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Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Windows Services for UNIX
Windows Services for UNIX

Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX (SFU) is a software package produced by Microsoft which provides a Unix subsystem and other parts of a full Unix environment on Windows NT and its successors. The subsystem included is called Interix.


Like the Microsoft POSIX subsystem in Windows NT, Interix is not an emulation of a Unix kernel, but rather an implementation of a user-mode subsystem running directly on top of the Windows NT kernel.

It is important to note that though both Cygwin (a free alternative to Interix) and Windows Services for Unix provide header files and libraries that make it easier to recompile or port Unix applications for use on Windows, they do not make Windows binaries compatible with Unix binaries.

The current version of SFU contains:

  • Over 350 Unix utilities such as vi, ksh, csh, ls, cat, awk, grep, kill, etc.
  • GCC 3.3 compiler, includes and libraries (though a MS libc)
  • A cc-like wrapper for Microsoft Visual Studio command-line C/C++ compiler
  • GDB debugger
  • NFS server and client
  • A pcnfsd daemon
  • X11 tools and libraries
  • Tools for making NFS mountpoints appear as Windows shares, and vice-versa (gateway services)
  • An NIS server capability linked with Active Directory (AD)
  • Some Windows/Unix authentication information synchronization tools

SFU does not contain the following (but binaries are available for a separate installation[1]):

  • bash, OpenSSH, sudo, CVS, ClamAV, bzip2, gmake, curl, emacs, Apache, XView, Ruby, Tcl, Python

Although X Window System client libraries and applications are provided, SFU does not contain a native X server. Any of the numerous third-party Windows X servers can be used. Fully featured free alternatives include Cygwin/X, Xming, WeirdMind and WeirdX.

Released versions

Current release is version 3.5 on January, 2004.

Windows Server 2003 R2 contains most SFU components, namely Microsoft Services for Network File System (NFS), Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (aka Interix), and Identity Management for UNIX.[2]

Windows Vista Enterprise and Ultimate Editions will also contain the Services for Unix components, now called the Subsystem for UNIX-based applications (SUA).

Microsoft does not intend to produce any further standalone versions of the product. SFU will be available for download [3] until 2009; general support will continue until 2011; extended support until 2014 [4].

Supported operating systems for the current version

Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX is targeted to Server and Professional editions of Windows, and it is not supported nor available for consumer editions.

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 or later
  • Windows 2000 Server or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later

See also

  • MKS Toolkit
  • Cygwin
  • OpenNT
  • UnxUtils, a collection of ports of common GNU UNIX-like utilities to native Win32.

External links

  • Microsoft TechNet: Windows Services for UNIX
  • History of the Interix subsystem - PDF (HTML version)
  • Additional free binary packages for Interix
  • Download Details:Windows Services for UNIX 3.5
  • Download Windows Services for Unix (Fasttrack)
  • Script to pragmatically set the UNIX attributes defined in the version 3.5 schema extensions
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