Who's using "CYGWIN=tty" and why?

Henry S. Thompson ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon May 9 17:37:00 GMT 2011

Corinna Vinschen writes:

> On May  9 17:21, Henry S. Thompson wrote:
>> Corinna Vinschen writes:
>> > Chris and I are wondering how many people are using the Windows console
>> > as local console window in CYGWIN=tty mode and why.
>> I am one such.
>> > Here's why we ask:
>> >
>> > We are both not sure why anybody would use it voluntarily, given that
>> > it's I/O is extremly slow, compared to using a Windows console window in
>> > the default CYGWIN=notty mode or, even better, mintty.  Actually, we
>> > only keep the console tty mode up because it was "always there", 14
>> > years or so.
>> Um, history is sticky, is I guess the answer.  When I started using
>> cygwin (a _long_ time ago), CYGWIN=tty was the recommended setting
>> (and isn't it still there in cygwin/cygwin.bat ?).  So I have
> No, it's not the default, and it never was, actually.

Well, I guess I misunderstood the earlier version of this prose (from

  The CYGWIN variable is used to configure many global settings for
  the Cygwin runtime system. Initially you can leave CYGWIN unset or
  set it to tty (e.g. to support job control with ^Z etc...) using a
  syntax like this in the DOS shell, before launching bash.

plus the prose further up

  Some of these settings need to be in effect prior to launching the
  initial Cygwin session (before starting your bash shell, for
  instance). They should therefore be set in the Windows environment

to mean that CYGWIN=tty was recommended.  I followed what I understood
that recommendation to be at the time, and have faithfully copied that
into my Windows environment initialisation ever since.

> I don't quite understand, if you use the Windows console for pure
> Windows stuff, why do you use tty mode at all?

Because I thought that having job control might be useful, and so I
followed the recommendation above. . .  I clearly didn't understand,
at the time, that the console as such, vs. the console running bash
as from cygwin.bat, were not the same thing.

> And what do you use to run Cygwin apps?

mintty, of course :-)

> Many native Windows tools don't work well in tty mode anyway.  For
> non-Cygwin tools, the default notty mode is the most compatible one.

OK, I hear that as answers along the lines of "yes", and "only good
things" to my questions:

 >> Is it time to remove it?  I do use a windows console
 >> occasionally for pure Windows activities---what change(s) will I see?

The Wayback machine [2] suggests that the prose quoted above hasn't
changed for nearly 11 years -- perhaps it's due for an update?


[1] http://cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/setup-env.html
[2] http://replay.web.archive.org/20000829065425/http://sources.redhat.com/cygwin/cygwin-ug-net/setup-env.html
       Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
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