I was wondering if it is somehow technologically possible for Windows to add some sort of Linux interface? I think it would win over many programmers to develop on Windows.
Any ideas on this?
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As well as Cygwin which @ChrisF has mentioned, you can also install a collection of tools ported from Unix that run in a normal Windows environment. Two such examples:
This enables you to be in a Command Prompt and use commands such as
awk and so on. Once you've put the extracted folder in your environment path, the experience of using them is pretty seamless and blends in well:
Take a look at Cygwin. It's
a collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.
(taken from their home page).
Running Cygwin will install a number of familiar linux shells like bash and tcsh, and allow you to run the shells in Windows, but also run Linux applications directly from the Windows command line.
Make sure that all the
/bin/ directories installed in Cygwin are in your Windows PATH variable, and you can have the hybrid Windows/Linux experience from Windows. Even
MSYS is a set of GNU tools for Windows, the installer can be found here. (install only MSYS, not MinGW)
Then you'll have to add MSYS tools to your PATH variable: run
systempropertiesadvanced from the Run window (Win+R), click Environment variables and find Path variable in the lower box, add a semicolon and MSYS's path (default is
It's also nice to have bash on Windows, so you should consider adding
C:\MinGW\msys\1.0 too (bash will be launched by command
bash!). Changes will be fully applied after relogging.
Additional tools like vim can be easily googled and added in a similar manner.
Another opportunity is to use the WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux. A native bash is provided.
Besides the answers already mentioned (Cygwin is my personal favorite), Microsoft is also working to officially bring the Bash shell to Windows. It's still in beta at this point, but you can check it out here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/about. If you want to install it, you'll need Windows 10 Anniversary Update build 14393 or later.