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cygwin on, what?

The question of cygwin, or something like it
on, or whatever you want to call it,
is not such a stupid question. It might be a stupid
question on *this* mailing lists. So please forgive me
for an off-topic discussion, if I also congratulate the
people working on CYGWIN for the high quality of
effort and compelling value of the result. I first used Cygwin,
if I can remember correctly that far back, during
the days of Windows NT BETA, 1992? 1993? and it has
been a great help ever since. Always worth the effort.

But speaking of .NET, 
there is work already on a GCC back end to
microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR).
There has been some open research on such issues,
in for example, 

Of course, it may be several years before the .NET
platform is actually important, and it may never be
as important as other platforms such
as Native Windows, and Native Linux, for reasons of
efficiency and value to the customer, and just
general inertia.

Java is now coming up on 10 years of general availability,
and what you can practically implement in Java is
still not up to what you can do in Cygwin or Linux or Windows.

Ultimately, I think you can never win by forcing
wholesale re-implementation and re-invention on the world,
and what wins in the end are efforts like Cygwin, Linux,
and perhaps .NET that seek to bring previous work
forward and to reuse and strengthen rather than
throw away and recapitulate. 

Hal Ableson said it best, when he was quoted in a book published 20
years ago by MIT PRESS, "Structure and Interpretation
of Computer Programs" adding on to Newton's
famous line:

- If I have seen farther than others it is because I have
been standing on the shoulders of Giants.
- In Computer Science we stand on each others feet.
- If I haven't seen as far as others it has been because
Giants have been standing on me.

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