I often get asked by others how to get started with Linux and the command line when coming from a Windows background. This is typically because I am constantly telling developers they would be more effective if they did so. While this commonly happens, I still struggle to answer this question. Linux is not something I can easily recommend to someone with only Windows experience. Certainly, live CDs like Knoppix and distros like Ubuntu are slowly changing that but I still feel uncomfortable recommending jumping right into Linux. I simply do not want to be responsible for setting someone up for a bad experience with Linux.

That brings us to the point of this post: Cygwin. From the site: “Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows.” Think of it as a way to get your feet wet with Linux without leaving your comfortable Windows. Training wheels, if you will. It will introduce you to most of the tools you’ll find at the command line under Linux and allow you to give them a test drive risk free. If you’re a developer who has only ever worked with tools on Windows, I can not fully express how much Cygwin can change your life and work for the better. I will openly admit that it will be work to become proficient at the command line but the productivity gains are definitely worth it.

One Response to “Cygwin”

  1. Bombinator Game Development » Blog Archive » Cygwin: Bash Prompt Here Says:

    […] I’ve already discussed it is quite easy to get yourself a nice little shell called Cygwin on Windows. Once you start using […]

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