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cygwin logoThe Cygwin ABI translator takes Unix library calls, and converts them to equivalent calls to the underlying operating system, letting you run Unix programs on Windows operating systems.

Cygwin has a long history. Started in 1995 when Steve Chamberlain of Cygnus Support realised that Windows 95/NT used a file format that was already supported in the Gnu compiler suite.

Having got the cross-compiler working, they produced the Cygwin library, which provided an ABI translator which allowed them to provide a Unix shell which produced standard windows binaries.

This rapidly replaced the earlier native port of the Gnu tools called DJGPP, which has inherent limitations due to a reliance on many 16bit dos calls which don't exist on 64bit processors, and the production of primarily dos binaries.

Some people are trying to get Wine running on Cygwin, which would provide better support for older apps than current versions of windows provide. Others are trying to get cygwin running on wine, which would make cygwin a great test suite for wine.

Visit Cygwin Here

See also the History of Cygwin page at wikipedia.