PowerShell Team Eyes AI LLM Integration in Shell

PowerShell seems to be one of Microsoft's few software holdouts that doesn't have its own Copilot AI assistant, but that might change this year.

In fact, "Intelligence in the shell" is being eyed by the dev team, which this week outlined PowerShell investments in 2024 along with OpenSSH plans.

"We are observing and being thoughtful about what it will mean to integrate the experiences provided by large language models [LLMs] into shell experience," said Steve Lee of the PowerShell team. "Our current outlook is to think beyond natural language chat to deep integration of learning opportunities."

How that would work -- or what it means -- isn't explained.

The team's AI plans were foreshadowed as Microsoft continues to infuse Copilot AI assistants across the entire breadth of its products and services, even the Windows OS.

With Copilots springing up everywhere, there have been other efforts to pair PowerShell with AI, such as Microsoft guidance to "Automate Text Summarization with OpenAI and PowerShell" and "PowerShell and AI: Using ChatGPT with PowerShell to Automate Tasks." There's even an AI Tools & PowerShell thread on Reddit. Another thread, PowerShell + GitHub Copilot = Better Together, was started by Doug Finke, who also created the PowerShell AI Assistant project on GitHub, resulting in the PowerShellAI offering available in the PowerShell Gallery..

What's more, Microsoft's Scott Hanselman last year publicized the "GitHub Copilot for CLI for PowerShell" and pointed to the GitHub Next project, Copilot for CLI.

Copilot for CLI
[Click on image for larger view.] Copilot for CLI (source: GitHub).

"Now it's not perfect, but hopefully it will make the point to the Copilot CLI team that PowerShell needs love also," Hanselman said.

In the meantime, Microsoft's PowerShell dev team is taking matters into its own hands and planning some AI self love, though somewhat amorphously.

"We also believe there are lots of improvements to the interactivity of PowerShell that does not require a large language model," Lee continued in this week's post about PowerShell and OpenSSH plans. "This includes some more subtle improvements to the interactive experience of PowerShell that would help increase productivity and efficiency at the command line."

So far, that's all we know about any possible PowerShell Copilot.

Other PowerShell and OpenSSH plans for 2024 include "pseudo-terminal support," described as "an experimental feature to leverage pseudoterminals to enable PowerShell to capture the output of native commands while still allowing the native command to seemingly write directly to the console."

As far as platform support, the engineering team this year will focus on:

  • Making tests reliable so the team only expends manual effort investigating real issues when test fails
  • Simplify the addition of new platforms to the team's test matrix so new distro requests can be fulfilled more quickly
  • More actively track the lifecycle of supported platforms
  • Automate publishing the supported platforms list to ensure up-to-date documentation

Other plans include tackling artifact management on several fronts along with work concerning configuration, remoting, the help system, fixing bugs and handling community pull requests, and maintaining other projects including:

  • VSCode extension
  • PSScriptAnalyzer module
  • ConsoleGuiTools module
  • TextUtility module
  • PSReadLine module
  • SecretManagement module

Stay tuned to find out what the team means by thinking "beyond natural language chat to deep integration of learning opportunities."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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