Cygwin question

alex wallis alexwallis646 at
Thu Jan 29 14:54:14 UTC 2009

Actually there is an alternative method to doing the manual way you 
I got annoyed yesterday with the hole gui thing, and wrote to the cygwin 
packages list explaining the issues blind people face.
I got a very interesting e mail response back which I have pasted below.
very interesting I am sure you will agree.

Fortunately, the latest version of setup for 1.7 allows
package selection from the command line.
This is a _huge_ (ok maybe not that big) deal for users
exactly like you.
You can do things like:

setup -q -n -D -L %SITE% %LOCALDIR% %PACKAGES%

if you set up environment variables for SITE, LOCALDIR, and
Note that PACKAGES should be a comma separated list of packages
you want to install with NO SPACES between entries.
All the dependencies ar looked after automagically.

Good luck!

first off, does anyone no what that first lot of command line switches do 
before the % bits where you have to enter the various options?
also, rightly or wrongly, I have tried entering the info about the packages 
I want to download into a shortcut I created to the cygwin setup on my 
desktop, along with all the info for the mirror site I want to use, and the 
local folder. the setup runs, and it seems to download the base set of 
packages no problem, but it completely ignores the list of custom packages I 
have entered. does anyone have any thoughts why this might be?
Thanks for your help.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tony Baechler" <tony at>
To: "Linux for blind general discussion" <blinux-list at>
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:16 PM
Subject: Re: Cygwin question

> Hi,
> The short answer is "not really."  It's possible to just click on the 
> "All" button to install every Cygwin package.  If you want a nice 
> installer, that's as good as it gets.  If you want not such a nice 
> install, you can manually install packages once the base system is 
> installed.  This isn't recommended or really supported.  You'll need to 
> make sure that bash, coreutils, tar and bzip2 are working.  All are part 
> of the base system which is installed if you just go with the defaults and 
> don't change anything.  It would also help to install an ftp client such 
> as ncftp, but the Windows ftp client would work.  Go to a Cygwin mirror 
> such as and download the packages you want to install. 
> Make a temp directory and extract the archives within bash.  Manually move 
> the files into the correct places, such as moving mypkg/usr/share/doc to 
> your c:\cygwin\usr\share\doc and mypkg/etc to c:\cygwin\etc.  Don't move 
> files from the usr/bin directory to cygwin\usr\bin because it won't work. 
> Instead, just dump them into \cygwin\bin.  You should have a postinstall 
> and possibly other scripts to run.  Make sure they're executable (they 
> should be) and run them after everything is manually in place.  If you're 
> lucky, it will actually work.  If not, just click on All from the 
> installer and install everything, allowing for about 2 GB of disk space.
> Note that all of the above is for Cygwin 1.5.  I haven't used 1.7.  You 
> should try it and see if it's better.  Note that 1.7 is still in testing 
> and won't run on anything less than XP or 2000.  I would like to know if 
> 1.7 is any better.  Get or setup-1.7.exe 
> instead of the usual setup.exe.
> Tom Masterson wrote:
>> Does anyone know of an accessible way to install packages under cygwin?
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