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RE: Practical method for automatic Cygwin install?

> From: William J. Leslie
> Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 9:52 PM
> Subject: Practical method for automatic Cygwin install?
> =         =         =         =         =         =         = 
>         =     =
> Note: I am rephrasing the question I asked last time (for 
> which the conversation drifted into GPL and licensing issues).
> My program depends on cygwin DLLs, my installer must make 
> sure these dependencies are satisfied.  I've heard that 
> installing private copies of cygwin DLLs can lead to version 
> mismatches. Instead of installing private copies of the 
> cygwin DLLs, my installer will install a complete (but 
> minimal) cygwin installation to c:\cygwin.
> There are a few issues that I am not sure how to deal with:
> 1) How to determine whether or not cygwin is already 
> installed? If so, what is the prefix path (e.g. c:\cygwin)?

There's currently not a great way to do that.  Somebody just asked the same
question(s), see that thread.

> 2) If cygwin is already installed, what optional packages are 
> present? What versions?

If I read another thread right, there may or may not be a way to do this in
the near future, assuming you've got #1.

> 3) If cygwin is NOT installed, how do we install it, without 
> setup.exe prompts?  (I have a gut feeling that it's a bit 
> more complicated than just untarring packages.)

I believe this can now be done with sufficiently-doctored setup.ini files.
I've never tried it myself.

> 4) If cygwin is installed, but some optional packages need 
> version upgrades, how do we accomplish that?

Via the normal means, i.e. the Cygwin setup utility.

> Probably any developer who has tried to release software for 
> the cygwin environment has thought about this.  Users demand 
> absolute automation of the installer; I can't tell them to do 
> stuff like:
> "This package requires cygwin. Please go install Cygwin from 
>, and click Retry when you're finished."

When all is said and done, I rather suspect you're going to have to.

> Nope, that would not be acceptable; it MUST be automatic! But 
> apparently Cygwin's setup utility cannot be automated, only 
> GUI-based.  Surely there are ways for installers like mine to 
> install cygwin without having to worry about the messy 
> details.  Or maybe not.  Does anyone know?

I do.  There's no software that's ever been written that didn't have to
worry about "the messy details," and installing Cygwin and a bunch of
utilities in a manner which is not officially supported is probably at the
top of that list.  It sounds to me that what you really should do is release
your software as a Cygwin package, and then work on adding the functionality
you need to Cygwin's setup.exe. 
> Thank You
> Will

Gary R. Van Sickle

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