[HEADSUP] Base category

Warren Young wyml@etr-usa.com
Tue Dec 9 23:05:00 GMT 2014

On Dec 9, 2014, at 3:48 AM, Corinna Vinschen <corinna-cygwin@cygwin.com> wrote:

> On Dec  8 15:28, Warren Young wrote:
>> I’ve got in mind the 2-3 times in my memory where Perl has crept into
>> the minimal install set via some indirect dependency.
> I still don't grok why everybody is so hot on keeping the base install
> so very small.  Our Base package set is really tiny in comparison
> with any Linux distro.  Perl is default on most of them.  Why not
> for us?  Disk space is dirt cheap these days.

I agree with both sides of the argument.  A tightly-scoped minimal install is a good thing, and it would be a good thing if we could have a universally-available programming language that fills the vast gap between sh and C. [1]

While I lean toward your side, that’s only because I’ve been a Perl programmer for about 2 decades.  If I look at it impartially, I can’t say that Perl really should get a special place short of being formally included in POSIX or similar.  Otherwise, why not include Python, Ruby, Lua, Scheme…? 

It can't just be because it’s older; Scheme’s got Perl beat by a dozen years.  It’s older than Awk!

I think in the end, I look at Cygwin as more similar to a minimal server-focussed *ix than to a desktop *ix.

I believe this difference stems from the fact that Windows is a pretty capable desktop environment in its own right.  Obviously far from ideal, but I think most of those of us who use Cygwin are more interested in filling in gaps in Windows than in replacing it.

It boggles my mind how much is in the Cygwin package repository, and then how much more is in Ports.  To some extent, this has to be a reflection of Sturgeon’s Law. [2]

It is possible to install so much within Cygwin that you turn Windows into a rather slow Linux distro with a demented kernel.  If you’re going to do that, why not just switch to Linux or OS X on the desktop, and run *Windows* in a VM?

This is as good a time as any to tell anyone who cares that I’ve finally done just that: I recently retired my last machine that boots natively into Windows.  I only have VMs now.  I’ll probably be fading from the Cygwin scene as a consequence.  I expect it to be a slow fade, since I still feel the need to pay back some of the value Cygwin provided to me in the years before we got mature VM systems.

Therefore: So long, and can I help you find some fish before I go? :)

[1] This is what sparked my post to the -talk list, if it’s not clear by now.

[2] 90% of everything is crap, but we disagree on which 90% that is.

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