Like Unix, only on Windows

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a Windows programmer by day. Yesterday, after typing “l” (my alias for ls -lF) and “cat” in a DOS windows for the 20th time in 2 minutes, I finally snapped. I went Googling for a Unix-on-windows solution. I’ve used Cygwin before, but it seemed a bit klunky and limited. Well, no more.

I didn’t find anything except reference to Cygwin. I finally decided to download it again and give it a whirl. I must say, it’s come a long way. There’s alot of good packages available now, including Python, Perl, Emacs, and XFree86… rootless, fullscreen, with external window manager, you name it. And the installer handles dependancies seemlessly.

One of my first complaints with the old cygwin was that the shell runs inside a DOS window, so you are limited to 80 columns. That still applies, but now I can run an X Server and used xterm instead. It works wonderfully… and since I can run DOS commands as well, I’ll probably retire CMD.EXE completely. I can also retire Exceed, the X server we use at work to connect to our Solaris machines. Once I got xhost configured, I can just rsh from my box to the remote system, set my DISPLAY, and go.

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