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When I run the perforce login command in a cygwin shell running inside a mintty terminal emulator, the password prompted by perforce is visible--as I type the characters that make up my password, the characters get echoed right back to the password prompt.

$ p4 login Enter password: abc123

I'm not sure which actor here is in charge of displaying and reading the password prompt: perforce? cygwin? or mintty?

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You may want to use the Cygwin build (discontinued from May 1, 2013):

http://www.perforce.com/downloads/perforce/r11.1/bin.cygwinx86/p4.exe

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