How To Install Xfce On Cygwin

I have been using CygWin for a few weeks, and I love it.
Now I have found CygWin Ports and, even after reading its main page, I am not sure about the differences:

  • Is CygWin Ports a collection of packages valids for my classical CygWin installation?
  • Why does de website says Use the latest Cygwin installers (at least version 2.829)? There is no such version.
  • What happens when a package conflicts (is in the CygWin repositories too)? Which one should I install?
  • Is it possible to download the CygWin Ports packages and manage them from local, just in the same way as I do with the pre-downloaded packages of the classical CygWin?
  • Will any addition to CygWin, for example SUDO for CygWin, work too with my installed packages of CygWin Ports?

Any other concise detail about the main difference(s) is welcome.

Sopalajo de ArrierezSopalajo de Arrierez

2 Answers

  • Cygwin Ports is a repository of software built on top of, and in addition to, those in the main Cygwin repository.
  • The version of the installers refers to the version displayed on the first page of the installer (e.g. Setup.exe version 2.844 (64 bit)); the latest version from http://cygwin.com is always recommended, but (currently) at least version 2.829 is absolutely required.
  • There are only a handful of conflicting packages; in each case, the Ports version is recommended over the standard distribution version.
  • Ports packages are downloaded with the same installer (albeit with specific installation directions) as the core distribution, so the same three options of Install from Internet, Download Without Installing, or Install from Local Directory are all available.
  • Any other software using dependencies from Ports should operate correctly, provided it does not attempt to conflict with Ports' packages. If you have specific issues, please provide details of your issue to the Cygwin Ports mailing list.

Cygwin ports USED to provide a great deal of software not included in the Cygwin repo. However, the guy doing all the packaging, etc. for Cygwin Ports has moved all compatible/reasonably ported software into the main Cygwin repo, which he is maintaining (thousands of software titles) with little help.

There is a queue of harder-to-impossible to port packages waiting for him to have a few spare cycles to work on, but these are increasingly either not used/ not helpful/harder to port packages.

You can build a lot of software not included from source. In addition, they have ported Perl, Python, R, Ruby, and several others, so anything where you have dependencies you can probably get to work on your own, although my best results have been from C/C++ console mode apps. Just read the documentation and make sure you have the dependencies. Some are funky (e.g. need a Windows DLL installed), YMMV.


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I want to install GNOME Shell and its core apps and features (including Natilus, Evolution, Empathy, Multiple workspace, and more) on a Windows 7 platform.

Is it possible to do that with or without Cygwin and Cygwin/X?

And if yes, can I remove Microsoft's own apps(Windows Explorer, IE, Windows Media Player, ...) and replace them with GNOME 3 Apps?


3 Answers

Linux software cannot run on Windows. Cygwin provides a way to compile software designed for Unix into something that may run on Windows. I've never used it so I can't say what the limitations are, but given the existence of CyGnome I would assume it's possible.

To avoid compiling yourself you could also check out CygWin Ports which says it has a Gnome 3 port, as well as Nautilus, and Empathy. ftp://sourceware.org/pub/cygwinports/portslist.txt . I've never used it so I don't know the specifics of getting it up and running.

Alteratively you might consider using CyGnome though it's Gnome 1, not Gnome 3.http://cygnome.sourceforge.net/ They started a Gnome 2 port project, but it died. http://cygnome2.sourceforge.net/

Alternatively you might consider checking out GreenGnome instead. It's a port of Gnome 1 to Windows. The project is long since dead, and was from the XP era. http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=uk&u=http://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greengnome&prev=/search%3Fq%3DGreenGnome%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DhgC%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26channel%3Dfflb . A long time ago I used this for a bit, and worked nicely.

Robin HoodRobin Hood

As of 2016, the default Cygwin64 repositories contains Gnome 3 apps.

I installed these cygwin packages (and their dependencies) and I am now able to use Eye of GNOME 3.18 on Windows 7.

  • eog
  • xinit
  • xorg

First, I open a cygwin bash terminal. Then, I type startxwin and hit enter. Two new tray icons appear. One of them resembles the cygwin logo, but with a green X inside the black C. I left click that tray icon and find Image Viewer on the Graphics menu. When I click that, Eye of GNOME starts. (And the 'auto refresh' feature works.)

Similar Gnome 3 apps probably work in the same way.


You can also run a full gnome-flashback (gnome 2 look on gnome 3) session now.

Just install gnome-flashback and xinit from the cygwin setup, GNOME Flashback shortcut will appear in your start menu in the Cygwin-X folder.


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