After two long years since the last release, Cygwin 1.7 (a Linux-like environment that runs on Windows systems) has been released. Among many other improvement, this release adds support for Windows 7 and Server 2008R2.
You win some, you lose some. Support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2 was added, but you’re unlucky if you’re still running Windows 95, 98, or Me. Then again, if you’re still running any of those three, you deserve to be unlucky. Or you got bored with self-deprecation, and moved beyond it.
Of course, this release brings more than changes in platform support. For instance, the mount table is no longer stored in the registry, but has been moved to
/etc/fstab.d/$USER instead. The support for pathnames has been extended beyond the old 260 characters border. Cygwin now supports up to 4096 characters, but it will try to support even more characters, up to the Windows maximum of 32767 Unicode characters.
You can now have multiple installations of Cygwin, but you’ll have to keep them isolated. IPv6 support has also been added to the mix, and internationalisation support has been improved, and the default character set has been set to UTF-8.
The list of improvements goes on for a while, so be sure to check if your pet bug has been fixed. You can download the new release from their website, but note that if you’re upgrading from a 1.5.x release, you’ll have to do some manual labour to accommodate for the mount table changes: every user has to run
/bin/copy-user-registry-fstab once after the update.
What are the chances of MinGW and Cygwin ever merging?
While I mostly (95% for years) use MinGW for cross-porting to windows, because I like the “true” native binary without external dependencies; MSYS/MinGW seems to be a herculean effort mostly on the backs of very few people. Getting DirectX and other headers/libs is very DIY/scattered…
But *everything* works, eventually. I commonly can get cygwin ports, or just unported linux apps to compile with a few hours work (CLI, of course). But porting SDL apps is trivial.
At this point, “unofficial” gcc mingw compilers are coming out many months ahead of regular official releases, and Cygwin releases are years behind mingw (look at the gcc 4.x series).
I know MSYS/MinGW has somewhat of a different philosophy (I welcome different takes on this) than the Cygwin project, but it seems that so few talented people are able to do this level of largely non-compensated work, that it would make the most sense to pool their efforts.
In my mind it seems to be an OpenBSD vs FreeBSD type situation (to use a rough O/S analogy)…
Can anyone else share there insights/experiences with Cygwin vs MinGW, and where we can expect GCC on windows to go in the future?
I would love to have more insight into the development differences, and whether I should finally switch away from non-official MinGW builds + CodeBlocks to the larger and slower moving (?, imo) Cygwin project??
Thanks for this post!
Edited 2009-12-24 01:14 UTC