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This article needs a section on misfeatures or disadvantages. Cygwin has rapidly begun killing off one of its original missions, that is, being a source of Unix program ports to DOS/Windows. With the extensive use of "symbolic links", that only the supplied Cygwin bash shell understands, Cygwin is turning into a pure Unix emulator, which is completely pointless. If you want a Linux emulator, use Linux. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 24 December 2010 (UTC)


Article says cygwin works on 95/98 and 2000/nt but how about xp? official site doesn't mention it. --Anonymous

'XP' now in article. and see 'What versions of Windows are supported?' -- Maru Dubshinki
 :: Windows 95/98/ME won't be supported anymore, here is the announcement on the Cygwin mailing-list: -- Nicolas.cuissard 22:24, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Could somebody give some information how easy it is to install cgywin? --HJH

I installed it without a problem. The tutorial on their website is *very* easy to follow, and if all else fails you can ask for help on the official Cygwin IRC channel. I don't need it for much but as a rookie *nix user it was pretty smooth all around. --goatasaur

Are you asking for information in the article? I actually thought it was kind of difficult compared to Mozilla's net-installer's. Mozilla downloads, installs, launches pretty much automatically.
1. Cygwin..
Cygwin's setup and updater are in one. First you select ftp.. set local download folders (one for packages, and one for the base) then you select packages (this is the hard part.. should have just kept the defaults although I think the defaults was all.) then it downloads.
If it runs out of disk space it may crash.
Once you get a "download successful", you then re-run setup. (it will exit.)
It then installs the packages, puts an icon on your desktop and start menu (at your option), and lauches cygwin.
On my machine, I found the setup to be highly unstable. As a result, after searching the mailing list archives through google, I downloaded a more recent "snapshot" of setup: (the latest actually):
This works perfectly, and hey setup can't have too many bugs, or be compiled into binary too often so you're fine as far as introducing problems by using the latest snapshot.
I'm going to add some useful Cygwin tips that I always forget and have to re-learn every time I do a Cygwin install. --User:William Frantz 18:50, Apr 1, 2005 (UTC)
Should those tips be there? This is an encyclopedia, not really a tutorial or help page. You could link to a page of tips, maybe? -- Maru Dubshinki 01:35 Sunday, April 17 2005
I agree the tips should be killed. If you want set it up on a seperate HTML server, or post it in some forum of of Wiki and link to it, but the tips don't belong. Plus they contradict the Cygwin official FAQ 1 where it directs you to not install in C:\cygwin. I didn't read all but it's irrelevant (clearly someone did not read at all, since you incorrectly quote the FAQ: it directs you to not install in C:\; C:\cygwin is, indeed, the default directory), the fact is everyone likes things differently and so it should be on a seperate site(if you disagree you'd further prove my point that people like things setup differently;ergo, proving yourself wrong). Hehe, anyway I do think they should be somewhere else. (one last point, vi/m kicks all other editors *****... :P ) :)

--Capi crimm 05:40, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

I also agree these should be removed or sent elsewhere. Wikibooks? -- 14:17, 24 July 2005 (UTC)


Can RedHat run inside Cygwin? Or any other distrobutions?

No. Cygwin is not Linux and does not run Linux programs, though many programs which were written for Linux can be ported to Cygwin very easily. You may be thinking of CoLinux, which is a way to run Linux distributions in Windows. — Haeleth Talk 21:48, 16 November 2005 (UTC)


How is Cygwin's name pronounced? Would it be beneficial to include it in this article?

Personally, I've always said it like "SIJE-win," though I'm not familiar with the international phonetic alphabet. Maybe we could put the pronunciation after the name, similar to how many other articles in which the pronunciation isn't very important would do it? Mpeg4codec 14:46, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

According to [1], it's "SIG-win" (in IPA, [ˈsɪɡwɪn]) - i.e. the syllables are pronounced the same as in CYGnus and WINdows. — Haeleth Talk 10:32, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
I copied that info to the article. --Supercoop 16:02, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Number of files[edit]

Beware, that if you plan on deleting Cygwin, your XP will have hard times. :)

Use rm itself to remove Cygwin, as in rm -f \cygwin (outside of the cygwin directory of course) Its not Cygwin's fault that Windows is braindamaged. Copy rm.exe somewhere else to do this, if it fails you will have sawed off the branch you are sitting on. Really necessary if you accidently corrupt Cygwin or it is reallllly old.

Emulator? What?[edit]

Wouldn't it be incorrect to call this an emulator? My understanding is that it just places a POSIX layer over the top of windows, and it uses binaries compiled especially for it.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:26, 8 March 2007

It's a compatibility layer really, and as such it's got a valid claim to being a software emulator. Maybe we should change the infoboxy cat though. Chris Cunningham 13:33, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The problem I have with "compatibility layer" is that it is usually used for vendor approved solutions that often take advantage of dedicated OS features to provide the compatibility. I'll call cygwin an emulator until the day MS provides a workable fork. Perhaps emulator would be a good mix. John Vandenberg 13:43, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Ick. I hate links which go to the "wrong" place though. Chris Cunningham 14:01, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
An Emulator as described in Wikipedia as 'Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program or electronic device to imitate another program or device'. Is Cygwin imitating something, or is it just Cygwin? Do all flavours of Unix imitate the first one and therefore they are all Emulators? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:18, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Infinite recursion! I love it, sound just Unix-like enough for me!
To actually *add* something to the discussion, what about "emulation layer"? Or did I miss that someplace? Renaissongsman (talk) 20:10, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Cygwin is not an emulator for the following reasons:
* Cygwin is not emulating hardware, rather the software is compiled for the architecture it is executed on (so not hardware emulation)
* Software must be compiled to use Cygwin specifically (so it is not a software emulator)
* Only Linux to Windows API translation is provided by Cygwin (thereby making it a compatibility layer)
* Sources: Compatibility layer , Emulator , RedHat Cygwin website
kf4yfd (talk) 06:00, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Cygwin didn't used to be an emulator, but they are turning it into one. They are now forcing you to use their shell and their Unix filesystem emulation/simulation/whatever. It stinks. I just want vi, ssh scp and other toys without being forced into this weird pseudo-unix shell. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:32, 24 December 2010 (UTC)


It might be noted that Cygwin does not support Unicode filenames without usage of Suzuki Hisao's patch:

Whelkman 17:13, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


Cygwin is a large complex package, confusing to install. Set aside at least a day, and don't expect it to be easy. It uses an "active setup" download/install manager that is complex. The base download is about 15MB, and the full download is much bigger. It is hard to know how much of the whole thing you will need for various purposes. The have announced that they intend to stop supporting Win9x. It is unclear how you might be able to access the last-best-compatible versions when that happens, so install now on older systems. - 00:58, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Is it true that there's no newsgroup for discussing Cygwin, that its setup.exe can't be used without a mouse, and that there's no way to use it to run programs which aren't offered by setup.exe, such as slrn? Unfree (talk) 09:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
No, use can try to compile them from their sources. ./configure && make all install _Vi (talk) 20:38, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
And about newsgroups, there are several mailing lists with a similar usage. Expect to be ridiculed and flamed. Their 12 years old mail list system ezmlm is slow, perhaps delaying on purpose. (talk) 19:49, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

See also rewritten[edit]

I've made a start rewriting the see also section in prose. As it was really a reference section with a list of alternatives and extensions, I've renamed and structured it accordingly.

Henk Langeveld (talk) 22:33, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Portal:Free software: Cygwin is now the selected article[edit]

Just to let you know. The purpose of selecting an article is both to point readers to the article and to highlight it to potential contributors. It will remain on the portal for a week or so. The previous selected article was Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X - a defunct GNU/Linux distribution which played a key role in the history of free software in the 1990s.

