Gow (Gnu On Windows) is the lightweight alternative to Cygwin. It uses a convenient NSIS installer that installs over 100 extremely useful open source UNIX applications compiled as native win32 binaries. It is designed to be as small as possible, about 18 MB, as opposed to Cygwin which can run well over 100 MB depending upon options.
Here are a couple quotes from happy Gow users:
"Gow is one of the few things that makes Windows bearable/usable"
"I use Gow constantly. It's awesome."
"I just wanted to let you know that the GOW Suite is simply great - it is far lighter than the Cygwin tool, and is extremely useful. "
Below are just a few of the 100+ applications found in Gow.
Gow was used by Vuzit LLC for years on production hardware as well as all development machines. In order to share the great product with the world as well as improve the quality it was released as an open source on July 14, 2010. This isn't the only open source project associated by Vuzit. The company has released several open source products that work with the DocuPub platform: VuzitJava, VuzitRuby, VuzitPHP and Vuzit.Net.
All source code is released under the open source MIT license which allows you to use it in any proprietary product. All binaries are licensed under various licenses, mainly GPL.
Please submit feedback via the Gow Issues forum.