Quickies: Telnet in Cygwin 1.7

Windows’ cmd.exe is pretty anemic and just doesn’t have the feel of a real command line. (It isn’t.) PowerShell is cute and has its uses for poking around with COM objects and the likes, but for common tasks it seems ridiculously verbose and unnecessary. Cygwin alleviates much of this in an Windows environment and grants those of us who use proper shells a method of interfacing with Windows. Well, kind of!

Unfortunately, Cygwin 1.7 has moved a few things around. Geeks like me tend to use telnet to verify connectivity to other hosts, communicate directly with certain services (hey, HTTP isn’t that difficult), and troubleshoot. However…

[gridlock-x:~]$ which telnet

Hmmmm… this isn’t good. Windows’ telnet is terrible. More importantly, it doesn’t work in Cygwin. After some exploration, it would seem that the Cygwin folks have consolidated telnet and a few other useful utilities into a single package.


If your distribution doesn’t have telnet available, make sure to run the setup utility again and select the “inetutils” package. Once you’ve finished up the installation (again), it’ll install only the changed package, and you’ll have access to telnet again. Horray!

Although Cygwin 1.7 is still in beta, the developers are encouraging everyone to give it a try. What can I say? It has a lot of nice improvements over the 1.5 branch. Heck, it even finally comes with a decent icon for a pre-configured rxvt shortcut! Now that’s classy.

Try it out!

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