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What would be the best way to get the full-blown Unix/Linux bash inside Windows?

I don't mean the Virtual Machine, but rather only the terminal with mounted NTFS drives.

This way I could use the power of Unix/Linux still being on Windows.

The things I want to be able to do from the terminal:

  • Package management (apt-get in Debian).
  • SSH.
  • File operations (including grub and similar).
  • Run a web server (Apache, nginx) for testing purposes.
  • Easy to use: start terminal - Linux is on, end terminal - Linux is shut down.
  • Would be nice to be able to copy-paste from Windows into Terminal and vice versa.

This really feels like a separate OS and I realize that VM would, probably, be the best thing. But I guess it should be possible to have a lighter installation.

THE NOTE: I cannot just use Linux because of I still need to do development on Windows. Also I am a Linux noobie - just getting started with it so sorry if asking something obvious/stupid.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 8 '10 at 22:56

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I would argue that if you are a "Linux noobie", it would be better to go completely to linix if even for only a couple weeks. This will force you to learn. Then if you want to you can return to the dark side. +1 good question though. –  sixtyfootersdude Mar 26 '10 at 21:07

5 Answers 5

up vote 13 down vote accepted

cygwin does everything you're looking for.

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Well, it does everything you're looking for ~sort of~. It does not replace the real thing imo, but it's definitely the closest you get on Windows (unless you are willing to virtualize). –  ChristopheD Mar 8 '10 at 22:53
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except apt-get -- cygwin has its own package system –  Ben Voigt Mar 8 '10 at 22:54
    
Does cygwin handle file management on its own virtual partition? Or does it handle it on Window's partitions? –  Bruce Connor Dec 17 '10 at 15:29
    
@Bruce, cygwin shares all of the windows disks. –  Carl Norum Dec 17 '10 at 16:24

If you want lighter than a VM but more faithful behavior than cygwin, there's colinux.

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From the homepage ~~In its current condition, it allows us to run the KNOPPIX Japanese Edition on Windows~~ Which is nice if you speak Japanese :) Or have i misread that statement? –  ChristopheD Mar 8 '10 at 22:56
    
You can run any distribution you like. I used it for a dual-boot installation of gentoo years ago, colinux is much more mature now. The only reason I don't use it anymore is lack of 64-bit support. –  Ben Voigt Mar 14 '10 at 21:20

If what concerns you most is the bash scripting functionality, then there is also Windows PowerShell.

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not even close .. –  hasenj Mar 9 '10 at 6:10

I wonder what exactly you mean by a 'lighter' installation. Really, if you used a hypervisor for your VMs, like ESXi on a modern machine with the VT-x (intel) or AMD-V (AMD) you will have close to native speed. Either way you go, cygwin or virtualization, is a compromise. Cygwin might be a bit easier, though it is a port of the bash shell and some utilities, and thus not nearly as powerful as a full linux install in a VM. Also picking the right linux distro would be important for your particular situation.

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