I thought I would post some information about a project that I started a few months ago called nix32. It’s hosted on SourceForge for the most part, with a handy website that I host myself mainly because it’s just easier to manage that way. The basic goal of this project is to create native command line tools for Windows that operate much like the commands that we know and love from Linux and UNIX. Things like ls, mv, cp, df and so on. I have become so used to, comfortable with and productive with the UNIX/Linux command line environment, that when I have to leave it behind on Windows, it’s pretty tough. Not just changing from what I am used to, but also because I think the command line of a UNIX/Linux server is much more powerful and flexible than the Windows command line, even including the power shell.
I have been working on the more popular commands, and I have a few basics out now with basic functionality. I hope to have more and better (improved) tools in the future. I am writing everything in PERL and then compiling each one on Windows as a standalone exe using tools from ActiveState, and so far, they run very nicely. It’s all completely open source, you can download the PERL scripts as well as the executable files if you want to take a look or help improve them.
Now, I know you can get similar results with other projects and products out there, CYGWIN comes to mind first. However, that’s a whole separate shell and almost a little mini-Linux setup in and of itself, especially looking at the directory structure after it’s installed. Here with the nix32 project I wanted to have native Windows executables that you can stick in your path somewhere and call right from the Windows Command Prompt, without ever leaving the Windows environment and without having to install anything. So far that is exactly what we have, just copy the files somewhere, make sure it’s within or added to your PATH variable, and you are good to go!
So check it out, see what you think, spread the word and maybe even help out a bit and crunch a little code too. Do whatever you feel and keep both feet on the wheel … or, keyboard maybe. 🙂