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Multiple cygwin installs: I have to do it, but how?

The following message is forwarded from Bob Cunningham, who for various 
reasons can't use the company email server to send messages to the 
cygwin list.

Bob Cunningham wrote:
I'm in a bad situation:  I've checked the FAQs, docs and archives, but 
have found no easy way out.

I've been using CygWin forever (well, whenever I can't use 
Linux/BSD/UNIX), and have my installation current and configured just 
the way I like it.

Then I installed the Altera Excalibur Nios (that's Altera's
CPU+System-On-FPGA) development tools.  They were enlightened enough to
include (and require) CygWin, but they insist on using a old version 
from mid-1999.  Though I installed the Altera stuff on a hard drive far 
away from my own precious installation, my prior CygWin install was 
crippled due to CygWin placing mount points in the registry.

I'm working with Altera to disentangle their tools from CygWin (it 
appears they may have modified some CygWin programs without renaming 
them), so they may then be installed under an existing CygWin 
installation, but it looks like they won't move on this until next year.

Then I got the NetBurner Internet Appliance development kit.  It too 
ships with CygWin.  Good thing I read the README first.  I'm not going 
to install it unless I can either:

1. Find a way to either merge the three CygWin environments into my
personal environment, or

2. Find a way to have three separate CygWin environments run

I may also need to have multiple instances of the CygWin DLL in memory
simultaneously, each with a different version.

I'm hacking together a set of Registry scripts that will set the mount
points as desired from a batch file, but that only allows me to run one
CygWin environment at a time, though each should (hopefully) run 
properly despite the existence of the others.  I'd rather not even try 
to replicate my own environment in each of these other CygWin 
installations, so a more general solution is needed.

Is there a Good Reason why mount points are kept in the Windows 
Registry? I see no way to do the second item above unless and until the 
mount information is stored in a separate place for each CygWin 
installation (preferably not in the Registry).

While I'm willing to recompile CygWin, I lack the time to hack it.  Is
there a configure option that will eliminate CygWin's use of the 
Registry to store mount points?

Until the tools from all these vendors can be migrated to a single 
common CygWin environment, I'm stuck.

Is there a way to make each CygWin installation 100% independent, and 
have each be able to effortlessly coexist with any and all other CygWin
installations that may be present?

As CygWin becomes ever more popular, and more vendors ship it with their
products, we are certain to see this issue become increasingly common, 
at least within the engineering community.

Oddly enough, some of these tool kits are Windows-only!  There is no 
UNIX port.  The tool vendors simply believe that CygWin is the best 
platform in which to deliver and use them.  Very enlightened, but this 
opens up a very large weakness in relying on CygWin (especially when old 
versions are shipped).

Should there be guidelines of some sort to help these vendors better
prepare and distribute their tools, so their products behave more like
"just another" CygWin package?  If so, I have the email address for the
person at Altera who creates their tools and packages...



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