gnuwin32 mini FAQ and resource pointer

Geoffrey Noer
Wed Dec 30 18:32:00 GMT 1998


I've gone over your questions and FAQ with comments.  And thanks for
your work on the mini-FAQ!  Let's start with the most important

> 7. Would there be interest from the public and, Goeffrey, your side to
> take some of the answers over into the official FAQ? I would greatly
> appreciate that since I don't want to start cluttering knowledge into
> little bitty pieces all over the net when there's a central point
> where it can and should be collected. Also it would shrink down my
> mini FAQ to a resource pointer again which it originally was intended
> to be. :)

Yes.  That would be a good thing.  Let's look at what we have in the
way of Cygwin-related docs right now:

	* Cygwin FAQ
	* Cygwin README (most info is also in the FAQ)
	* Cygwin Users' Guide
	* Cygwin API Reference
	* Michael Weiser's Mini-FAQ

The current versions of all of the official docs are in the winsup
directory in the sources.  The Users' Guide and API Reference are in
various scattered sgml files.  The FAQ and README are in winsup/doc in
texinfo format.

I think the docs need some reorganization/consolidation.  In terms of
the goal, I think we need to move a lot of information out of the FAQ
and into the Users' Guide and API References as appropriate.  The FAQ
would then be more the size of a Mini-FAQ that could be sent out
periodically to the list.

If you and/or other people could help do this, that would be much
appreciated.  That way I can spend more time coding, making releases,
etc...  The thing to do would be to start with the latest winsup
snapshot (from and then send
me patches as you would a code patch (change the files and then send
me the result of diff -u or diff -c).  Please talk to me first so we
can coordinate this and prevent wasted effort.



On Wed, Dec 23, 1998 at 03:42:58PM +0000, Michael Weiser wrote:
> 1. Is Sergey's cygwin32 b19.3 coolview still available somewhere?

It should definitely be kept around for folks who are still using
b19.  Maybe I can put up a copy in the cygwin-b19 directory with a
quick note to make it easier to get a hold of?

> 2. How does binmode affect //<drive>/<path>-like paths in B20? Does it
> switch them to binary mode like B19 didn't? At least on my vanilla
> full.exe (Nov 2) such paths seem to default to binary mode regardless
> of the binmode setting.
> 4. Could someone with more knowledge than me read sections 1.1.1. and
> 1.1.4. really carefully? There are some statements that are very
> definitve although I'm not quite sure that they're really true. The
> most critical ones seem to be:
> b) If the file appears to reside on a file system that is not mounted
>    (as can happen when the path contains a drive letter), the default
>    mode is TEXT. Beginning with B20 it can be set to BINARY by adding
>    "binmode" to the CYGWIN environment variable.

This is the correct documented behavior.  If Cygwin doesn't behave
like this, it's a bug.  To quote the users' guide:

     (no)binmode - if set, pipes and unspecified file opens default to
     binary mode (no CR/LF/Ctrl-Z translations) instead of
     text mode. Defaults to not set (text mode).

> c) On B19 pipes get opened in text mode. Beginning with B20 pipes are
>    always opened in binary mode.

They default to binary mode.  They can be overridden by the specific

> and
> [no]binmode     - use 'binmode' as the default open mode when the mode
>                   is not otherwise specified in the open or by mount.
>                   On B19 this does not affect pipes and path specs
>                   like //c/foo. On B20 it seems to at least change the
>                   mode for //c/foo-like paths to binary.
>                   (default: disabled)
> 5. Does binmode switch pipes to binary mode or are they binary by
> default now? Where does it take effect, at bash- or cygwin.dll-level?

Pipes are binary by default at the cygwin.dll-level.  If bash called
setmode(text), then pipes would be textmode in bash following that

> 6. Are the CYGWIN parameters ntea and mixed still patches by Sergey or
> in the official source tree? At least ntea seems to be official now
> but what about mixed?

The ntea parameter has been there since I added it in Apr 1998.
It is officially there although it would be better to figure out
whether to do this on a per-drive basis.

We decided not to include the mixed support since it would only work
under certain circumstances (files, not directories?).  If that's not
the case, we can reconsider it.

> 9. And of course: Is everything else stated in the FAQ correct,
> especially the defaults for all the CYGWIN options? :)

See the Cygwin User's Guide, chapter 2.  All info there is correct as
far as I know.

> - Sergey Okhapkin's coolview package contains an updated Cygwin DLL
>   that reflects the latest developments and fixes a lot of known
>   problems.

Note that we are now providing a bzipped built cygwin1.dll with
development source snapshots.  For those people who want to be playing
with the latest and greatest (but that might be unstable), this should
be useful.  (Run strip on it if you don't intend to debug the DLL).

> 1.1.2. Long pauses occuring randomly in bash
> [ text goes here. any volunteers? ]

Should be fixed as of B20 and greater.

> 1.1.3. Windows 95 Freezing Up (and related problems)
>   (It's unknown if and how this applies to Cygwin B20, too. Feedback
> is very welcome.)

I haven't seen problems on my Windows 98 machine but...

>      Many users of NT have recommended dispensing with the ash shell
> which is installed in the Cygwin /bin/sh.exe.  This is not
> recommended under W95 until you have installed USB.

All problems with the ash shell installed as sh.exe should be fixed as
of b20.  If this is not the case, please let us know.

>   There has also been a bug in B20 on handling the CYGWIN parameters
> which made it neccessary to add two spaces before the first parameter
> like 'CYGWIN=  tty binmode'. This has been fixed with Sergey
> Okhapkin's latest coolview.

This bug is fixed in B20.1.

> 1.2. Cygwin resources
>   If the above doesn't answer your question you should read the
> Cygwin FAQ at
> before posting any question to the list.

Please change the URL to:

> 1.2.1. Web sites
>                    (project page)
>                    (comercial page)
>             (Cygwin faq)


> to thank Christopher Faylor, Michael Hirmke, Pierre Humblet, Goeffrey
> Noer [...]

Geoffrey, actually.  :-)

Geoffrey Noer
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