Gow: lightweight Cygwin alternative

opensource_compCygwin is a large collection of GNU and open source tools which provide functionality similar to a Linux distribution on Windows. It is a very old project and has grown largely in size as well as number of tools over time. Gow (Gnu On Windows) is a lighter alternative to Cygwin with over 100+ useful Linux tools compiled as win32 binaries. While Cygwin can grow over 100MB depending on the number of tools you want, Gow is just 18MB in size. Gow was being used by Vuzit LLC on production hardware for years. It was open-sourced on July 14, 2010 to gain the attention of a larger community.


  • Ultra light: Small, light subset (about 18 MB) of very useful UNIX binaries that do not have decent installers (until now!). Gow uses the NSIS installer.
  • Shell window from any directory: Adds a Windows Explorer shell window. Right-click on any directory and open a command (cmd.exe) window from that directory.
  • Simple install/remove: Easy to install and remove, all files contained in a single directory in a standard C:\Program Files path.
  • Included in PATH: All binaries are conveniently installed into the Windows PATH so they are accessible from a cmdline window.
  • Stable binaries: All commands are stable and tested.


Notable utilities (among the 100+ available) include:

  • Shell scripting: bash, zsh
  • Compression: gzip, zip, bzip2, compress
  • SSH: putty, psftp, pscp, pageant, plink
  • Download/upload: cURL, wget
  • FTP: NcFTP
  • Editing: vim, nano
  • Text search/view: grep, agrep, less, cat, tail, head
  • File system: mv, cp, du, ls, pwd, rmdir, whereis
  • Development: make, diff, diff3, sleep, cvs, dos2unix, unix2dos


Get the latest release here.

Webpage: Gow

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