Updated April 6, 2023
Introduction to Cygwin vs Mingw
Cygwin is defined as a collection of GNU, GNU is a large collection of free software that can be used as an operating system and open-source tools, which is similar to Unix but it is designed for Microsoft-based platform, which also provide the development and testing of the windows-based application on a platform like Unix, whereas, Mingw is defined as a free and open-source software development environment that create Microsoft windows applications, it provides minimum GNU compiler environment also it does not has Unix-like designed, the written program can run on windows, also it is an alternative to Microsoft visual C++ compiler which is associated with linking and making tools.
Head to Head Comparison Between Cygwin vs Mingw (Infographics)
Below are the top 10 differences between Cygwin vs Mingw:
Comparison Table of Cygwin vs Mingw
|Cygwin is designed to use POSIX API written a source code, and we can build them and run that build on Windows application.
POSIX is the Portable Operating System Interface that is a family of standards that maintains compatibility between operating systems.
|Whereas, Mingw is designed to use the GNU development tool which is GCC to build window applications.
GNU is a large collection of free software which we can use as an operating system and GCC is a development tool.
|In Cygwin, multiple POSIX applications are distributed and that has been recompiled to run on windows application.
|Whereas Mingw has small storage of POSIX tools only to support running GNU development tools.
|These are built by using POSIX API and the user needs to install the Cygwin DLL, it requires Cygwin DLL compatibility layer because the programs are distributed with source code.
|Mingw tool uses Windows API to compile the applications, POSIX is cannot be used here. It does not require a compatibility DLL layer because the programs are not distributed with source code.
|In Cygwin, the Cygwin DLL is used to translate the POSIX API calls into Window API calls.
|But in Mingw there is no DLL is used for translating the applications API, because Mingw is dependent on Windows API calls.
|Cygwin is able to compile Unix applications.
|It is not able to compile some Unix applications.
|Cygwin does not need to run through an interpreter.
|It contains a compiler and a ‘C’ library.
|It does not provide the ‘win 32 API’ functionality.
|It provides functions that are supplied by ‘win 32 API’.
|Cygwin also provides Unix-specific functionality that is case-sensitive filenames.
|Whereas Mingw does not provide any specific functionality of Unix.
|Cygwin is a command-line interface that is similar to Unix but designed for a Microsoft-based platform.
|On other hand, it is a command prompt where the user can run the ‘.configure’ file and then allow building applications.
|If we want to use the advantage of POSIX advanced programming features and tools in Windows then use Cygwin.
|On other hand, if we want to use the advantage of the GCC cross-platform compiler in Windows then use Mingw.
Key Differences of Cygwin vs Mingw
There are few key differences between Cygwin and Mingw which are useful to differ according to it.
Cygwin allows many interfaces to be usable and compatible, which means that Cygwin allows interfaces to let the use of it and it gets compatible with the UNIX interface. The Portable Operating System Interface which is available in Cygwin through the system, the win32 calls the Windows internally. Linux having UTF-8 in it and Windows having UTF-16 init in which they are transparently converted to each other, whereas Mingw has provided the minimum GNU features, it is a collection of GNU compilers that can be ported to Windows. The Mingw has a cross-platform compiler that allows developers to compile programs for Windows from a Linux operating system.
Cygwin is an open-source and large collection of tools that allows Unix or Linux applications to be compiled and run on a Windows operating system within a Linux-like interface. Whereas Mingw is specifically designed to create Windows applications and users do not require to install additional software to run the application. Mingw works better with Windows. It is free, which means we do not need to pay to use it and open-source software development environment to create Microsoft Windows applications. Where the Mingw either runs on the Microsoft Windows platform or runs on Cygwin. It is cross-hosted with Linux or UNIX. We can work with both Cygwin and Mingw and the ‘cmd.exe’ available for both of them to install with no causes, but if we use both of them on one system it is like to have two sets of files on the same disk, it is having environment only valid for ‘cmd.exe’.
Cygwin has a command-line interface that is similar to Unix, and it is designed for a Microsoft-based platform, which allows for the development and testing of the windows-based application on a platform like Unix, it is having similar functions like Unix or Linux, it has Unix specific functionality of case-sensitive filenames in which we can look to work great with Cygwin. It does not fully rely on the ‘Win32 application’ because it has POSIX functionality, which is the Portable Operating System Interface having a family of standards which are specified by IEEE computer society and it maintaining the compatibility between operating systems. Whereas Mingw has minimum GNU features for the Windows operating system and it has minimal functionality like ‘Win32 API’ which is a core set of application programming interfaces that are available in the Microsoft Operating System. Also, it provides a way to use GNU developer tools on Windows. It is having a collection set of a compiler that can be able to port on Windows that also have ported library.
In this article, we conclude that Cygwin enhances the performance of Linux while running applications and Mingw is developer-friendly, the applications which are compiled by Cygwin that only work on Windows operating system but with Cygwin as it is having a compatibility layer and Mingw is also known as a minimal system that is MSYS having related packages which consist GNU utilities.
This is a guide to Cygwin vs Mingw. Here we discuss Cygwin vs Mingw key differences with infographics and comparison table, respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –