  32. azaks

    did anyone actually bother to read the article?

    If you need or want a GUI, you install the GUI.

    The only change here is that you need to add it after install rather than at the start of it (or more likely, in your unattended install config).

    Windows has had the ability to run without a GUI ("server core") for years, but very few people used it ("better pick full GUI during install... just in case")

    Hopefully changing the default will encourage more people not to add a GUI if they don't need to, and use GUI tools from a remote system rather than logging on locally (and all the cred stealing opportunities that offers).

    Seems like a pretty benign change to me. Now that we've got that out of the way, go back to whining about things that actually matter...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

    I've been administrating Linux boxes since RedHat 6.1 and Windows since Windows 2000 Server and here's my take on the whole situation.

    Since the very first Linux server I set up 15 years ago right to today I deploy every single one of my Linux server installations without a GUI. As a matter of fact "Bare Minimum Install" is my installation preference of choice and I subsequently install what I need post-installation. This allows me to better understand what it is I precisely require along with the dependencies of my requirements.

    I have always believed that it is important to know what you are installing as it subsequently allows you to evaluate what should or should not be configured post-installation.

    CLI-only management on Linux will always be my preference. Not only do you dramatically reduce the storage footprint of the OS it also greatly reduces the number of attack vectors. Anyone who has installed a GUI on a Linux box and subsequently reviewed the sheer number of dependencies required will know what I'm on about. Linux without GUI allows for dramatically less packages to maintain.

    And I love it. And to be brutally honest; it is a lot more intimidating than it is difficult to learn. Does it mean I loathe GUI's in general however? No it does not. I too adore Windows Server for what it is capable of. Active Directory, Group Policy et al are awesome for the management of enterprise clients and neither Apple nor Linux come close to giving this level of client management and control.

    You cannot really compare Linux and Windows however in this regard.

    CLI-only management on Linux works because just about everything is configured via config files (one of the key aspects why I am pro-Linux when it comes to mission-critical external services such as mail). It also works because Linux commands are short and easy to remember. Most Linux admins for example know what "grep" does but the vast majority do not know why "grep" is called "grep."

    But it works.

    Tried using PowerShell? The sheer insanity of how long commands can get is both mind-boggling and CTS-inducing. If you had an identical task to complete on Bash and Powershell the command for the later would almost always be a LOT longer than that of the former. And because you do not configure Windows via config files (thank you Registry) you end up with a LOT of commands to remember.

    A simple example would be to compare typing "vi httpd.conf" on Linux to manage Apache to the dozens and dozens of PowerShell Cmdlets which exist to manage IIS on Windows Server.

    The reason CLI management on Linux works and the reason GUI management on Windows works is simply because that is how the operating systems were designed and how they subsequently evolved. Trying to change it is going to be a massive challenge especially if you are going from GUI to CLI. Each do have their pros and cons however and there is no point debating which is better.

    I absolutely love how easy it is to backup, restore and otherwise move around config files on Linux and also how easy it is to manage and track config updates as a simple diff between an old and new config will immediately tell you what has changed (and likewise running a versioning system against your config files is awesome for ensuring that config changes are always accurately kept track of).

    On the other hand I could never see myself managing something like Windows Group Policy on a CLI. There's simply too many configurable parameters and a GUI allows for the intuitive display of vast amounts of configuration data along with their respective help files to very quickly grasp what is configured and what the purpose of the configuration in question is.

    And again with Linux the portability of configuration files means it's 100% possible to set up the ENTIRE operating system in advance of deployment. The time I spend rolling out a Linux server deployment is usually 1% config, 4% installer, 95% waiting for data to copy. Since all I need to do post-installation is to run a script which copies all of my config files into place.

    Doing this on Windows is often lot trickier if not impossible.

    Above all however I demand that my server operating systems be 100% configurable stand-alone without any network connectivity. It is a bloody joke that Microsoft expects you to use MMC to remote into a Windows Server simply because the server in question does not have a GUI. And don't think PowerShell will save you either because you will either be spending a lot of time trying to figure out which Cmdlet you require or the Cmdlet in question will simply not exist. Even Microsoft themselves admit that you cannot fully deploy and configure Windows Server purely from PowerShell.

    When I need to cut connectivity to a server due to whatever emergency that warrants such an action I will want to be able to get in front of the server and immediately troubleshoot the problem if it is within my means to do so. If I'm already in front of the server with monitor and keyboard why should I need to dig out my notebook to manage the damn thing?

    Anyhow this was my 0.02$ and my sincere apologies for the length of this post.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

      Agree nearly 100%.

      "A simple example would be to compare typing 'vi httpd.conf' on Linux to manage Apache to the dozens and dozens of PowerShell Cmdlets which exist to manage IIS on Windows Server."

      The bit you are forgetting here is that once you have typed you 'vi httpd.conf' into the CLI, you actually have to know the syntax for the setting you want to configure! Of course, if it's just changing and existing setting from one value to another then that's relatively straight-forward but you get my point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

        Definitely agree. Having said that most Linux services have rather easy-to-understand configuration parameters and syntaxes. At the very least you generally know what you are looking for or where to start. With PowerShell half the time I'm scratching my head wondering what bloody Cmdlet I even need to get started and it can be a huge waste of time when working on a server under pressure.

        Also most default config files are generally littered with so many damned comments that you often have a decent idea of what's going on (as far as commonly used config parameters are concerned). Personally I remove absolutely all comments from all my config files (but retain a default copy with comments in the same directory) because it hinders the rapid viewing of entire config files.

        And of course back to my point on version control even a complete newbie looking at a "diff httpd.conf.20150604 httpd.conf" will be able to figure out pretty quick if a recent config is the cause of something having gone kaput recently. Not all the time obviously but again I do believe that it helps with guiding admins in the general direction.

        1. Allonymous Coward

          Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

          I see your diff httpd.conf.20150604 httpd.conf and raise you an svn* diff httpd.conf

          * other tools are available

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

            Hence my earlier comment; "and likewise running a versioning system against your config files is awesome for ensuring that config changes are always accurately kept track of" :) Was being simplistic for the sake of keeping the example simple. You get my point though!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

            > I see your diff httpd.conf.20150604 httpd.conf and raise you an svn* diff httpd.conf

            And I raise you my scan of the printout of the picture of the screen showing the old version, beautifully pasted on an Excel spreadsheet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

        > The bit you are forgetting here is that once you have typed you 'vi httpd.conf' into the CLI, you actually have to know the syntax for the setting you want to configure!

        To be fair though, complex config files tend to be rather well commented--you can read what each option does, what are its possible values and what they do right there on the config file itself.

        And you can then add your own comments as to when and why you changed X and Y options, and what the old values were and why they needed to be changed, etc.

    2. azaks

      Re: Long-time Linux and Windows Admin here

      I agree that PS is daunting when you start. It takes a bit of investment, but is highly intuitive once you get over the initial hump. Not sure I agree about the "length of commands" bit. You could write a whole script as a single pipeline if you want, but you certainly dont have to. As for remembering commands, the <verb>-<noun> pattern of cmdlets is highly intuitive. Want to configure networking? "help *network*" will list every command with network in the name. You dont really need to remember any cmdlet names as you can just search for them, and getting help on likely looking cmdlets with "-full" gives you detailed info on all parameters plus examples.

      Where PS positively smokes Linux shell scripting is by treating everything as an object, and a pipeline to process them. Greping through pages of output to pipe text into the next component is mediaeval by comparison. Plus you can invoke pretty much anything in addition to the many cmdlets - other processes, any native or managed api, load any dll and run anything it exports, inline C#, COM components etc Plus you can do any of this as easily on a remote machine as the local machine, or thousands of remote machines at a time.

      Dont agree with you on putting everything in config files either. I would much rather have it fail validation due to some error or typo than allow me to save the config and have it work/not work/partially work and have to troubleshoot later. I use and like Linux, but I dont regard that as a strength.

      Final comment - this whole "I've been a Windows admin for 20 years and we have always had a GUI so we should always have a GUI" is bollocks. Times change and if you arent prepared to change with them, get left behind.

  34. dan1980

    There is no good reason to exclude the option to add the GUI during install.

    It is available to add after install so any argument about a GUI being problematic (in whatever way) is irrelevant. All you do by removing the option is force people to do in two steps what could previously be done in one.

    Anyone who argues that GUIs mean that unskilled users are more likely to jump on and mess things up is perhaps not familiar with something called "Google". In my experience, if a particular task is obscure or not user-friendly then the unskilled 'administrator' or 'guru' or accountant's son who is 'clever at computers' will simply search for what they want to do and copy-paste some command or follow a set of steps, without understanding what they are actually doing or whether the actions and commands are relevant and what the consequences are.

    I have seen more than a few systems - be they PCs or servers - stuffed up because someone who thought they knew what they were doing knew just enough to run some commands but not enough to understand what would happen.

    People who are likely to mess up a server through the GUI are likely to mess one up through a command line.

    As for remote administration, that's great and all but sometimes it's not that simple. Referencing a comment by someone else, above, who said that and SMB who didn't have internal technical staff should outsource, the question is: what about those who are brought in to manage the server(s)? What if you provider support for dozens of small businesses that have one or two servers on site? Where exactly are you installing these remote tools? If you need to connect to a client's server and do some quick tasks then a GUI is much easier, most of the time. Yes, you can use scripts, but they need to be customised for each client and sometimes that's just not worth the effort for small, infrequent actions.

    But again, all that is irrelevant as you can add the GUI after install so all this does is make extra work for many people.

  35. wsm

    What is a picture worth?

    If you really want to read a book, and have to type one to do what a few clicks in the GUI can do, install the server core.

    But why eliminate what can communicate so much more quickly than anything in endless text can do?

    BTW, the GUI tools don't work right on the majority of BrandX desktops out there, so if you're not logging on from a Windows system, you have to have a remote desktop to see what you're doing.

    I've always thought this fascination with typing is a self-deceptive phenomenon. You don't really do more by more finger action, you just think you did.

    1. dan1980

      Re: What is a picture worth?

      The simple fact is that it is irrelevant which you think is better. Just as it is irrelevant which I think is better.

      They haven't eliminated the option to have a GUI, just made it so it takes longer to do. So give people the option at install and everyone is happy. If you don't want the GUI then you choose the 'core' option. If you want the GUI, you choose the 'GUI' option.

      If the way you have chosen is somehow objectively worse then that's presumably your problem and I am sure you can deal with that.

  36. raving angry loony

    Other than a crowbar, there's no better way to separate the men from the goats than a command line when it comes to computing. GUI stop you from doing things correctly, and only allow you to do things pre-determined by the people who programmed them. People who don't know or understand what you or your business actually need.

    Then again, if you're using Microsoft at the deep infrastructure level you're probably using the wrong set of tools, and the GUI won't harm you any more than anything else. So yeah, they should keep the GUI. It'll keep the rabble in their place I guess.

    Why yes, I did used to have a beard and deal with Unix. Why do you ask?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows now like Linux

    After 20 years, they finally realise that having a desktop & web browser footprint by default is less secure, and that having a powerful scripting language and decent command line tools is better than not having these at all.

    The problem is, they've bred a generation of IT engineers on a desktop platform, where the pipeline of engineers comes from the Windows desktop operating system making the transition into the Server operating system, since the environment is virtually identical. They've built an ecosystem around this desktop experience on the server, and expecting all engineers to embrace the new lean GUI-free 2016 will not be welcomed by many.

    Whilst raising the bar in terms on 'entry to server' might be good for improving security and requiring more skills of the engineers running these environments, it's going to serious piss off those who have spent a career using a mouse, and serious hinder the pipeline of future server engineers.

    It seems Microsoft are intent on pissing off desktop users with massive, unnecessary GUI overhauls they didn't ask for, and pissing of server engineers by constantly moving the goal-posts on how to manage them.

  38. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Joke

    Compensating?

    Perhaps it's like the CAFE car gas mileage standards in the US. Automakers include electric and econobox cars that no one wants in their fleets to offset the poor mileage of other vehicles so it averages out.

    Perhaps Microsoft is compensating for the horridly overwrought and mostly useless GUI in Windows 8 by launching an OS with no GUI. True, there is no mandate to do so and there would be no purpose for this, but trying to understand the logic of any large corporation is like trying to analyze the plot of 1941, probably the quintessential coked-up 80s movie.

    I need to take my meds now.

