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CygWin

Download seed setup from "www.cygwin.com":http://www.cygwin.com/

Run the seed setup and select one of the three options install, download, install from directory.

Select a local download site, I chose ftp://ftp.heanet.ie

Select the packages you want to use. From the 'devel' category I choose gcc-core and gcc-g++ as a minimum set but there's lots of interesting stuff so don't hold back (e.g. binutils, cppunit, doxygen, gcc-java, gdb, subversion). From the Editors category select Joe, a simple editor.

Click next to start downloading the packages. You'll get a minimal unix like environment installed for the Windows user.

Check that your installation is working by typing 'g++ -v' from the bash shell (command line).

You'll need to become familiar with navigating and manipulating these unix-like commands and processes.

When you run Cygwin's bash shell (command line interpreter, similar to Windows' Command Prompt or DOS box) your session starts by default in a home directory or folder, usually a path like '/home/myname' leads to your home folder. This location will also exist in your Windows environment, somewhere like 'c:cygwinhomemyname'. Look around and familiarise yourself with where things are.

You can test your new development environment by using a text editor to create and compile the following helloworld.cxx:

#include <iostream>
                                                                                                                                                           
int main() {
  std::cout << "Hello World\n";
  return 0;
}

Compile the program in your home directory by typing something like 'c++ helloworld.cxx', this will compile into a default executable called 'a.exe'. We may now reach the point where we want to run our program but bash says 'command not found'. The problem here is that unlike Windows, bash does not look for programs in . (the current directory) by default. You can add . to your PATH, but this is not recommended (at least on UNIX) for security reasons. Just tell bash where to find it, when you type it on the command line, i.e. './a.exe' should work and you'll see the output of your helloworld.cxx program.

Loads of little getting started problems can be overcome by checking the cygwin faq, seehttp://cygwin.com/faq.html