Babun: the ultimate Unix-like shell for Windows

Unix Cygwin Windows experience

In a past article I spoke about how to get a Unix experience on Windows using Cygwin, which is up to day the most complete solution. Today however I’d like to introduce you to Babun (pronounced Baboon)

Babun, the ultimate shell

Babun is “a Windows shell you will love!” and by my experience, that’s really true. Babun is built on Cygwin and aims to enhance and automate clumsy action that are part of Cygwin. Let’s just say, Babun can update itself and will perform a check each time it is run once a day. Also the installation process is much simpler than Cygwin. Babun also doesn’t interfere with an existing Cygwin installation, and can be easily installed alongside Cygwin. Babun comes with bash and zsh shells (zsh is default with oh-my-zsh) from which you can switch effortlessly. Babun also includes a pseudo package manager called Pact which enables command line installation of Cygwin packages (a neat feature). Babun wraps up all of this and much more like git, vim, perl, python and more useful developer tools. And if everything up here isn’t enough for you let’s add the final piece. Babun is plugin-oriented and can be easily extended by developers. I found really useful the babun-docker plugin. Now let’s summarize the features Babun offers directly from its site:

  • Pre-configured Cygwin with a lot of addons
  • Silent command-line installer, no admin rights required
  • pact – advanced package manager (like apt-get or yum)
  • xTerm-256 compatible console
  • HTTP(s) proxying support
  • Plugin-oriented architecture
  • Pre-configured git and shell
  • Integrated oh-my-zsh
  • Auto update feature
  • “Open Babun Here” context menu entry

Want to give it a shot? (I can’t see why you wouldn’t) You can get Babun from the official site. Once downloaded, extract everything and run the install script from the folder. In a few minutes everything will be ready and you will have the ultimate Unix-like shell on Windows.

Where can I download it?

From the official site.


Babun is a huge step forward compared to Cygwin, and it still packs the power Cygwin posses. Installation and updates are automated and will not be a problem for you to resolve. Everything is configured during the first run and it can take seconds to have a complete environment ready. I also suggest you to take a look at this article and to use a tabbed manager like ConEmu to further improve your experience.


All images thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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