Using Linux on Windows with Cygwin


Typing startx connects the X server to a window manager running locally in Cygwin. For example, /usr/bin/wmaker adds Windowmaker window decorations to the program window. Parameters for the X server itself follow the -- delimiter; startx interprets text before the delimiter as the program to be launched in the Cygwin environment, with any necessary options trailing:

$ startx /usr/bin/wmaker -- -nodecoration

The preceding command initiates a Windowmaker environment on the client side, which occupies the entire desktop above the taskbar. The command

$ startx /usr/bin/wmaker -- -mwextwm

is quite different. It hides the Linux desktop background, keeping the Windows desktop visible. For more information, check out the man page for startx [10].


Cygwin ports the X Window System, OpenSSH, and many other Unix and Linux programs to Windows, allowing Windows users to access Linux computers remotely. Cygwin performance is only satisfactory over a fast local network connection with low latency – a limitation currently only lifted by the no-cost NX Client [11] for remote X on Windows.

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