Zhixian's Tech Blog

2011-07-13

Git as an alternate way to get MinGW

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , , — Zhixian @ 00:41:07 am

In my last blog post, I mentioned about install MinGW to have a C/C++ development environment.
I mentioned that the fastest way is to run the MinGW automated installer.
After I shutdown my PC, I thought of another way to get MinGW working on the PC.
That is, getting a MinGW via Git.

What is Git?

Git is a distributed version control system (DVCS for short).
As the name may suggest, the goal of such a system is to manage the various versions of your documents.
The concept of version control is not exactly new but prior to the advent of DVCSes, they exists mostly as monolithic entities that stand alone.
To manage the different versions of a file, you must be connected to the server to properly manage the various versions.

Pros & Cons of using Git to install MinGW

  1. PRO: Installation process is even more straightforward (you simply have to specify the installation directory).
    CON: Weaker control over the installation process (you cannot elect to install the Fortran or Objective-C options).
  2. PRO: The installer itself contains all the necessary files (hence removing the need to be connected while doing installation).
    CON: You are installing a fixed set of features.
  3. PRO: Comes pre-installed with a default set of useful tools and software.
    CON: Used up much more disk space (1+GB as compared to 308MB for a full MinGW installation)
  4. PRO: You get a DVCS in the process.
    CON: You may not need one in the first place.

The biggest annoyance I find with trying to use Git as development environment is you do not know what exactly is installed.
For example, I would not know if it has objective-C or Fortran compile (no in both cases).

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