Free Software on Windows (without any privilege)

Introduction

This page indicates which free softwares I’ve been able to install on Windows 10 Enterprises 64 bits machine, as an unprivileged user (no administration rights) and how I did the installations.

UnxUtils

UnxUtils provides ports of some GNU commands (ls, grep, sed, find, …). It makes possible to use those commands, in the windows command line (cmd).

Download UnxUtils.zip from https://sourceforge.net/projects/unxutils. Create a UnxUtils directory somewhere and unzip the downloaded file to that directory. The executable files for the GNU commands are in the usr\local\wbin subdirectory.

You now have to update your Path variable. Open the system setting dialog (press Win+I). Type “environment” in the search box and choose “Edit Environment variables for your account”. Add the path to usr\local\wbin to the Path variable.

Open a cmd window. The GNU commands should be usable.

There is a problem with the find command which conficts with the windows command with the same name. To invoke the GNU find command and not the windows command, you have to prepend the exact path to the command:

...\UnxUtils\usr\local\wbin\find ...

To make live a little bit easier, I’ve substituted a drive letter (‘U’, but is doesn’t have to be ‘U’) for the path. So I can invoke the GNU find command with:

U:\find ...

I’ve defined the substitution in a startup.bat batch file:

@echo off

subst U: …UnxUtilsusrlocalwbin 1>nul

And I’ve changed the target property of the shortcut I use to launch cmd, by adding the /k option: %windir%\system32\cmd.exe /k C:\users\p006245\Documents\cmd_startup\startup.bat This ensures that startup.bat is run when I launch cmd.

ccrypt

ccrypt is a program to encrypt and decrypt file. The same key is used on encryption and decryption.

Download ccrypt archive from http://ccrypt.sourceforge.net. Unzip the archive and update your Path variable by adding the directory containing ccrypt.exe.

Vim text editor (and Pathogen plugin)

Download Vim from https://www.vim.org/download.php and run the installation program. Here again, you have to update your Path variable.

Launch Vim (or gVim) and get your home directory with command :echo $HOME. That’s where you have to put your _vimrc file.

Issue the command :set runtimepath?. It gives a list of directory. The first one is where you have to create the bundle subdirectory for the plugins.

Download the Pathogen plugin from the GitHub repository: https://github.com/tpope/vim-pathogen. It contains essentially an autoload directory. Place this directory in the same directory as the bundle directory.

Download your favorite Vim plugins and place them all in the bundle directory (each plugin in its own subdirectory).

Git

Git is a distributed version control system.

Download Git from https://git-scm.com/download.

I always use it from Git Bash. I’ve used a ~/.bashrc file originating from Debian GNU/Linux with no issue.

You might be interested by my general page about Git.

GNAT Community Edition

GNAT Community Edition is Adacore’s programming tools (most notably the Ada Compiler and the GNAT Programming Studio integrated development environment) for free software developers.

Download GNAT Community Edition from https://www.adacore.com/download and run the installation program.

Again, update your Path variable (add the bin subdirectory of the GNAT Community Edition installation).

GNU Octave

GNU Octave is an interpreted language, similar to Matlab.

Download the Zip archive for the latest version (octave-5.2.0-w64-64.zip at the time of this writing) from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/octave/windows, unzip it and run the post-install.bat file.

Once more, update your Path variable (add the directory containing the octave.vbs file).

If you want to be able to use Octave in text mode in the Windows console, make sure to also add to the path the subdirectory (mingw64\bin) that contains octave-cli.exe. octave-cli.exe launches Octave without graphical user interface.

If you see a warning about a failure to set locale, you need to add the Perl executable directory to your path (Perl comes with Octave for Windows in subdirectory usr/bin) and set environment variable LC_ALL to a valid value (“C” for example). If you launch Octave from the command line, you can do (assuming your current directory is the one containing the octave.vbs file):

set PATH=%PATH%;%CD%\usr\bin & set "LC_ALL=C" & octave.vbs

An Octave icon file is available in the Octave installation: mingw64\share\octave\5.2.0\imagelib\octave-logo.ico. That’s good to have for the case where you want a shortcut on the destop.

GNU Octave for Windows comes with MSYS2, and that is another solution (beside UnxUtils) to use the GNU commands on Windows. Launch msys2_shell.cmd.

GNU Privacy Guard

Download the Windows version of GNU Privacy Guard from https://gpg4win.org/download.html and run the installation program. Right after install you can issue gpg commands in the Windows command line.