Cygwin is a set of tools that provide Linux and POSIX functionality to Windows.
- Cygwin runs on many different versions of Windows, on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
- Cygwin brings thousands of standard Linux tools to Windows users.
- Cygwin gives you the ability to run many common Linux and POSIX commands on a Windows-based system. This can provide you with a simpler, more familiar environment for learning to use some Linux commands.
- Cygwin allows you to pick and choose which tools you install. Install as much or as little as you need, then add and remove components as required.
- Because Cygwin is a set of tools, you can create your own programs and tools based on and using Cygwin functionality.
- The licensing aspect of Cygwin is complicated. Cygwin is composed of many parts. Some are licensed under X11, some are public domain and some are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
- The resources behind Cygwin are only available part-time to support it. They will respond to issues on an "as best they can" basis.
- Some anti-virus software conflicts with the Cygwin setup process, and there are dozens of common security and system tools that are known to interfere with Cygwin.
- There is some core functionality that is incompatible between Linux and Windows, such as user naming principles, case-sensitivity for file names and drive access methodologies. Cygwin bridges the gap between the different paradigms where possible, but not everything works exactly the same in Linux and Cygwin.
Cygwin is a straightforward way to make Linux and Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) functionality available on a Windows computer. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Cygwin that run on many newer versions of Windows. There are many Linux tools that don't exist in Windows, and Cygwin brings thousands of those tools to Windows users. You can install it if you aren't an administrator on your computer by using the "--no-admin" option and still gain much of the functionality for your Windows user. To add or remove functionality, simply run the setup program again and specify the tool you wish to add or remove. There are also development tools available in Cygwin that make the Cygwin API available from the Windows console and GUI. This allows for integrating some Linux functionality into Windows-based applications. Comprehensive documentation is available in either HTML or PDF format, and it does a good job of making Cygwin's Linux-like functionality palatable for Windows users.