Cygwin 3.5.0 Drops Older Windows Platform Support

New Cygwin 3.5.0 drops Windows 7/8 support, introduces advanced file system features, improved package info, and more. Learn what's new!

Cygwin is a free and open-source tool that provides Microsoft Windows users with a Unix/Linux-like environment and software toolset. It is a compatibility layer that enables Windows users to run various Unix/Linux-based applications and tools directly on their Windows system.

Over a year after the launch of Cygwin 3.4.0, its major predecessor, its developers just announced the release of the new 3.5.0 version. Let’s explore the features and improvements it offers.

Key New Features in Cygwin 3.5.0

Cygwin 3.5.0
Cygwin 3.5.0

End of Support for Older Windows Versions

Cygwin 3.5.0 discontinues support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and their corresponding server versions – Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012. This move signals a focus towards more recent Windows versions, including Windows 8.1, 10, 11, and server versions from 2012 R2 up to 2022, anticipating compatibility with future Windows releases.

New Features and Enhancements

The update brings several notable improvements:

  • Console Enhancements: Processes can now access console devices (“/dev/consN“) from different consoles or pseudoterminals. This enhancement makes tools like GNU screen and tmux functional in the console.
  • Tool Updates: The introduction of the newgrp tool and extended functionalities in cygcheck, including package search and detailed information about packages in the Cygwin distribution.
  • Filesystem and Codeset Support: Cygwin 3.5.0 introduces the “/dev/disk” directory, offering various subdirectories for easy access to disk and partition raw devices. This release also supports the GB18030 codeset and includes new directories “/proc/codesets” and “/proc/locales” for information on supported codesets and locales.
  • API Additions: Several new API calls have been added, aligning Cygwin with other Unix-like systems more closely.
  • Sound Mixer Device: Implementation of an OSS-based sound mixer device (“/dev/mixer“), enhancing audio capabilities.

Changes, Improvements, and Fixes

Cygwin 3.5.0 brings changes in its core functionality:

  • posix_spawnp Behavior: There is no longer a fallback to starting the shell for unrecognized files, a decision aligning with POSIX standards.
  • FIFOs on NFS: FIFOs are now functional on NFS filesystems.
  • File Handling on SSDs: Automatic sparsifying of files on SSDs has been enabled, independent of the “sparse” mount mode.
  • Core Dump Management: Adjustments in handling core dumps and stackdump files, with changes in the default RLIMIT_CORE settings.

At the same time, the update addresses specific issues, including a fix for arc4random reseeding post-fork, enhancing security and reliability.

Cygwin 3.5.0 is available for free download from the project website. For a complete list of changes, visit the release announcement.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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