Unix-tools for Windows -- by Eugene Reimer 2002-Feb


If you run the Windows operating-system, and wish to use Unix tools like grep and sed, or if you need to run "bash" scripts, then you'll need to install one of the suites of "Unix Tools for Windows".

CYGWIN, from www.cygwin.com, is the most comprehensive such suite.  It will give you the chance to specify which components to install;  in addition to the required components, I advise selecting at least the following:
bash, bc, coreutils, csplit, diffutils, file, gawk, grep, gzip, iconv, joe, less, make, man, sed, tar, unzip, wget, which, zip. 
("make" is an essential tool for any programming task; "bash" is the program you need to run Unix scripts; some supplied scripts also need grep, sed, gawk, diff, bc; "joe" is a text-editor in case you don't have a suitable one; unzip and zip are command-line tools for working with zip-files; less is an enhanced "more" for reading text-files; man is the documentation reader, with the same searching as "less", for example "man sed" tells you how to use sed.)  Note: having CYGWIN will often allow you to use a Unix version of software rather than a Windows version, and since a lot of free software is developed by Penguins this can be useful; for example Unix ICON is newer than Windows ICON although the author knows of no improvements worth mentioning. 

An alternative to Cygwin is to install UnxUtils plus UnxUpdates from unxutils.sourceforge.net;  this is a much smaller package, so you'll just install everything.  It should be simpler to install, and to configure.  Another alternative MinGW from www.mingw.org includes the genuine bash shell, as used by most Unix/Linux users.  Its approach resembles UnxUtils more than Cygwin, and should also be reasonably easy to get going.  (Feedback will be appreciated.)

Cygwin Drive-letter Mapping:
To do anything in Cygwin you need to know how it maps the Windows Drive-letters into Unix-style filenames.  C: becomes /cygdrive/c, D: becomes /cygdrive/d, etc; for example a directory known in Windows as C:\books becomes /cygdrive/c/books. 


Send your questions, suggestions, feedback to ereimer@shaw.ca.