First of all, let me say that there is some currency to what the title and pictures imply.
Cygwin/X really has come a long way. 10 years ago, the only viable way to run Cygwin was through a DOS-style UNIX shell. The windows system Cygwin/X provided, such as it was, was mostly TWM, a primitive window manager which I used to use, which ran the core programs in the X-Windows distribution. Most of what came with Cygwin, such as Gnome or KDE, never worked for me, making me an FVWM2 fan for a long time. Along the way, I appreciated that while FVWM2 was very stripped-down, it made up for it in flexibility and configurability. Even now, FVWM2 is quite liveable.
I decided yesterday to upgrade Cygwin on one of my older computers, and after working past some glitches in installation, found that:
- If you have your guard down, you may still install packages you hadn’t intended, particularly the TeX language packs for languages and alphabet systems that you know you will never use. Minutes can turn to hours with postinstall scripts running trying to configure these redundant packages.
Mate is recent addition to Cygwin, and actually works on my slow system in 2016. In fact, I am using the Midori web browser to edit this blog under Mate in Cygwin/X.
- GIMP was once a graphics program you had to compile; now it is intallable for Cygwin as its own package.
- When moving my old
distribution to another drive, I found a ton of permision problems which were caused by compiling the source for various downloaded code as another user – not the owner of the directory.
- I now have a good system, with much more functionality than ever before. Cygwin has gone from a system that was “mostly broken” to “mostly working” in the space of 10 or so years.