Cygwin is an platform that runs on Windows, which lets you run a Unix-like environment including a shell with for instance bash and a large number of GNU and Unix commands and libraries. You can run native Windows programs from the Cygwin environment, and you can run the tools and applications included in Cygwin from Windows.
The main reason that we recommend Cygwin for our students running Windows, is that they get access to the rich environment of standard unix tools and commands, which work (in most cases) exactly the same on GNU/Linux and MacOS. This allows us to write examples and exercises which work almost exactly the same, regardless of what OS the student is running.
A side-effect of running Cygwin on your Windows computer, is that you get familiar with the Unix-like way of using a shell, the many standard tools of Unix-environments and a capable shell like bash. This prepares you for doing work on a "Linux platform" or "Unix-like platform". You can read more about Cygwin on Wikipedia: Cygwin .
With cygwin you can install:
- gcc - C compiler
- make - Program used to structure the building (compilation etc) of software
- SQLite - Database
... and much much more.
To install cygwin on your computer running Windows: