I have an MSYS installation on my Windows machine.

Inside the root folder, there are two executables:

  • msys2.exe
  • mingw64.exe

(There is also a mingw32.exe but that is just the 32-bit version of mingw64, I believe).

Both executables launch a terminal window, that seem identical to me, apart from the fact that $PATH reports slight differences.

What is the difference between these two, and what is the purpose of each?

  • IIRC, packages in the msys2 repo relies on msys-runtime, which is a POSIX emulation engine (a bit like a libc but in the form of a translation layer, I think) forked from Cygwin, to work, while MINGW packages are more or less compiled as native Windows programs / libraries.
    – Tom Yan
    May 12, 2021 at 12:04


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