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Add more to Git Bash on Windows

Git for Windows comes bundled with the “Git Bash” terminal which is incredibly handy for unix-like commands on a windows machine. It is missing a few standard linux utilities, but it is easy to add ones that have a windows binary available.

The basic idea is that C:\Program Files\Git\mingw64\ is your / directory according to Git Bash (note: depending on how you installed it, the directory might be different. from the start menu, right click on the Git Bash icon and open file location. It might be something like C:\Users\name\AppData\Local\Programs\Git, the mingw64 in this directory is your root. Find it by using pwd -W). If you go to that directory, you will find the typical linux root folder structure (bin, etc, lib and so on).

If you are missing a utility, such as wget, track down a binary for windows and copy the files to the corresponding directories. Sometimes the windows binary have funny prefixes, so you should rename the .exe file to the standard name. Since bin is on the PATH, it will be automatically available to Git Bash.

Note: Many interactive utilities, such as python, ipython or nano, will not display properly with Git Bash’s mintty terminal. Try invoking them with winpty instead, for example winpty ipython will work nicely. The Git-for-Windows team is focused on supporting Git, not a full UNIX shell environment. If you are interested in more complete package, check my notes on Cygwin or Cmder.

Here are some utilities to add:

Wget

  • Download the lastest wget binary for windows from eternallybored (they are available as a zip with documentation, or just an exe)
  • If you downloaded the zip, extract all (if windows built in zip utility gives an error, use 7-zip).
  • Rename the file wget64.exe to wget.exe if necessary.
  • Move wget.exe to your Git\mingw64\bin\.

Note: I have noticed some bugs when using Wget on Git Bash to create WARC files. For more complex use of Wget, consider Cygwin instead.

Hugo

Hugo static site generator can be downloaded as a binary and does not have a installer. Dropping it into your bin easily adds it to your Git Bash path. Grab the Windows 64-bit version from the releases page. Unzip the download, then copy hugo.exe into your Git\mingw64\bin directory.

Xpdf

Xpdf is a handy utility for manipulating PDF files.

  • Download the windows version “Xpdf tools”.
  • Extract zip.
  • Copy the contents of xpdf-tools-win-4.00\bin64\ into your Git\mingw64\bin\.
  • Check the docs to get started with tools such as pdftotext and pdftopng.

make

  • Go to ezwinports.
  • Download make-4.1-2-without-guile-w32-bin.zip (get the version without guile).
  • Extract zip.
  • Copy the contents to your Git\mingw64\ merging the folders, but do NOT overwrite/replace any existing files.

Nano

As of 2018, recent versions of Git Bash include Nano, so this is unnecessary!

  • Download the Nano binary from Nano win32-support page. You just need the .exe file, which is named nano-git-0d9a7347243.exe (as of this writing).
  • Rename the file to nano.exe, and copy to the mingw64\bin directory.
  • Nano will not work with Git Bash alone, but can be invoked using winpty, for example, winpty nano test.txt.