  39. ScepticG

    No change to the Default install option

    Some people seem to think MS are changing the default install option, they aren't. With Windows Server 2012 R2 the default install is without a GUI.

    All they're doing is removing the option to install with GUI during the initial install.

  40. Tezfair
    Unhappy

    Different needs

    If you are on a server farm, then great, have a gui less server. Thats your world, however I look after 18 or so servers for lots of small buinesses and there's many times I have been no where near a computer to allow remote access so I have had to talk through simple tasks for a 'competent' person whos day job is not IT. The GUI allows me to visualise in my head what that person is seeing on the screen and I can ask question on what they see to ensure we are both 'looking' at the same screen.

    Another way of looking at it is, I want to check something quickly, eg, a forwarder on DNS (random example). couple of clicks im in, checked and out.

    I use a little powershell. I get it's usefullness, however, could I remember every single command synax / switch for every part of the server, formed in my head with a guarantee I can reliabilly relay that to said competent person whilst driving around the roads and it works without causing some problems? No

    Also, all this 'remote administration' is fine, but what if your NIC(s) fail?

    1. JEDIDIAH

      Re: Different needs

      So what you are saying is that you really just never adapted to the brave new world of Powershell. You could have this all wired by now (or just use someone else's toolbox) but you've just never bothered.

      GUIs are nice but they change too much or get booted in favor of something like Metro or Unity.

      They have a habit of going missing in future versions or changing their behavior.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Different needs

      > there's many times I have been no where near a computer to allow remote access

      Surely any self-respecting admin has an SSH client on his phone for exactly those occasions?

  41. Pascal

    I'm surprised at the reactions

    Reading this thread, I'm genuinely surprised at the way people are reacting.

    For years it seems the "GUI on a server is bad" sentiment has prevailed, and now the sentiment I get from this thread is "Not installing the GUI by default on a server is a slap in the face to small businesses".

    I get why many people want the GUI. Lots of interactive crap in the server world still, especially in the small business sector and in legacy apps.

    But isn't it enough that it exists as an option? You want it, install it, otherwise you shouldn't?

    It seems that defaulting to "it's not there" is a push in the right direction, and having the ability to still add it fully serves everybody that wants it for any reason, be it legacy services or inertia / preference?

    I'm personally biased towards the no GUI side, evolved naturally from managing servers at the other end of a very slow link, went from VNC (way back) to RDP, then to running the managemetn apps locally, to "ok, so I only ever again use the GUI to install the server and critical updates" and selectively moved to core installs (except, yes, some legacy stuff that requires server GUI).

  42. MissingSecurity
    IT Angle

    I love it...

    I've still not actually seen any valid claim for needing a GUI yet (Especially since MS goals seems to be to get you to remotely manager servers, and ironically it can be done through a single Management Console).

    First any SMB less than 25 people that are will to fork over $800 + CALS for MS Server and can't figure out how to google (add GUI to Server) is really asking for it. (For that matter, if they paid a consultant to to suggest that, they were probably robbed).

    Second, maybe it's time for consultants to not have (1) dimension. It just might be time for some education, for both you and your customers. I presume MS will be sticking there fingers in the Technical Colleges soon to tell all the mold-able minds that this the "way of the future" and young IT pros will be be learning this anyway.

    Lastly, I think this is hilarious that "Sysadmins" and "Consultants" are having issues with this. If you are a consultant or call yourself a Sysadmin and you've con'd a SMB into purchasing the latest MS server because you can't exercise other options and can't provide the CMD line for your client you deserve to be tackled and urinated on

    (Let me help, it will probably be Add-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra, I think they also have a CMD GUI).

  43. bigbobthunda

    You know what would be cool

    I personally think getting the gui off of a server is best if there aren't any type of applications on there that need the gui.

    But, you know what would be cool is if there was an option to quickly enable and disable the gui. I'm not talking about the complete install and uninstall that you do through server manager.

    Just a simple cmdlet like Enable-GUI and the desktop pops on. Then Disable-GUI and it's gone and completely disabled (i.e. no security holes and just the same as if the gui was uninstalled), or if you log off then it is disabled. Seems like that would be great for quick installs or infrequent tasks/troubleshooting and limit the risk associated with a gui.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because running a fileserver on a core server is fun.

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