Cygwin allows us to run commands and Linux applications on Windows operating systems.
Windows is without any doubt the most used Operating System worldwide in desktop computers. Thanks to this, Windows has a multitude of tools and programs available to meet the needs of a large part of its users. However, there are certain tools and utilities that are better developed in other Operating Systems. This is the case of Linux, which stands for the quantity and quality of available tools.
Thanks to Cygwin we can use a great number of Linux Operating System tools and commands on Windows. For example, we can run: ls, vim, joe, ftp, gcc, etc.
Installing this software is simple. The installer gives us the option to install the software directly, or download the files needed for installation and install it later. This is because the installation files can take up a lot of space and take a long time to download.
To make the installation of the program, we must have administrator privileges, if we don't have admin privileges we need to install it using the following command in Windows Terminal: 32-bit version: “setup-x86.exe --non-admin”. 64-bit version: “setup-x86_64.exe --non-admin”.
When we launch installation, we should select download “mirror” location to download necessary packages. We need to choose a mirror that is near to our location. For example, if we are in Europe, we can use Netherlands mirrors that tend to be very fast. In that case we must find those mirrors that contain “nl” in the URL. If the installation fails we can select other “mirror” from the list.
Once we have selected download “mirror”, we should select packages that we're going to install. The packages are organized in categories. By default Cygwin installs only packages in “Base” category, which are the essential packages. There are a multitude of packages categories such as: audio, databases, games, graphics, KDE, perl, python, ruby, system, shells, video, web, and more.
We should not worry about packages dependencies, because the program automatically detects it and allow us to select dependencies needed to install the packages.
Once installed, if we launch it, we will see that we have a Linux shell-style. In this shell (command console or terminal), we can run common Linux operating systems commands. For example, we can access file system, and we can navigate it using Linux commands. If we want to access “C:” drive, we must enter “/cygdrive/c” path , so we can make use of commands like grep, ls, or any other. For example, we can run “df-h” to see total space, free and used space in hard disks.
There are exclusive Cygwin “ports”, so we can install a multitude of software in this environment. It's not restricted to command line tools, we can also install window managers, such as KDE, Gnome or MATTE, which opens a wide range of possibilities.
Thanks to this program we will be able to have a Linux environment on Windows without the use of a Virtual machine.
The program is free and can be used without any restriction or limitation.