Other Cygwin console alternatives.

I’ve previously blogged about using rxvt as an enhancement to the default Cygwin bash console.  I’ve also found a couple of other alternatives.

PuttyCyg is a modified version of the popular Windows terminal emulator Putty that allows it to work as a local Cygwin console, as well as it’s normal functionality as a telnet/ssh, etc terminal.

Ponderosa is a free (Apache licensed), tab capable console/terminal emulator.  It’s similar in capabilities to PuttyCyg, but has the advantages of featuring tab for keeping multiple sessions in one Window, and also has a plugin capability for adding additional capatilities to Ponderosa.

I’d recommend Ponderosa for Cygwin users who aren’t Unix veterans.  But PuttyCyg is a close second, particularly for people who are already fans of Putty.

For now, I think I’m sticking with rxvt, but the tab capability of Ponderosa is *really* interesting to me.

11 thoughts on “Other Cygwin console alternatives.

  1. Great blog!

    By the way, have you tried the GNU ‘screen’ program? It’s one of the packages available through the cygwin installer.

    It has some nice benefits:

    * It can provide “tabs” of a sort within a single larger terminal window

    * Your whole array of virtual screens can survive intact when the terminal program goes kaput. Let’s say you’re using a terminal program to connect from your laptop to your development server out there running screen. You can reboot your laptop and come right back to where you left off with your entire array of screens intact. With a direct terminal connection, your sessions would have been lost.

    * Works with just about any terminal program, and it’s also widely available on Unix platforms, so the keystrokes you learn using it are applicable there too.

    The only real drawback is pretty minor:

    You must assign a meta-keystroke to be the “screen command key.” By default this is Ctrl-A. Therefore to pass an actual Ctrl-A to a program running inside screen, like Emacs, you must press Ctrl-A twice. You can change the meta key and you get used to it, it’s not a big deal.

  2. I love GNU screen! I used to use it a lot in the “old days” with dialup terminal sessions or Telnet. To be honest, I don’t use it much anymore, since SSH with public key authentication makes it so easy to just open a new connect.

    I have started using elscreen.el, which is an Emacs module that’s inspired by screen and uses similar key combinations.

  3. I found myself using screen just the other day when ssh’ing into my ISP. The connection would only stay up for a minute or two before terminating.

    Remembering the bad old days of dialup, it clicked that I should use screen and then screen -r to reattach and stop losing work! Screen saved my @$$^wbutt that day.

    Btw, I use cygwin/puttycyg so that I can access command line ssh. Somehow that seems wrong given that I’m starting with putty, but it works for me…

  4. I use screen but I want tabs anyway.

    When I use a terminal (urxvt under linux) I use many tabs ( never two urxvt windows ) and when I’m on a remote host, I use screen.

    Does someone knows if it’s possible to use rxvt’s tabbed module in cygwin ?

  5. I’ve used, so far since installing Cygwin for the second time, Poderosa, MinTTy, and Terminator. Poderosa, to my way of thinking, recalls the Mozilla Mail window with its split screens — they’re panes, not tabs (get it right, once!). Terminator’s good except sometimes it chews on my bash and rxvt configurations (don’t ask me how, but it certainly seems to be the case). MinTTy consistently launches with a window that’s big enough for my near-sighted older relations to appreciate, but I do like the fact that the prefs are GUI and for the most part idiot-proof. If MinTTY had panes all the others, and particularly the trialware/payware ones, could just shelve it. So you get a sense of what I’m expecting out of PuttyCYG.

    Have a day and a half, folks.


  6. I use mrxvt (version 0.4.3) and the Xming X server.
    both are very light and work great.
    mrxvt has very simple tabs… that you can name easily too.
    Exp: when I ssh to HOST I set the tab name to HOST.
    Only problems I get are the usual X not playing nice with Windows issues… usually centering around clipboard not working.

  7. Console and Console2 are, to my way of thinking, lightweight Power Shell clones. Any author of a terminal who “claims” it’s for use with Cygwin whose project doesn’t put the Cygwin execution path string ahead of the routine Windows one is engaging in false advertising. This describes Console2 to the last letter.

    Also, C2 arbitrarily introduces back-whacks (“\”) in the commands of certain programs, most noticeably (from my experience) Exiv2 by Andreas Huggel, returning errors on those commands.I have yet to find anothero other Cygwin-friendly emulator that does this. Frankly, I hope I don’t.


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