Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Fish out of water

I've been forced out of my safe zone and into Windows. It came with the job... Now, 6 months later, I've collected a few tools that makes the daily headake set a little later in the afternoon. True X-Mouse: The first thing I missed was beeing able to copy and paste simply by selecting and clicking. Fortunately, True X-Mouse solves that. Open Command Window Here: Part of the Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP. Right click on any folder and select "Open Command Window Here" and you'll have a cmd.exe with CWD as that folder. Must have saved me hours of typing... Perfect if you use darcs as version control system and need to type a few commands. GnuWin32: Don't like the Windows Search function? Neither do I. I miss my bash shell, and the coreutils :/ Imagine my smiling face when I found a port of many common GNU tools. You can get far with the coreutils and grep package. Virtual Dimension: Another thing that's hard to live without is virtual desktops. I use them all the time on my linux boxes, and constantly hit the keys to switch desktop even on windows machines. This tool makes a pretty good job at faking virtual desktops, but you do notice that it's not real virtual desktops. If (when!) a program hangs, it will appear on all desktops, and if you're unlucky you're stuck on your current desktop for a while. Still a great tool, I'd probably miss this one the most of them all. Vim: You don't get very far with notepad or wordpad. Using vim in cmd.exe is just weird as cmd.exe is far to crappy. GVim works perfectly though. Emacs is available too if you're into that kind of thing. Putty: Putty is your new SSH client. Nice! Winrar: Opens your .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 (and a bunch of other) files, yay! Daemon tools: Mount your CD images as virtual cdrom drives. Browsers: Same same... I use both Firefox and Opera. With a few of these tools your Windows experiense won't be as frightening, and you might even get some work done instead of just being frustrated. Bonus: All these tools are free (as in beer). Although I hope that none of you ever need to use these tools, I wish you good luck!

6 comments:

Neil Mitchell said...

GnuWin32 isn't as good as Unix Utils, much lighter weight, but unfortunately also 404'ing for the last few months. I'll upload a mirror tomorrow.

Vim is not TextPad, therefore Vim is inferior :)

WinZip is more easy to work with than WinRar, and can now open .rar and .bz files.

Pontemonti said...

I'm using Dexpot as virtual desktop manager. It's pretty neat, and has lots of options. I'm missing some of the simplicity from Stardock's Virtual Desktops though, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work in Vista.

Command Prompt Here only takes a simple registry hack, here's what I have on Vista:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\Command Prompt Here\command\
Set the (Default) key's value to:
cmd.exe /k cd /d "%1"

Lennart Kolmodin said...

Thanks for your hints.
Winzip seems to have evolved a bit since I used it last time.

Dexpot seems to be a more robust virtual desktop system, German quality engineering :)

dino said...

cygwin ( http://sourceware.org/cygwin/ ) is a free project that's very mature and has much of this stuff. When I used to be forced to use Windows, I wouldn't be caught dead without it.

"Don't like the Windows Search function? Neither do I. I miss my bash shell, and the coreutils"

"Putty is your new SSH client. Nice!"

"Opens your .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 (and a bunch of other) files, yay!"

All of this is in cygwin. It has hundreds of *nix programs compiled from the real GNU source code against a POSIX emulation DLL. It doesn't have something "bash-like", it has the real bash. And: tar, find, gzip, gunzip, ssh, scp, hundreds of other tools.

cygwin also has X11 but I never tried to use that myself in Windows. It's reported to work though.

scruzia said...

I'll second the cygwin vote. During a few dark periods of my past, I insisted on having cygwin available any time I had to do the Windows thing.

Re: virtual desktops: those same MS Power Toys include a virtual desktops app.

So, we can run decent, usable command-line shells like bash or zsh ... but they still open up in that awful DOS-like ancient piece of crap window. I tried using PuTTY for that, but it appeared that some of the apps I wanted to run would insist on running from *that* CMD.exe or whatever it is that creates that idiotic anachronism. Have any of you a decent, working replacement for that thing?

Tobias said...

Total Commander is also a very nice piece of software, it handles most compression formats transparently.
It also suffers from the vim syndrome, it's addictive.

Shareware though, but hey, the first fix is always free :)