If you're like me and very much appreciate the Linux philosophy and the endless stream of useful utilities that go hand-in-hand with it, but are stuck on Windows for whatever reason, you'd probably love a way to use common Linux software on Windows. For quite a while now, Cygwin
has been available, which provides a near complete port of Linux software to Windows. For some, it's too bloated and heavy, for others too developer-centric, and yet for others is impractical because it requires admin privileges to run and isn't portable.
For some time now I've been using the MinGW
gnu toolchain on Windows. gcc may not be the best compiler around, but I believe it does an excellent job given that it's free (you really need the 4.x branch for a lot of the good stuff). Generally speaking, the MSYS environment
goes hand-in-hand with MinGW, becuase it allows you to run those painful 'configure' scripts and makefiles that come with a good portion of open source software (at least the cross-platform stuff anyway).
Recently, I've been using Ubuntu on my MSI Wind and have discovered the true depth of the Linux command line. I was ecstatic to find that MSYS as provided by the installer
is but a subset of the available utilities. If you get yourself to the download section
(two links there) on sourceforge for MinGW you'll find all the most commonly used Linux command line tools available for MSYS, which can be used standalone to provide a Linux-like shell that is fully portable and integrates well with the Windows file system without requiring administrator privileges.
Now, as if this were not enough to keep the geekiest of the geeks happy playing with his new toys for weeks, KDE (K Desktop Environment), being that it's written atop Qt, have begun porting their application suite to Windows
). Downloading only those apps considered "stable" by the dev team, I have over 80 KDE apps sitting in my start menu at the moment (don't tell the boss, but 33 of them are games
). It also appears to be portable (though I haven't tested it extensively yet).
Linux on Windows (Sans Cygwin or VM)Linux on Windows (Sans Cygwin or VM)Linux on Windows (Sans Cygwin or VM)
Hope you all enjoy, Ehtyar.