Linux, Programming, Tools

Cygwin, a Linux-like environment for Windows

If you are an experienced Linux user who misses a powerful command-line environment in Windows, you will enjoy Cygwin.

What is Cygwin?

Cygwin is a set of powerful tools to assist developers in migrating applications from Linux to the Windows platform. Cygwin delivers the open source standard Red Hat GNU gcc compiler and gdb debugger on Windows. In addition, it provides for a standard Linux development environment on Windows including APIs and command shells.

What can Cygwin do?

With Cygwin, Windows users can easily run shell command scripts, ls, cat, grep, sed, awk, etc. Standard Windows command line tools can even be intermixed within the Linux shell script environment to administer the Windows system. Over the years, Linux system administrators have developed a large toolbox set of management scripts for their Linux machines. Cygwin provides the ability to continue using these scripts on Windows machines.

Why use Cygwin?

One of the largest problems developers face today is supporting their applications on disparate platforms. Windows workstations continue to be added to an environment already populated by Linux and other UNIX-based Operating Systems. Using Cygwin, developers can manage heterogeneous environments in a consistent, efficient way.

Installing Cygwin

First go to Cygwin’s site and select Install or update now. This will download their online installer, setup.exe. The rest will be downloaded by the installer itself.

  1. Start the installer. Click Next.
  2. Choose Install from Internet. Next.
  3. Choose root directory, keep it as it is. Next.
  4. Choose local package directory, should be the desktop as default. Next.
  5. Choose connection. If you are behind a firewall, change the settings. Next.
  6. Choose location.
  7. Choose packages.
  8. The files are now downloaded from Internet and installed.
  9. When done click the finish button.
  10. To see that the installation works, click the shortcut that was made on the desktop.
  11. A console window is opened, showing some text.
  12. Close the console window.

Tutorials

An introduction to Cygwin
Cygwin, changing the face of Windows
Cygwin Website

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