I have always used windows and am not very familiar with Unix. How much
of a learning curve would there be to use cygwin?
Well, to obtain a working gnuplot installation of Gnuplot and Cygwin,
it should be sufficient that you download the setup.exe file from the
website, which guides you through some Windows-typical setup
process. If you have enough space on your computer, choose
everything there is , if you have a limited amount of space,
be sure to choose the developer tools, including the compiler ‘gcc’
and ‘make’, as well as Gnuplot and of course, Ruby.
Then run the GUI installation. This will give you two icons on your
desktop, named “Cygwin” and “Cygwin XFree86”. Click any of these.
This opens a console window.
Now, you can run ruby scripts by entering something like
there. Or, you can use Gnuplot:
That should be all for a start.
The nice thing about Cygwin is that it brings to you the ability
to run many free open-source softwares on Windows - so you don’t have
to pay or wait until company x produces a software y that solves your
z which is a bit too esoteric to make enormous amounts of money
out of it. If you compare the quality of advice you get from a
company with few counsellors and a hotline you have to pay for and
a on open community, you’ll often find far better advice from the
Unix/Linux’s and Cygwin’s charms lie in the fact that you can control
everything from the command line, so, in the long run, learning to deal
with it is time well spent. Here, there are no differences between
Cygwin and Linux (or almost).
And there are plenty of problems like yours when using Windows -
somehow, your software doesn’t do what you want it to do, the manuals
are inexistant or unconclusive, and you’re stuck.
In my experience, in Linux/Unix/Cygwin, documentation was in general
better, and there is information available in the internet or from
that feel ethically bound to answer your questions just like others
helped them earlier.
A second step you can take, if you are a little bolder, is to install
software from source. This may be necessary in some cases where
there are no gems for Ruby packages you want to use.
You can install these by downloading a packed file that usually
ends its name in ‘gz’.
Assume that its name is ‘awesome_prog-1.2.3.tar.gz’.
Then, download that file to your computer and copy it (using Windows,
into some directory, say
C:\cygwin\usr\local (that directory is already there).
Now, in the console window, type
cd /usr/local <RETURN>
to get to that directory,
gunzip awesome_prog-1.2.3.tar.gz <RETURN>
to unzip the file,
tar -xvf awesome_prog-1.2.3.tar <RETURN>
to extract it into a subdirectory tree named something like
to go there, and then
(notice the dot), this gives a lot of messages where the software tries
out specific properties of your computer, and after that is finished,
and after that is finished,
This may take some time, but in general, it runs smoothly and gives you
to much software. Sometimes, this install process is a little different,
need to specify some options. Look at the README file in the
directory to get information about it.
This will sound overwhelming to you now, but if you’ve done it two
easy, and may be the only way to make you go. If anything goes wrong,
don’t hesitate to ask a mailing list. There are many people that do
things on a daily basis, and they will often have done it wuith
the software that you are now using.
That is no so often the case with Windows applications, in my
at least – it’s just easier to ask several hundred people for something
find somebody who knows an answer than to consult a professional
troubleshooter who is amazed at what strange things you do with their
Just take the first step now, I think it will not only solve the
but also the one from next month and next year.