Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Running UNIX Applications on DOS/Windows Machines

Just as Windows users want to feel comfortable by using Windows applications when working in the UNIX environment, UNIX users may want to be able to use familiar UNIX commands when working in a Windows environment. You can do this in a few ways. One way is use a windowing environment, such as the X Window environment, on a Windows PC. Another is to use packages that allow you to issue UNIX commands on a Windows machine. Yet another is to use tools that have been developed on UNIX for Windows environments. Finally you can run a UNIX shell environment instead of the default command.com shell environment on a Windows PC.

Running an X Window System Server on Your Windows PC

If you are a UNIX user, you may want to perform UNIX tasks from a Windows PC in a familiar environment, such as the X Window environment. You can run an X Window System server on your Windows PC that allows you to interoperate between your Windows PC and a UNIX host machine. One of the ways you can do this is to use Cygwin/X. Cygwin/X is a port of the X Window System to Microsoft Windows by the Cygwin Project (http://www.cygwin.com/). Cygwin/X consists of an X Server, X libraries, and almost all the standard X clients, such as xterm, xhost, xdpyinfo, xclock, and xeyes. It works with Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4, 2000, and XP. You can find information about it, and get the installation software, by going to either http://www.x.cygwin.com/ or http://www.cygwin.com/.

You can find out more about running X servers on your PC by accessing the USENET and consulting the newsgroup comp.windows.x.

Using Tools to Emulate a UNIX Environment

Several programs and collections of programs let you create a UNIX System-style environment on a Windows system, as well as emulate some Windows functions on a UNIX machine. In addition to programs that emulate actual UNIX commands, there are shells that implement the Korn shell or the C shell; and other applications are available for Windows. These programs can be very helpful in bridging the gap between the two systems, because they allow you to run UNIX-like commands on your system without giving up any of the DOS/Windows applications that you already have.

If you are a Windows system user, you have several possible reasons for using “lookalike” programs that emulate basic UNIX System commands. Utilities such as awk and vi enhance your Windows environment, providing capabilities missing from DOS under Windows, as well as useful capabilities for editing, formatting, managing files, and programming. If you are a Windows user who is just learning to use the UNIX System, adding UNIX System commands to your Windows environment is a good way to develop skill and familiarity with them without leaving your accustomed system. If you move between the two systems-for example, using the UNIX System at work and a Windows PC at home-creating a UNIX System-like environment on your Windows PC can save you from the confusion and frustration of using different command sets for similar functions. If you are a UNIX user and need to access Windows resources, there are also utilities for that; the next section discusses these.

No comments: