Mo Dejong's install problems

Chris Faylor
Thu Mar 30 17:46:00 GMT 2000

On Thu, Mar 30, 2000 at 02:26:53PM -0800, Mo DeJong wrote:
>So the obvious question is, where is the "right" place to set env vars
>like PATH. Is it /etc/profile? I do not think a .bat file that invokes
>bash is the right place to do that. For one thing, it only works with
>bash. There is also the fact that it does not work on Win95 or Win98.

I'm not sure what you're suggesting.  It almost sounds like you're
advocating having cygwin search a file, every time a program is invoked,
to read environment variables.  It doesn't do that and I'm not sure that
it should do that.

The only other alternative is to use whatever Windows provides and
that's what we do.  You set the environment variables in autoexec.bat in
Windows 9x or via the Control Panel in Windows NT.

You can also set them in a standard .bat file which is what the cygwin
net installer has done for some time, when it first invokes bash.  The
Cygwin CD installer doesn't do this, though, and it doesn't seem to
have caused any problems.  Instead, it sets the PATH environment
variable using the most appropriate mechanism for the "OS" (Windows 9x
or Windows NT).  Maybe we should consider doing this in the installer.

>So are there any reasons that cygwin should not "emulate the UNIX
>startup processes"?

What UNIX startup process would that be?  Shells like bash will actually
find a HOME directory if you have a /etc/passwd set up and if the
program is invoked as a login shell.  It is unfortunate but the HOME
environment variable is used by some non-cygwin packages in non-cygwin

>I have heard this argument before. Once a person learns how something
>works, they will just assume that other people should be able to figure
>it out too. It is nice that you were able to install lots of earlier
>versions of cygwin, but there are lots of other people who gave up
>on cygwin because it did not work "out of the box" (I am mostly
>talking about beta 20 here). Here is how it typically goes.
>Engineer> The product works.
>Customer> I tried to run it but I could not get it working.
>Engineer> You must have done it wrong, go back and try again.
>Customer> I just tried it again, I can't figure it out.
>Engineer> Well, it works on my box.

What customers are you talking about here?  Hopefully, Cygnus customers
are receiving the full benefit of our technical support staff and are
not talking to engineers who keep asserting that the customer is

The hundreds of thousands of cygwin users on the net are hopefully
receiving help from the cygwin mailing list.

That is not to say that some people are falling through the cracks and
seeing a negative cygwin experience, however, I hope that we will soon
be in a position to respond rapidly to these complaints.

>I am not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that "minor" issues
>like "cygwin does not install" and "cygwin does not work" do not belong on
>the cygwin developers list?

What Earnie was implying was that the primary goal of the cygwin-developers
mailing list is to discuss the Cygwin DLL.  The cygwin mailing list web
page describes its goals.

The goals also include the discussion of net releases and so I think that
the discussion of installation strategy falls well within this.

Btw, have you reported specific problems in installing B20.1?  I don't
recall seeing them.


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