Most academic researchers I know target just *nix, and rely on Cygwin to make their applications available on Windows. I have tried many of these projects and always found them too unstable for serious use when running on Cygwin.

Uwin looks like a promising alternative to Cygwin. I haven't tried it yet, but I found several comments that it is faster and more stable. However, I haven't seen any use of Uwin to support running *nix apps on Windows.

What are the social and/or technical reasons behind Uwin's lack of popularity?

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    Hard to use something one has never heard of, and well, Uwin is virtually unknown in the community. – Brian Knoblauch Oct 3 '12 at 20:21
  • I've just downloaded uwin from att research and I can't figure out how the hell to install it ... that might just be the reason no one uses it. – user72059 Nov 7 '12 at 14:03
  • The installation instructions are not working for you? – Martijn Pieters Nov 7 '12 at 15:10
  • @Martijn - If an app needs intallation instructions in 2012, it fails the "Just Works" test- if the developers can't get the install right, what confidence can you have in the rest of it working? If Toyota made a car that drivers needed to RTFM before leaving the yard, how many would they sell? – mattnz Nov 7 '12 at 20:55
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    Forget about needing to read installation instructions, someone has to know how to configure/make/make install - the problem with Uwin's instructions is that they stink, the formatting is atrocious, and they have a laughable "Plan B" after the first utter mess of text. - The "Social and Technical obstacle to it's adoption is"... it looks like crap. – ocodo Mar 29 '13 at 8:05

According to http://slashdot.org/story/01/02/06/2030205/David-Korn-Tells-All (question 11), UWIN was not originally open source (though that appears to have changed in the 11 years since that interview was published). Not being open source would have been a significant barrier to widespread adoption, especially considering a functionally equivalent open source option (Cygwin) was available at the time.

  • In addition cygwin (and mingw) are the same gnu libs as Linux so most Linux stuff just builds – Martin Beckett Jun 7 '12 at 5:21
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    @MartinBeckett: just nit-picking here, but Linux and GNU are orthogonal. You can have either with or without the other. – tdammers Jun 7 '12 at 5:47
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    @tdammers - yes you can have gnu without linux, having linux without the gnu libs is a bit trickier. BUT the point is that if you wanted a random opensource tool on Windows it's very likely that the tool would have been written with gnu and so is more likely to build easily with cygwin/mingw rather than the limited windows posix API used by uwin. – Martin Beckett Jun 7 '12 at 14:48
  • @MartinBeckett: The build issue might be the reason for the continued preference for Cygwin. I'd like to see someone treat that theme in detail in a separate answer. – user287424 Jun 7 '12 at 16:54
  • Well, I'd hoped for a deeper reason as to why Uwin isn't more used today, but I guess this one has to take the points. – user287424 Jun 8 '12 at 16:50

First reason: UWIN was not originally open source; Second reason: Uwin executables requires a running service to be installed on the target OS, while cygwin uses a pure dynamic library.

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