I've always been a Windows user, but I know the OS isn't perfect. To help make it a little better I use GOW, a collection of linux tools ported to Windows. ls, cat, which, wc, and 100+ other utilities added to my path.

I know that these tools are not running on Linux and may have tiny impacting differences between them and their Linux originals, but would asking questions about these tools or complicated combinations of these tools be off topic?

For example, the question I'm dying to ask is how to scan a folder looking for duplicates AND deleting them. Currently I have sha1sum * | sort | uniq -D -c 40 which will print all matching files (determined by identical sha1 hashes) pointing me in the right direction for which ones to delete. Even though I'm running this on Windows, would this be an acceptable question here on Unix/Linux?

  • 1
    Not the question you asked--but I'll say "good on you" for using linux tools in Windows. It's good for your diversity of professional skills, it may someday pay-off for you.
    – Paulb
    Aug 29, 2015 at 18:04
  • I do not mind a question like this. You might be looking for xargs, which according to github.com/bmatzelle/gow/wiki/executables_list should be available in gow as well. sha1sum * | sort | uniq -D -c 40 | xargs rm will remove the files. Aug 30, 2015 at 13:47
  • Or do you want to keep exactly one file of each collection of files identified by a unique sha1sum? Aug 30, 2015 at 13:55
  • I recommend looking at gitbash for windows from git-scm.com It atleast comes with bash grep ask sed perl git and some other basics, So for general purpose command line tools on windows, that was my goto (untill switching to linux) Aug 31, 2015 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


I would say it's fine. One of the bullets in the What topics can I ask about here? FAQ entry is:

Applications packaged in *nix distributions (note: being cross-platform does not disqualify)

As long as the question isn't Windows-specific (i.e. it wouldn't apply when using that tool on a Unix-like system), it should be fine here. If you have Windows-specific questions, they're probably better on Super User


Keep in mind that as GOW native compiles their utilities they suffer from windows poor support for io redirection especially as they use cmd.exe as the shell, and have horrible terminal emulation (arguably worse than dos which at least had ansi.sys which sucked). Maybe one of these days windows will get all the features that unix had in the 1970s. Other than those limitations, we welcome your questions.


Since the subject is "Using Linux tools on Windows?", I'm going to suggest Cygwin: https://cygwin.com/install.html

It will give you a complete Bash shell with most tools in the standard install, thus giving you a much better feel of Linux on Windows with even the ability to install servers like Openssh, etc.

  • Even though it's a good advice, the homepage for GOW heavily cites Cygwin, so I believe the author is aware of that alternative. On a more objective view, the question was asking about validity of asking questions about *nix tools on Windows, not recommendation of packages of such tools. I would have waited until 50 reputation, so you could post this as a comment to the question, which would be more appropriate.
    – Kroltan
    Sep 7, 2015 at 22:44

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