Support text-oriented configuration management
... in a folder at C:\config containing text files (and perhaps a similar folder in the user's home directory). Changing those text files would directly apply changes to Windows settings. Services could read those files directly or use a Windows text-based configuration management API.
Text-oriented configuration has many advantages: it makes devops-style workflows much more simple, entire server configurations could be versioned in git or svn along with the apps they host, spinning up new servers would be much simpler, and tools like Chef and Puppet would integrate far more smoothly and simply with Windows.
I suggest this as a parallel to the Command Prompt team's plans to support alternate shells. PowerShell is primarily API-oriented, whereas standard *nix shells (and accompanying scripting languages/tools, like Perl, awk, sed, etc.) are text-oriented. Imagine a Perl script that could install and configure Apache on both Windows and Linux, or a Ruby script that could alter a power user's monitor configuration without hitting any Windows APIs!
Roy Tinker commented
Thanks Sebastian. I'm currently familiarizing myself with DSC.
One thing I'd like to point out -- as far as I can tell, DSC still doesn't match the experience offered on Linux/Unix-based systems. For example, as far as I know, there are no standard text files present by default (other than the hosts file and others in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\*) that users can modify and expect the machine's configuration to change.
I envision a future version of Windows 10 (and Windows Server) having a C:\config directory present by default, containing text files that correspond to the machine's default configuration; modifying these files would have the effect of changing the machine's configuration.
Sebastian N. commented
Roy, DSC has been around for two years now, you better check it out.
Roy, you need to look at PowerShell DSC. (Perl to configure Windows Server with settings files? That simply doesn't make any sense and it's not going to happen.)