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Chaz Meyers

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Steps to a prettier cygwin shell under windows. [Sep. 4th, 2007|03:12 pm]
Chaz Meyers
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I like working from command prompts, but I absolutely hate the shell provided by Windows. Here's what I do at work to make it manageable:

  1. Get cygwin. Go to cygwin.com, download, and install.

    This will allow you to access a wide variety of Linux software. Make sure you check that you want to install rxvt. If you have things like the Ruby One Click Installer or ActiveState Perl, you probably don't want to download things like ruby and perl. Your path will be maintained, so you will still be able to access your existing windows installations.
  2. Make your prompt less ugly. Personally, I find the default cygwin prompt annoying. If you find this annoying too, try this one out:

    export PS1="\[\e]0;\w\a\]\n\[\e[32m\]\u@\h:\[\e[33m\]\w\[\e[0m\]\$ "

    If you don't like that one, play around with it! Take a look at `man bash` for details. When you're happy with your prompt, save it to your ~/.bashrc file.
  3. Use rxvt. This can be as simple as running `rxvt &`. You'll find copying, pasting, and resizing works much more sanely than the CMD.exe that ships with Windows. You can change how it looks with command line arguments by checking out `man rxvt`. I keep this alias in my ~/.bashrc to save on my typing:

    alias myrxvt="rxvt -geometry 130x60 -bg black -fg gray -cr white -fn \"Lucida Console-11\" -sr -sl 5000 -j -cr white -tn rxvt -e bash -li"

    (I'm not sold on the font. It seems a bit clunky when I use vim.)

Now that I have this written down, maybe I'll finally remember to make these changes to my home computer!


I found some settings that make me happier! Follow those steps instead of the myrxvt alias for joy.