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Re: Selling management on Cygwin

Chap Harrison wrote:
> I work for a 5-person company whose IT infrastructure is exclusively
> Windows Server-based, and whose mindset is very narrowly
> Microsoftian.  I prefer *nix.  Four months ago I quietly created a
> Windows Server 2003 machine running in a VM on a test box, installed
> Cygwin, and have been successfully writing & running tools (mostly
> Perl) all this time.
Proven track record of productivity! One feather for your cap and/or
> Now I want to persuade management to let me install Cygwin directly on
> the "main" Server 2003 box.  This is not only for better interactive
> performance (I work remotely and need to go through one extra
> screen-scraper layer to get to my current Cygwin command line), but
> also to access some directories on the "main" box that aren't being
> shared and, consequently, can't be accessed from my current Cygwin.
Have you thought about the "... better to ask for forgiveness than to
ask for permission..." approach? It works wonders!

Cygwin accessing shares on the "main" box can be done without installing
Cygwin on the main box. They just need to be shared then Cygwin can
> I expect to be met with plenty of FUD.  I honestly don't know what
> kind of concerns & arguments will be raised, but I feel certain they
> will be "garden variety".  However, since I'm not a management or IT
> type, nor a Windows expert, nor a Cygwin expert, I am unprepared to
> argue the case.
Well why don't you first propose it and see if there are any objections.
Then deal with them. Common objections are the ever so popular "Well
it's different" argument. You could explain to them that if they are
uncomfortable using it they don't need to.

Another big one that sometimes is thought but not mentioned revolves
around licensing concerns. I assume you are not proposing to stick
Cygwin in your product. If not then licensing not an issue. Tell them,
"Licensing is not an issue as long as we don't incorporate Cygwin into
our end product. I'm not proposing that we do that, rather I'm proposing
that we utilize Cygwin internally for our own internal tasks to produce
our product. That requires no licensing".
> If someone could help, perhaps by briefly explaining what it is
> they're worried about, and why they needn't be, I would greatly
> appreciate it.  Alternately, a link to an article would be nice (I
> haven't found any so far).
What they'll be worried about typically is 1) it's foreign, different
and 2) it might get them in trouble licensing-wise or somehow require
them to GPL their own stuff, I've addressed those common objections above.
> In some ways this is more of an issue about open source software in
> general, but I'm sure there will be questions specifically about
> Cygwin and the extent to which it "touches" Windows OS innards.  Any
> guidance would be helpful!
Cygwin doesn't really "touch" Windows OS innards much at all. In fact
there's no uninstall! Generally uninstall is simply remove C:\Cygwin and
you're done. Oh and there is a small section of the registry that if you
wanted to be super tidy you could remove.

Aside from that, unless you set up services such as ssh, cron, etc -
which will make service entries in the registry and/or possibly create a
sshd_server user, there's really no mucking with "Windows OS innards".
Andrew DeFaria <>
How do you tell when you run out of invisible ink?

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