I cut my system administration teeth on UNIX-based systems (OS X Server and Linux) and I quickly got used to being able to do a multitude of things very easily and efficiently from the command line. Windows, the main platform I support now, is missing a lot of these features. Every once in a while, after working on a Linux system, I’ll drop into a Windows command line and type something like
tail -f foo.log just to get smacked with an error because the system has no idea what I’m asking of it.
Fortunately, the good people working on the GnuWin32 project have decided that Windows admins deserve a robust command line as well. GnuWin32 is a set of Windows-native executables that duplicate a large amount of the functionality found on a UNIX or Linux system. A lot of these little programs can make a Windows administrator’s life much easier. grep, tail, diff… all available without installing Cygwin.
The packages are distributed in a number of ways. Binaries are packaged in small collections. There’s are packages for the core utilities, diff utilities and separate packages for some of the other utilities like grep. There’s also a setup utility that functions as a package manager to help you keep all of the utilities up to date. Overall, this is a great project that’s definitely worth a look for anyone that hangs out in the CLI much.