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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Wednesday April 12, 2006
01:07 AM

Survey: Why do you use cygwin?

[ #29290 ]

With your help, I'd like to try a thought experiment.

Lets imagine for a moment that the native Win32 compatibility was perfect. All the modules, all the functionality, they all Just Work.

Would you still want to use cygwin? It cygwin "just" a crutch to get around things that doesn't work natively? Or do you (personally) really need it for something else? Or do you just really like using it? Is it a fix for your Unix withdrawal syndrome?

Or would you be happy to see it gone if it wasn't needed to make certain modules work more easily?

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  • There are several applications I use in Cygwin besides Perl. X Windows is the most important for work. ssh would be the next important. Having a command line shell to develop with is another. With older versions of Windows, grep was also an important addition. Finally, having a working free C compiler that's a relatively small download is a nice bonus.
    •   <aol>Me Too!</aol>
      Cygwin's X server is enourmously useful. I actually use the rest of it relatively little. But it is occasionally useful to have zsh, ssh and rsync there when you need them.

      -Dom

    • From the original post, I did not even understand that Perl was at issue. I do use Cygwin for Perl, but primarily I use Cygwin for UNIX. And I'd say even more than that I use Cygwin for continuous improvement: even if Microsoft magically today made some kind of perfect UNIX compatibility (including perfect Perl and perfect X), I would continue to use Cygwin, because "perfect" is a moving target, and while the Cygwin and open source people understand that, Microsoft does not, and likely never will. I use

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • One of the long term trends I see with portability is that cywgin seems to be generating a disproportionate number of bugs for it's userbase.

        So my side of the thought experiment is:

        "If Perl worked perfectly on native Win32, could we (if we chose) abandon cygwin Perl"

        And so far, the answer appears to be "maybe".

        Not that it will actually happen, I'm just trying to understand cygwin's userbase a bit more.
        • I need Perl in Cygwin. It's not that I use Cygwin because I need Perl; it's that I need Cygwin, and since I am there I of course need Perl. To me Cygwin is a platform, and it is my platform of choice (although I'd rather choose a completely open source OS).

          But it should only be maintained by somebody who is really enthusiastic about it.

          For the record, I compile my own Perl everywhere I go, including Cygwin. The days before Perl would compile cleanly on Cygwin out of the box were misery for me. I am

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I prefer bash to cmd.exe.

    I like using the same editors on my Windows machines that I use on *nix. Generally, I like working the same way under Windows that I do on *nix machines.

    I like grabbing a .tar.gz file off the net, ./configure and make it and it just works. That happens more often than you might think with cygwin.

    That being said, I do experience a lot of cygwin fatigue. They've made some questionable decisions down through the years and refuse to revisit or discuss them.
  • Having a single Perl installation where all modules worked would be great. Windows is not as bad as the haters make it out to be.

    I still wouldn't sacrifice the power of the *nix command line.

    I feel that the Windows marketers decided a long time ago to target people that were not interested in how things worked. The number of "us" is far smaller than the number of business people out there that want to point and click. As a result, they invest much more in developing applications that can be controlled th
  • Lets imagine for a moment that the native Win32 compatibility was perfect. All the modules, all the functionality, they all Just Work.

    I don't use native Win32 compatibility, and likely never will except in unusual situations. I don't want to be on Windows if I can help it. I don't use anything Windows offers if I can help it. I can't function without making it look like UNIX.

    Would you still want to use cygwin?

    Yes.

    It cygwin "just" a crutch to get around things that doesn't work natively?

    No

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I currently use MSYS, of the MinGW [mingw.org] stable, for my Unix compatible tools, but if it wasn't for that, I'd be using Unxutils [sourceforge.net] instead.

    I've used Cygwin for a while, but there's too much voodoo for my taste. I don't know exactly what it needs to make it work. And sometimes, if it works, it still does the wrong thing, especially for line endings.

    So I'm glad for the alternatives.
  • I used not to have my own computer, so cygwin
    allowed me to push Windows back. Now with
    computers sitting around at school unused, I
    installed linux on them.

    I still ssh in from a Windows machine, but
    whereas in the past I was doing that from a
    cygwin bash shell, I recently started using
    PuTTY, and so I'm now not using cygwin at all.

    If I were forced back off these other computers,
    I would start using it again, however.