A ream of questions

Eliot Moss moss@cs.umass.edu
Sat Dec 28 03:02:00 GMT 2013

On 12/27/2013 9:05 PM, Andrey Repin wrote:

>> Q: Why doesn't cygwin use an emacs as its frontend instead of a dosshell?
> What is "dosshell"? Whatever it is, Cygwin doesn't use it. It use either
> native Windows console or it's own mintty by default.

I think the OP may have meant cmd.exe.  To discuss this topic further,
I think you need to distinguish the *shell* from the tty/console/editor
it runs inside of to display its input, etc.

You can easily get emacs-style command line editing.

The purpose of cygwin as a library is to enable the relatively easy
porting to Windows of many/most Unix programs.  Roughly speaking,
it translates Unix library/system calls into Windows calls.  It is not
possible to hide every difference, but it does a pretty good job of
offering a Unix-like environment to those familiar with Unix.

To that end, the typical "front end" is bash (a Unix shell) running
inside some terminal/screen program, typically mintty or the Windows
console, but if you run X, you can have xterm, etc.

>> Q: Why don't we work on setting up a full blown tutorial system with a set
>> of shell scripts and documentation segregation so that newbies can grok The
>> Hacker's Dreaming?
> You're very welcome.

I think maybe Andre was saying "you're very welcome to do that", i.e.,
"be my guest".  However, most program have "man" pages, as on Unix.

>> Q: Why doesn't Cygwin do something similar to Cpan?
> And what exactly that supposed to mean?

Cpan is a subsystem for loading perl libraries and building them.
cygwin has a setup utility for downloading already-built versions
of a considerable range of programs that are maintained by a group
of mostly volunteer maintainers.  There are even more programs
available via cygports, which has a similar download/setup utility.

>> Q: Why is "#!>help" so useless? Why doesn't it get fixed to act more like
>> the old DOS help?
> Explain, what you mean, especially, what you mean by "dos help"?

bash has a builting help command, for giving terse/reminder help on
bash's own commands.  For other things, use the "man" command, for
example, "man ls" will give you the man page for ls, etc.

Hope this helps.  Not sure what you were expecting, but it sounds
a little different from what cygwin is aiming to deliver.  However,
maybe what cygwin does is what you want/need, even if you don't
clearly realize it yet :-) ...

Regards -- Eliot Moss

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