For other interesting free software articles, you can take a look at the archive of PF's selectees. --Gronky (talk) 09:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Things have moved on, as usual. The new selectee is GStreamer, the multimedia and streaming architecture for GNOME. If anyone wants to improve that article, it could benefit from being de-tech-ised. --Gronky (talk) 14:54, 6 February 2008 (UTC)


Is there any cygwin kiwi-site? --Mac (talk) 14:45, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Please explain[edit]

I'm not a technical user, and I find this article too technical to understand the basic things I came here to find out. Primarily, what do I need to install to make something like pdfedit work, and what else might cygwin do once I've installed it? (talk) 21:47, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

obvious discrepancy - Other UNIX emulators for Windows[edit]

"Toolsets like ... UnxUtils ... aim to provide a complete POSIX like environment ... UnxUtils only provides a subset ..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Alternatives to Cygwin (suggested changes)[edit]

Making some pretty major changes here, so I thought I'd post it here and wait a couple days for comments. Particular problems I'm trying to address here:

  • Split "Other UNIX emulators for Windows", to eliminate the contradiction noted above.
    • Other UNIX emulation layers -- clone the UNIX APIs, allowing UNIX tools to be built without major porting.
    • UNIX utility ports -- UNIX utilities ported to build against Windows (and high-level cross-platform) APIs.
  • The Wine & company section is a mess; splitting to deal with:
    • Wine is not "radically different"; it's actually a close analog.
    • Virtualization engines are not limited to Windows emulation on *NIX
    • coLinux is not Windows emulation on Linux; it's Linux with NT, but NT has all the hardware; closer to Linux on Windows than Windows on Linux. I'm putting it with virtualization, for now.
      • In my experience, the term coLinux is used much more than Cooperative Linux, so that change is not accidental; however, it's quite open to reversal.

Proposed text between rules:

Several open-source and proprietary alternatives are available for people who need simultaneous access to both MS Windows and UNIX environments on the same hardware.

Other UNIX emulators for Windows[edit]

Toolsets like Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX, MKS Toolkit, and UWIN aim to provide a POSIX like environment, as does Cygwin. They implement at least a shell and a number of UNIX utilities, including the familiar UNIX compiler tools, including make and the cc commandline interface to the C programming environment, with UNIX API implementations.

Ports of UNIX utilities for Windows[edit]

MinGW provides the a GNU toolchain for building against native Windows APIs. A number of compilations of UNIX utilities ported to Windows exist, including UnxUtils and GnuWin32. They typically implement a shell and some UNIX utilities, but lack UNIX APIs and some UNIX development tools. The utilities may be run on any Windows machine, however, without requiring compatibility libraries to be loaded. Some applications may be developed based on high-level cross-platform toolkits such as Qt, GTK+, or PWLib, allowing those applications to be compiled on either platform and provide users with the same experience.

Windows emulation on UNIX[edit]

Where Cygwin is a UNIX implementation for Windows, Wine provides a reimplementation of the Windows API and ABI for Unix-like systems. The implementation of the ABI provides binary compatibility for Windows DLLs, as well as closed-source Windows applications.


Virtualization engines allow OSes including Windows, Linux, and UNIX to run concurrently on top of a hypervisor. The hypervisor may run directly on hardware, as with Xen, or run under a host OS, as VMware, which itself could be Windows or Unix-like. A special virtualization technique is used in coLinux to run Windows NT and Linux kernels concurrently on the same processor. While many Linux programs can run natively, all hardware access is performed through Windows, which prevents Linux programs (such as an X server) from running at all. Some devices are virtualized in Windows and accessible with special drivers from Linux, while others can only be accessed with ordinary network protocols through a virtual network interface.

Comments? As I said, I'll push it out to the article in a couple days, if everyone thinks it's good. (talk) 23:59, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


Why is this article listed as Free educational software? (talk) 00:30, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Good question. I've removed that category. —me_and 13:15, 6 January 2016 (UTC)