[tex-live] Gow

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sat Jul 31 05:22:11 CEST 2010

a few days ago Rolf Niepraschk pointed me to


 > Gow (Gnu On Windows) is the lightweight alternative to Cygwin. It
 > uses a convenient Windows installer that installs about 130
 > extremely useful open source UNIX applications compiled as native
 > win32 binaries. It is designed to be as small as possible, about 10
 > MB, as opposed to Cygwin which can run well over 100 MB depending
 > upon options.

I don't think it's an alternative to Cygwin.  Cygwin provides its own
runtime library which circumvents many bugs in msvcrt.dll and cmd.exe.
And Cygwin provides an X11 server which is needed by programs like
xdvi or xpdf.  There is still no alternative to Cygwin.

However, the Gow binaries are quite interesting if they are linked
statically.  If I don't misinterpret the description, they are.
Statically linked binaries are interesting because they are quite
useful for TeX Live.  Currently TeX Live depends on a statically
linked wget.exe and getnonfreefonts requires unzip.exe.

I don't have access to a Windows system and can't test anything
myself.  But I've seen that Gow provides the program "ln".  I'm
wondering what it does.  Does ln -s create a .lnk file?  This is what
Cygwin does and symlinks work like on Unix there.

Could anybody install Gow (at least the programs ln and ls) and tell
me whether this works:

  1. cd /path/to/texlive/20xx/bin/win32

  2. del pdflatex.exe

  3. ln -s pdftex.exe pdflatex.exe 

  4. pdflatex --version


And what is the result of "ls -l pdflatex"?  Do you see something like
"pdflatex -> pdftex"?

Don't be worried if it doesn't work.  You can always restore

  cd /path/to/texlive/20xx/bin/win32
  copy /b pdftex.exe pdflatex.exe

BTW, I read somewhere that Vista provides "real" hard/symbolic links,
whatever this means.  But I assume that they depend on NTFS.  Thus,
they are not an option because USB sticks still use the dumb VFAT file


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

More information about the tex-live mailing list